The Diocese of Raleigh continued its celebration of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul with a special program on Sunday, January 25. The program, “Conversion: The Beginning of the Gospel Journey,” was sponsored by the Diocesan Offices of Campus Ministry and Ecumenism and held at Duke Divinity School.
It featured three members of the Duke Faculty and staff. Dr. Paul J. Griffiths, Warren Professor of Catholic Theology, spoke on “The Roman Catholic Understanding of Conversion.” Dr. Susan Eastman, Assistant Professor of the Practice of the Bible and Christian Formation, addressed “The Conversion of St. Paul.” And Steve Hinkle, Campus Minister, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, discussed “How Evangelical Christians View Religious Conversion.”
An Ecumenical Prayer Service was held following the presentations with a reflection by The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge.
The Bishop spoke of the paralyzing nature of fear, especially in our relationship with God, noting that is our weaknesses, sins and failings “that keeps us from asking the Lord to make us new creations.”
He said that did not stop St. Paul, who clearly understood how sin works in human nature. “He was not afraid to acknowledge his limitations. In fact, this humility allowed him to be more dependent on Christ.” The Bishop added Paul confidently states, “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
Bishop Burbidge said each of us faces challenges and obstacles as St. Paul did and as the apostle as our model, we are encouraged “to embrace them not with fear but with joyful confidence and hope. May we lift high the cross with Paul’s courage, determination and trust in God’s abiding love”!
Above: Dr. Paul Griffiths during a talk marking the 2000th anniversary of St. Paul’s conversion. Steve Hinkle, Campus Minister of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at Duke, and Susan Eastman, Assistant Professor at Duke Divinity School, also addressed the gathering.