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CBN.com My job in television allows me to meet, encounter, and dialogue with many “public people.” And because of my travel into the worlds of so many of notoriety, I have somewhat of an empathy and understanding of those who live such public lives before a watching world.
Unfortunately, Peter Jennings was not a man I ever had opportunity to meet. However, like many others, I invited him into my house as a broadcaster over a twenty year span. My children saw the world through his eyes as they grew up.
However, as is the wont of my wife Nedra and I, seeing this public man and knowing somewhat the pressures that surround him, we did what we feel it is responsibility for us to do and that is pray for him. Prayer transcends geography and personal human encounter. It connects with an individual and circumstance on another level. It is more than flesh and blood.
And we made observations through that prism of prayer as to his reportage and the subjects he chose to pursue beyond the daily news.
In light of that, when news of his cancer was announced by Peter to his evening news audience some months ago, our prayer increased. As a cancer survivor myself, the empathy increased too. And then following a conversation with Pat Robertson and a former colleague of Peter’s, I felt I should put “feet on our prayers” and write him a letter. That letter is below.
I never heard back from Peter personally. Inundated with mail as he was that was to be expected. However, yesterday when the announcement was made of Peter’s death, my wife Nedra cried. I felt heavy of heart. And then later in the day, I was informed through Peter’s co-worker and now colleague here at CBN, that Peter had read the letter. He expressed gratitude.
Of course I wonder what it meant to him; but as someone mentioned to me, I had done what I felt impressed to do. The seed was planted, and then it’s God’s job to watch over that seed and bring it to fruition.
A number of years ago I had the opportunity to interview singer, songwriter legend Johnny Cash. Interestingly enough I was on my way to interview his singing bud and friend Waylon Jennings. When I told John I would see Waylon, he said, “Tell Waylon, God is breathing down his neck!”
All these men have "moved on" but they were all pursued by the "hound of heaven." They all felt the breath of God.
We all do. It’s how we respond that’s critical.
As President George Bush said yesterday, “God bless the soul of Peter Jennings.”
Dear Mr. Jennings, (Peter)
I have shared my following thoughts with Pat Robertson and a former colleague of yours Patrick Roddy. Pat Robertson suggested I follow them up by corresponding with you (Actually he said go visit you). However, I thought I might break some ground via letter first.
Within the last few months, Patrick Roddy has joined us here at CBN as VP of Broadcast Operations and he is the intermediary I am using to write to you.
By way of introduction, I work here with Pat Robertson and CBN as a producer/reporter. I have done so for nigh on twenty years. I have a background in radio/TV in New York with WNBC radio as a producer, also at WINS, as assistant music director, prior to their becoming a news operation, and as a disc jockey on Long Island. Subsequently I hosted my own radio Scott Ross Show that was syndicated nationally in the 1970’s and a CBN/Family Channel TV show, Scott Ross Straight Talk. Occasionally, I have functioned as a back up host for the 700 Club. I am also a licensed ordained minister of the Christian Gospel.
To get to the essence: I have appreciated your work over the years, and have often commented to others that you seemed to be the only anchor-editor that brought any attention to issues facing the religious community and church. Your Holy Land, and Search for Jesus specials and the contribution of Peggy Wehmeyer as religion correspondent were examples of that. I opined that (although not expressed by you overtly), I believed you to be on a spiritual quest. I think the current challenge you are facing is no less than that in your own personal journey.
Although my wife Nedra and I (she formerly of the rock and roll girl group The Ronettes) have consistently prayed for you for years, these recent events that you face have amplified those prayers all the more. Personally, as a cancer (melanoma) survivor, with prayer and the aid of doctors I have been “clean” for eight years. Through God there is HOPE.
I have tentative plans to come to the City (NY) shortly, and would consider it a privilege to talk-pray with you confidentially if you thought it might be beneficial. Otherwise, we support you and pray from afar.
There is a poem, The Hound of Heaven, an enduring classic that tells the story of a rich man in Victorian England, who is saved by God--as represented by the Hound of Heaven tracking him down. It may very well be that God in His infinite love has tracked Peter Jennings down. In your search for Jesus, He found you!
Sincerely, with prayer and appreciation,
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.