Since the previous issue of Christianity Today went to the printer, we have been saddened by several losses.
Pete Hammond, who served on Christianity Today International's board of directors for 27 years, was 72 when he died, just a little over 14 months after his beloved Shirley passed to her rest. Being a widower did not sit well with him.
Pete was guilty of disturbing the peace, both within InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, his main ministry family, and also in an extended sphere that included CT, Belhaven College, Presbyterians for Renewal, and the Coalition for Ministry in Daily Life. We all know that preachers should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Pete frequently took the opportunity to afflict those of us who had grown too comfortable, but he never exercised his ministry of "friendly affliction" without a mischievous grin and a hearty laugh.
I first met Pete when I was editor of HIS, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's magazine for college students. I was invited to join InterVarsity's initial task force to address the ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity dimensions of campus ministry. Pete was a driving force in making us face those issues.
Christianity Today International CEO Harold Smith told me that all of Pete's work is summed up in the name of InterVarsity's most recent conference:
"Following Christ: Human Flourishing." Pete firmly believed that following Jesus meant obeying the gospel's radical demands, and that only in responding to those demands can people truly flourish as the humans God made them to be.
"Pete was less a voice for change," Harold told me, "than he was a voice for what life in Christ could truly be. He lived by kingdom standards."
Pete was frustrated by the slowness of the rest of us to grasp the things he cared about, such as gender and racial equality and marketplace ministry, but that never discouraged him. He just kept on reminding us of what it meant to follow Jesus.
Amid general belt-tightening efforts demanded by the current economy came the recent decision to discontinue our sister magazine Ignite Your Faith (formerly known as Campus Life and Youth for Christ Magazine). The final issue of that periodical's remarkable ministry of more than 60 years will be dated Spring 2009. Fortunately, the online version of iyf and the ongoing Campus Life Christian College Guide will continue to offer resources to youth and parents.
Campus Life's long ministry not only encouraged Christian teens to navigate their high-school years with their faith intact, but was also responsible for nurturing the gifts of key Christian writers, including CT regulars Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford. The ripple effect of the magazine's ministry has been huge. We thank God for all that ministry, and we look forward to the new ways of ministering to that audience made possible by new media and renewed vision.
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