Apostolic Delegation Hosted by White House
By Steve Wilson
May 12, 2003
Steve Wilson with Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s chief political advisor.
The Apostolic Congress Delegation: Bishop Sam Smith (AWCF), Bishop Jerry Jones (PCAF), Pastor Stan Wachtstetler, General Superintendent Steve Wilson (ALJC), White House Deputy Director Tim Goeglein, Bishop Sam Valverde (AAFCJ), Pastor R.G. Upton (Executive Director of Apostolic Congress), Bishop Daniel Sanchez (AAFCJ), and Bishop Norman Wagner (PAW).
Serving as the General Superintendent for the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, I was privileged to attend a specially-called meeting of Apostolic leaders at the White House in Washington, D.C. Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's Chief Political Advisor and confidant, hosted the meeting on February 5, 2003.
Pastor Robert Upton, the Executive Director and Apostolic Liaison to the White House, arranged the meeting which included several Oneness leaders that represent various organizations throughout the United States. This delegation of Apostolic leaders embarked on a historic meeting at one of the highest levels of United States government. Present at this meeting were:
Bishop N. L. Wagner, presiding Prelate Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World; Bishop Daniel Sanchez, President of the Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus; Bishop Sam Smith, Chairman of the Apostolic World Christian Fellowship; Bishop Sam Valverde, Apostolic Assembly of the Faith in Christ Jesus; and Bishop Jerry Jones of the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith. Also present was Apostolic political advisor Reverend Stan Wachtstetter.
The meeting convened at the historic Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Brett Cavanaugh started the session by providing a briefing on judicial nominations, with great emphasis on the nomination of Miguel Estrada. Mr. Cavanaugh sought Apostolic support for Mr. Estrada's nomination.
The door opened at 5:30 p.m., and Mr. Karl Rove entered the room with his hand extended and a smile for everyone. He greeted each delegate personally and warmly. Mr. Rove took the seat at the head of the table, offered his credentials, and then quickly turned the conversation to our Apostolic group as he sought to discover what was on the minds of Apostolic leaders.
A very interesting discourse ensued. Pastor Upton presented Mr. Rove with a book on the Oneness of the Godhead along with letters from students from Tennessee. Pastor Upton then posed questions about the war with Iraq. Due to the nature of Mr. Rove's answers, we cannot write his answers to all these questions. Bishop Sanchez expressed thanks to Mr. Rove for allowing Apostolic leaders the opportunity to speak; he then presented him a CD of Hispanic music. Bishop Wagner posed several questions and requested a closer Apostolic relationship with the White House and an increased opportunity for Apostolics to be heard. Bishop Sam Smith asked questions concerning current events in Africa and White House policy regarding these. Bishop Jerry Jones offered questions concerning faith-based initiatives.
I expressed thanks to Mr. Rove and his associates for the opportunity to meet with them and expressed appreciation for the convictions that this present administration demonstrates. I spoke on several key issues in which we, as Apostolics, are greatly concerned, such as abortion and school vouchers. Quoting from I Chronicles 7:14, I affirmed that we are the people of the Name, emphasizing that because we are people of the Name, God has promised to hear us; this is a powerful point our White House and government needs to consider.
Reverend Stan Wachtstetter discussed the differences between Oneness and Trinitarian Pentecostals. He requested White House recognition for Apostolic men who worked on the President’s campaign.
The purpose of the meeting was to secure a voice for Oneness Pentecostals specifically, not just from the general mishmash of “Pentecostals.” Considering the continued growth of Apostolics throughout the United States, the strong bloc of Apostolics consists of several million people, with an increasing opportunity to affect national policy. Indeed, the Christian voice in Washington is very powerful when used, but many times we are too silent on the issues which affect our lives and our churches. We can only affect policy, however, if we get involved.
Mr. Rove offered opportunities for these delegates to participate in a bi-monthly conference call and welcomed us to the White House for a meeting every six months for our voice to be heard. This was a milestone for the Apostolic movement in the United States. Continued here...