The beautiful Great Hall on the campus of Dallas Baptist University was the setting for 21Wilberforce’s annual Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Award dinner the first week in October. This award embodies the work of former Congressman Frank Wolf who worked tirelessly for decades to promote international religious freedom. After retiring from Congress in 2015, Congressman Wolf served as Distinguished Senior Fellow at 21Wilberforce and he now serves as an appointed Commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Guests were welcomed by Dallas Baptist University Chancellor, Dr. Gary Cook, and enjoyed instrumental music by Sara Marantz, Worship Ministry Pianist at Park Cities Baptist Church, during the meal.
A special addition to the program this year was recognition of Randel Everett, founder and President of 21Wilberforce, who recently announced his retirement at the end of 2024. Nix Daniel, 21Wilberforce Board Chair, noted highlights during Randel’s tenure at the helm. Jeremy Everett, Randel and Sheila’s son and the founder and executive director of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, shared three stories from his youth that exemplify leadership and the heart of his dad for the persecuted. Lou Sabatier, Director of Communications at 21Wilberforce, read a tribute to Randel and then presented him with a hardbound book filled with photos and tributes from the board, friends, colleagues, and former and current staff.
Following a video tribute, John Gongwer, 21Wilberforce Executive Director, presented an engraved crystal prism to Pastor Bob Roberts, Jr, the 2023 Frank Wolf Award recipient. Roberts captivated the audience with his message seven reasons for why he believes in God.
Vocalist Stephen Carrell, Pastor of Worship and Music at Park Cities Baptist Church, and vocalist Keron Jackson, musician, actor and evangelist, each performed solos and later a duet that brought the audience to their feet.
Randel Everett recognized program participants and sponsors and then challenged those in attendance not to stand idly by, but to engage in prayer and to support those persecuted for their faith and beliefs globally.
Suzii Paynter March, 21Wilberforce board member, closed the evening in prayer.
We are grateful for staff and volunteers, Sheila Everett and John and Marilyn Burns, who helped make the dinner memorable.
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