September 2007

 

October 2007

Dear Friend,

Attempt something so impossible that unless God is in it,
it is doomed to failure. John Haggai

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13

Do you get downhearted by the steady stream of bad news? Even if you’re not a “news junkie,” it’s easy to get discouraged as you hear the drumbeat of “if it bleeds, it leads.” The flow of stories about persecution, discrimination, injustice and conflict are not limited to the secular media, but are also common fare in the religious media. What is often overlooked is how far we’ve come over the past four decades in mobilizing Christian lawyer networks to respond to many of these issues.

One of the great privileges – and joys – that I have had during my 40-year law career has been to witness the unfolding of God’s plans to bring together Christian lawyers and advocates to address freedom, faith and family issues. When I was a student at Harvard Law School in the late 1960s, there was virtually no Christian witness in the public square among lawyers or law students. But consider the following progress:

  • In 1969, Christian Legal Society/USA (CLS), founded in 1961, had only 175 lawyer members and no law school ministries.
  • Now in 2007, CLS has grown to over 3,300 members including Law Student Chapters at 175 American law schools linking thousands of law students. CLS hopes to see 7,000 total members by the end of this year.
  • In 1969, there were no active Christian lawyer groups engaged in freedom, faith and family issues in the USA.
  • Now in 2007, there are at least a dozen national lawyer groups such as CLS’ Center for Law & Religious Freedom, Alliance Defense Fund, AmericanCenter for Law & Justice and Liberty Counsel engaged in freedom, faith and family. CLS’ Center for Law & Religious Freedom, the oldest Christian religious liberty organization in the USA, has six lawyers engaged on cutting edge issues in the courts and in Congress.
  • In 1969, CLS and the Lawyers Christian Fellowship of England (LCF), founded in 1852, were the only two national Christian lawyer groups on Planet Earth, but neither one was engaged in the public square - focusing on freedom, faith and family.
  • By 1991, six other nations had organized national Christian lawyer groups for fellowship. CLS and the Canadian Christian Legal Fellowship had the only programs impacting freedom, faith and family issues in the public square.
  • Now in 2007, the Advocates International networks have facilitated nearly 100 new national Christian lawyer groups, most of which are engaged at some level in freedom, faith and family issues within their country and region.
  • In 1991, when Advocates International was launched, there were no regional networks linking national Christian lawyer groups.
  • Now in 2007, Advocates Africa, Advocates Asia, Advocates Caribbean, Advocates Europe, Advocates Latin America, Advocates Middle East and Advocates North America have linked Christian lawyers in about 135 nations.
  • In 1980, about 300-400 Christian lawyers met together for at least one meeting or conference on Planet Earth.
  • Now in 2007, over 14,000 Christian lawyers and law students met together at least once on campus, or at local, national, regional or global meetings.
  • In 1998, Advocates International co-hosted with CLS the 1st Global Convocation for Christian lawyers and law students gathering 46 delegates from 24 nations.
  • In 2004, Advocates International and CLS co-hosted the 4th Global Convocation, gathering nearly 900 lawyers from 86 nations.
  • Now for 2008, Advocates International and CLS plan to co-host the 5th Global Convocation in Washington, DC, hoping to see 1,500 Christian lawyers from 150 nations attending a conference on Redeeming Law: Christian Calling & the Legal Profession.

I estimate that in over 90% of the cases on Planet Earth where a lawyer is engaged in a freedom, faith and family issue, the lawyer is informally linked to the Advocates networks. Although they are not employed by us, these advocates often benefit from counsel received from colleagues within the national, regional or global networks.

Over the next 12 months, Advocates International and CLS, working closely with AI’s Global Council and the eight regional networks, will focus on strengthening the regional networks and bringing 150 nations together for the 5th Global Convocation, October 5 - 12, 2008. It will be the largest gathering of Christian lawyers in history and the largest event undertaken by either Advocates or CLS. There are huge issues, such as visas for the lawyers from 150 nations, as well as raising the money needed to assist delegates from 100 developing nations where the per capita income is less than $3 per day.

For the past 27 years, the Lord has graciously allowed me to have a role in mobilizing the global Christian lawyer movement with CLS and Advocates International. It has been a great challenge with even greater rewards. I thank the Lord daily for the gift of life and for calling me to this adventure.

Your prayers and support over the past years have enabled Advocates International, its networks and CLS to make the great progress summarized above. Thank you. Please keep us in your prayers and support, while…

Living in His-Story,

Sam Ericsson
Founder & President

P.S. Advocates Asia in Sri Lanka and Advocates Latin America in Ecuador will each hold their 7th Regional Conference this month. Please be praying for these meetings.

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SAM’S HEALTH UPDATE

THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS! Sam’s surgery went very well today, and he was even able to come home! He is resting comfortably. Now comes the hard part - waiting a week for the pathology report to come back to find out how aggressive the cancer is. There was substantial regrowth in the bladder, which we already knew from having been scoped a couple of months ago.

A special thanks to friends like Sam & Jill Casey and our Albanian brother in Christ Zef Brozi, who were at the hospital with us early this morning!! And thanks for all the emails we have received today! What a blessing you ALL are! We will keep you posted as Sam heals!

Much love and thanksgiving,

Bobby Ericsson