Students in prayer smallerCHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (ANS, December 30, 2017) Local students and campus ministers are joining with national prayer movements here in Charlottesville, Virginia, to begin the New Year with prayer and fasting. The special prayer vigil begins with a watch night service on Sunday (New Year’s Eve) at 9 PM at Koinonea Church on Ivy Road, Charlottesville.

By Bill Bray, Campus and Missions Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

National groups, including the Collegiate Jesus Fast, Washington Prayer Partners, National Collegiate Day of Prayer and The National Day of Prayer, are initiating eight weeks of the daily fasting. The united intercession begins under the local coordinating group for central Virginia, the Overseas Students Mission (OSM).

The 53 days of fasting and prayer will continue for University of Virginia (UVA) faculty, students and mission leaders until the February 22, the National Collegiate Day of Prayer. Last year, thousands of University students from 300 college campuses joined in the annual event, which is going into its third year in 2018.

The local three-hour New Year’s Eve prayer vigil will continue through midnight, December 31, and involves mainly UVA international students and community partners who support them. Most of the American students are still on Christmas break and will not return until Tuesday, January 9, 2018, when classes resume.

The services will be held in the OSM Headquarters office suite at the Koinonea Church Hall, 257 Bob Finley Way, Charlottesville, Virginia. Prayer coordinator for the event is Divinia Sanchez. She can be reached at 434-327-0812 or at the Christian Information Service Hotline, 434-227-0811.

National organizers of the February 22 event say that have a goal of starting a “new Jesus movement for a new century” on every college campuses in the USA and around the world.

The leaders of the movement, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, say that they are praying for a national visitation of the Holy Spirit such as the one which began when the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, which was founded in 1886, and sought to recruit college and university students in the United States for missionary service abroad. It was also set up to publicize and encourage the missionary enterprise in general. This group mobilized generations of missionaries from mostly eastern colleges until the beginning of WWII. That movement also resulted in an untold number of students going overseas in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Arthur Tappan Person DD smallerThe group was founded by Arthur Tappan Pierson (March 6, 1837 – June 3, 1911) who was an American Presbyterian pastor, Christian leader, missionary and writer, who preached over 13,000 sermons, wrote over fifty books, and gave Bible lectures as part of a transatlantic preaching ministry that made him famous in Scotland, England, and Korea. He was a consulting editor for the original “Scofield Reference Bible” (1909) for his friend, C. I. Scofield and was also a friend of D. L. Moody, George Müller (whose biography George Muller of Bristol he wrote), Adoniram Judson Gordon, and C. H. Spurgeon, whom he succeeded in the pulpit of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, from 1891 to 1893. Throughout his career, Pierson filled several pulpit positions around the world as an urban pastor who cared passionately for the poor.

Pierson was also a pioneer advocate of faith missions, who was determined to see the world evangelized in his generation. Prior to 1870, there had been only about 2,000 missionaries from the United States in full-time service, roughly ten percent of whom had engaged in work among Native Americans. A great movement of foreign missions began in the 1880s and accelerated into the 20th century, in some measure due to the work of Pierson.  He acted as the elder statesman of the student missionary movement and was the leading evangelical advocate of foreign missions in the late 19th century. After retiring, he visited Korea in 1910. His visiting established the Pierson Memorial Union Bible Institute (today Pyeongtaek University) in 1912.

National registration for local campus groups and leaders has started at or Box 50935, Colorado Springs, CO 80949. UVA students and local pastors in Central Virginia, and Washington, DC, can join at

Photo captions: 1) Students in Prayer. 2) Arthur Tappan Pierson. 3) Bill Bray.

Bill Bray smallAbout The Writer: Bill Bray, 70, is an author and special correspondent who frequently contributes to ASSIST News Service. He specializes in covering international student ministries, charities and foreign missions. He has traveled to over 65 countries as a missionary journalist to report on missions and development ministries, returning to some countries as many as 30 times over the years. His most recent book, Called to All, from Westbow Press, will be featured next year for the first time at the National Religious Broadcasters Proclaim 18 convention in Nashville, Tennessee. He can be contacted by e-mail at:

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