TIGERVILLE, S.C. (courtesy ngu.edu) — Tracing the vital influence of church pastors in the nation’s founding, North Greenville University President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. followed remarks by members of the South Carolina Congressional Delegation with an overview of the importance of religious liberty to an audience of more than 100 faith leaders during the Palmetto Family Council’s annual Nehemiah Project visit to the U.S. Capitol in July.
At the NGU-sponsored July 11 luncheon in the Senate Visitors Center, President Fant spoke on the prominent role South Carolina pastors played in the Black Robed Regiment during the Revolutionary War. The “regiment” referred to clergy who were outspoken supporters of the battle for American independence.
Palmetto Family Council, a statewide non-profit based in Columbia, hosts an annual journey to Washington, D.C. for South Carolina pastors from varied denominations. Approximately 110 pastors participated in the three-day venture July 10-12. Meeting with members of the state’s elected senators and congressional representatives was a highlight of the trip.
“We are grateful for the work of the Nehemiah Project in connecting pastors from across the state who have a heart for bringing a distinctively Christian voice to the many issues that affect politics on the national level,” said President Fant. “The faith leaders in attendance represented an incredibly diverse cross-section of the Palmetto state, regionally and denominationally. It was an honor to address them in the very Capitol where important decisions are made on a daily basis. Religious liberty issues have been a part of our national conversation since Colonial times, which is why the Bill of Rights’ First Freedom is Religious Freedom; it continues to be front-burner for us today.”
Founded in 1993, Palmetto Family Council’s stated mission is to “persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication, and networking.” The council’s seven core values, as they relate to the family, are: faith, marriage, parenting, education, stewardship, commerce, and culture.
According to its website, the council’s Nehemiah Network is a state-wide initiative for pastors, designed to be a “catalyst for a fellowship of church leaders” who will be united in prayer, working to “engage the culture and meet spiritual and temporal needs,” and “earn influence with elected officials together in defense of Judeo-Christian values.”
“It was an honor for me to accompany the Nehemiah Network pastors, their wives, and other guests to Washington,” said Director of Church and Community Engagement for the Tim Brashier Campus, Dr. Tony Beam. “The trip was educational and inspirational with great fellowship enjoyed by everyone on the trip. North Greenville University is blessed to partner with the Palmetto Family Council in support of their ministry to pastors and their families.”
Former South Carolina State Representative Joshua Putnam, a 2011 NGU graduate, is president of Palmetto Family. Putnam served four terms in the General Assembly.
“Palmetto Family is thankful for the support North Greenville University provided to help us send South Carolina faith leaders to Washington D.C. to meet and pray with their elected officials and see the many sights of our nation’s capital. The over 100 faith leaders thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Fant’s address during our Palmetto Family Faith Leader Summit at the United States Capitol,” Putnam said. “We look forward to partnering with him again in the future.”