First copies of revised devotional reach troops
4/14/2003 News media contact: Kathy Gilbert · (615) 742-5470 · Nashville, Tenn.
NOTE: A photograph and a headshot of Evan Hunsberger are available.
By J. Richard Peck*NASHVILLE,
Tenn. (UMNS) - United Methodists may hold different opinions about the
war with Iraq, but they are united in offering prayers and expressing
concern for men and women risking their lives there.
Commission on United Methodist Men is engaged in a national effort to
provide all U.S. service men and women with an updated book of daily
devotions - a book first sent to U.S. troops in World War II and again
during the Korean conflict.
To date, some 25,000 copies of the
book Strength for Service to God and Country have been sent to troops
stationed in Afghanistan and neighboring nations. The most recent
shipment of the 400-page book was sent to the 101st Airborne, based at
Fort Campbell, Ky.
The same book was carried 60 years earlier by
Eugene Hunsberger during World War II. Hunsberger was given the book
while serving in the Navy, and he continued to read from it for the rest
of his life.
Three years ago, Hunsberger's 16-year-old grandson,
Evan, asked his grandfather about the book and why it was so meaningful
to him. Listening to his grandfather tell how the book had helped him
through difficult experiences, the younger Hunsberger had an
Evan needed to complete a special project in order
to earn the rank of Eagle, the highest level in Boy Scouts. He asked his
grandfather if republishing the book as a spiritual aid for U.S.
service personnel today would be a good Eagle Scout project. "Not good,"
whispered Eugene, whose stroke had made speech difficult. "Great!"
receiving permission from the United Methodist Publishing House to
republish the book, Evan and 45 volunteers spent 2,500 hours scanning
and correcting copy from the book into computers.
on United Methodist Men, the agency responsible for scouting ministries
in the denomination, supported the idea of sending the book to U.S.
service personnel. With the Pentagon's approval, the Nashville-based
agency began trying to raise $3 million in order to give a copy of the
book to 1 million members of the military.
While the first
edition of the book contained devotions written by hundreds of
well-known religious and industrial leaders during the World War II era,
the new edition includes writings by Robert Schuller, pastor of the
Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.; Gerald Turner, president of
Southern Methodist University, Dallas; Andrew Benton, president of
Pepperdine University, Malibu, Calif.; Joseph Bottoms, president of
DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.; Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop
of Los Angeles; Rudy Ruetiger, former Notre Dame football player
portrayed in the movie "Rudy"; Hassan Hathout, executive of the Islamic
Center of Southern California, Los Angeles; and Kenneth Kanter, rabbi of
Congregation Micah, Brentwood, Tenn.
People who want to support
the effort can send checks to Strength for Service, P.O. Box 340006,
Nashville, TN 37203-0006. To order copies of the book, contact
Providence Publishing Corp., 238 Seaboard Lane, Franklin, TN 37067;
phone: (800) 321-5692. Additional information is available from Larry
Coppock, Commission on United Methodist Men, at (615) 340-7149 or
# # #
*Peck is communications director for the Commission on United Methodist Men in Nashville, Tenn.
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