A public memorial service honoring Charles W. “Chuck” Colson will be held at Washington National Cathedral on May 16 at 10 a.m.
Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and Colson Center for Christian Worldview, passed away on April 21. He took an abrupt turn for the worse after recovering from surgery to remove a pool of clotted blood on the surface of his brain.
Ron Luce, founder of Teen Mania Ministries, is among those honoring Colson’s memory. Luce considered Colson a close mentor and confidant. The two collaborated on several projects over the past decade, including launching the Rewired DVD study guide in 2010 designed to prompt teens into developing a Christian worldview.
“He had a heart for this generation and was always willing to step in when we needed him. He offered to be at my disposal any time I needed him, had any questions or was just interested in picking his brain for wisdom on building the ministry,” Luce says. “He was a statesman and very generous with his wisdom and encouragement toward our ministry. He gave his best to reach this generation, and I am forever grateful for his heart for the Great Commission.”
Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, served with Colson on the Gordon Conwell Board and was his Hispanic partner for the Manhattan Declaration. Rodriguez called Colson one of his greatest inspirations.
“Chuck Colson stands as an iconic figure who enriched the Christian community by personifying the power of a redeemed narrative. His personal experience speaks to a man who fell into grace rather than falling from grace,” Rodriguez says. “Although his physical voice may be silenced, his ideas and convictions will carry on via a generation committed to reconciling righteousness with justice.”
The Family Research Council also paid tribute to Colson. In 2008, he was honored at the Values Voter Summit with the James C. Dobson Vision and Leadership Award. Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, says he has long admired Colson, because of his commitment to showing both the truth and the love of Jesus Christ.
“By his example, he taught Christians how to fully integrate one’s Christian faith with a role in the public realm,” Perkins says. “He never compartmentalized his faith. Chuck Colson challenged us to follow God’s instruction to be salt and light in every place that we set our feet.”
Paul Crouch, founder and president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, says he is certain that Colson would most want his life and legacy to be measured through the mercy and grace he found in Jesus Christ.
“Jesus said that we must love God with all we are and all we have, and love others in that same way. No one sought to obey those commandments more diligently than Chuck Colson,” Crouch says. “Countless thousands of inmates and their families have found new life and purpose because of the ministry of Prison Fellowship. And through Chuck’s books, columns, radio commentaries and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, millions of men and women have gained the confidence to share their faith and be salt and light in their communities and beyond.”
Alliance Defense Fund president and CEO Alan Sears called Colson a true mentor and friend, a man of courage who called Christians to take a stand and not bend to the cultural and political whims of the day.
“It was Chuck’s dedication to the truth that led him and Professor Robbie George to bring together more than 150 religious leaders to sign the Manhattan Declaration,” Sears observed, “which is unequivocal in its call for Christians to stand strong, regardless of the consequences, and not compromise on religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage and the family.”