About 3,000 college students converged last month on Pittsburgh—the Pennsylvania city of labor—where they worked to define a relevant faith. This was in keeping with the theme of their weekend conference, “Jubilee ’79,” which was described during an opening session as “helping students relate their Christian faith to their education and future vocations.”
A unique Pittsburgh-headquartered ministry, the Coalition for Christian Outreach, sponsored the conference, and its leaders invited speakers who would challenge the students to put their faith to work.
U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.), a Conservative Baptist layman, said in a keynote address that the world’s resources are being depleted and that in the void there is now a spiritual vacuum. He told the students to provide the world with “A new vision,” a new stewardship model for God-given resources. Students should live that model, he said, and seek “global economic justice” and an end to the nuclear arms race.
Robert Lavelle, who runs a savings and loan company in inner city Pittsburgh, described how he has applied his Christian faith to his business practices. He gives home loans at below market interest rates (to the displeasure of other loan dealers) to poor blacks as a way to encourage community rehabilitation. He also refuses to bar his company’s windows, as do most other businesses in the neighborhood, because, “I want people to know that I trust them. If you trust them, they’ll trust you.” He sticks with this policy, despite a number of break-ins that have caused him to lose his insurance coverage on the building.
During the conference, students attended the various seminars according to their vocational interests. Workshops fell into nine different “tracks;” including ...1
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