Annual Prayer Breakfast Rings in Christmas, Honors Mandela

HPU 2013 Prayer Breakfast Dr  Don Wilton

Rev. Dr. Don Wilton serves as the featured guest speaker and delivers a message about the meaning of Christmas while also honoring the life of Nelson Mandela.

HPU 2013 Prayer Breakfast Crowd

700 people fill HPU’s Millis Athletic and Convocation Center for the 43rd Annual Prayer Breakfast.

HPU 2013 Prayer Breakfast Bob Brown

Bob Brown, a distinguished trustee of HPU, recounts his relationship with Mandela.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 6, 2013 – More than 700 people attended High Point University’s 43rd Annual Prayer Breakfast today to ring in the holiday season.

A special message was delivered by Rev. Dr. Don Wilton, who is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C. and also serves as a minister to the Rev. Billy Graham. Wilton’s message focused on the concept of life after death and the meaning of Christmas, as well as the significance of Nelson Mandela’s life and death on this occasion.

“Because Jesus Christ was born and died for us, he gives us the opportunity to die with honor and influence,” said Wilton. “That’s what Nelson Mandela did. He made an indelible mark on this world and on my life.”

Wilton attended boarding school in South Africa as a young boy. Through his involvement in ministry, he met Mandela on several occasions.

“In my all my years of being intrigued with this concept of life after death, I’ve come to the conclusion that not one person who died is dead,” said Wilton. “One of the greatest men I’ve ever met died yesterday, and yet he lives on.”

Bob Brown, a local community leader and a distinguished trustee of HPU, also spoke at the breakfast about meeting Mandela and his family many times.

“I once spent more than two hours with Nelson Mandela, and very few people have done that,” said Brown. “One of the most profound things he ever said was that though many bad things had happened in his country, he still loved everyone. I was taken aback by that after what he had been through. I knew God had something great in store for this man.”

The annual event also included special music provided by the HPU Chapel Choir, directed by Dr. Marc Foster, as well as a silent prayer held in memory of alumni, members of the university family, the community and other friends who have passed away during the past year.

To download clips of today’s event, click here.

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