I attended the monthly  John 17:23 Network event last night.  I heard about this gathering through Paul Louis Metzger, whom I met through various connections at  Multnomah University, where I am an adjunct professor and where  Paul teaches Christian theology and the theology of culture (at Multnomah Biblical Seminary).   I so enjoy seeing God connect people! http://consumingjesus.org/2011/02/11/the-john-1723-network-gathering-on-213/

Paul has a heart to engage culture and unite the body of Christ in unity, and I so resonate with this.  In April 2010, Paul helped gather people at Allen Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church for “An Evening of Prayerful Repentance and Reconciliation.” Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr. and Dr. John M. Perkins  http://www.jmpf.org/content/ led those gathered for a time of worship and prayer for God’s people to become one in the Portland area. They have been meeting regularly ever since, and now call their gatherings “The John 17:23 Network.” The purpose of  The John 17:23 Network is to “encourage, exhort, and equip the multi-ethnic Body of Christ in the greater Portland area to fulfill Jesus’ prayer in our midst that we might all be one.”

At last night’s John 17:23 Network meeting, Brad Harper, a professor of theology at Multnomah, shared of his experience as a  pastor in St. Louis, Missouri for 13 years, where he was very involved with “seeking after unity in the body of Christ along multi-ethnic lines.”

I kept thinking about the connections with our refugee friends from Sudan who live in North Portland, and how to involve them in this  John 17:23 Network  journey.

On a personal note regarding last night’s meeting, I had a neat experience meeting an old friend from my years growing up in southeast Portland — another confirmation that I was supposed to be there last night: As we were talking  before the event began, I saw woman who looked familiar to me  – I thought, “That looks like Jane Leong.” Before I could ask her if she’s Jane Leong, she said to me, “Are you Cornelia Becker?. . .I was just thinking of you last week when I saw Marilyn Kwan (another friend of ours)! You have not changed a bit!” (and I thought the same about her!) -And, she asked if I was still running. (Yes, I used to be a long distance runner!)

Wow! To see Jane from my growing up years in southeast Portland, my old friend Jane from my grade school/high school days (Cleveland High School) was such a God-thing. We had not seen each other since high school many years ago and we both still recognized each other! She said she goes to Imago Dei and attended the class that Paul taught at Imago on diversity/unity for two years. Jane is now a nurse at Kaiser. . . .we are keeping in touch.

I love how God connects people from all walks of life, from the past and from the present!  And, I am eager for the  next John 17:23 Network, this time to be held at Imago  Dei community, on Sunday, March 13.

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