Allen minister to meet President Bush this week

Tuesday, July 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ALLEN, Okla. (AP) _ An Oklahoma minister will meet President Bush in Washington this week along with 49 other Apostolic pastors.

Ed Johnson, pastor of the 60-member First Apostolic Church of Allen, said he's trying to keep the excitement from distracting him from Sunday's sermon or getting his trailer ready for a church camp.

``President Bush is a great man, and I am thrilled that, for some reason, I'll have the chance to meet him,'' Johnson said. ``But you have to keep it all in perspective.''

Johnson will attend the Apostolic Congress on Thursday and Friday with hundreds of pastors to discuss violence against Christian missionaries. Bush is scheduled to address the symposium but also will welcome 50 delegates at a Friday breakfast.

``I'm a member of the United Pentecostal Churches International organization,'' Johnson said, ``and maybe someone from that group put forth my name. I really don't know how I got picked, but I'm incredibly honored and pretty excited about it.''

Johnson has pastored the Allen congregation for 10 years after moving from a California church with more than 8,000 members. Johnson said the smaller congregation has its advantages.

``It's a lot of little things,'' Johnson said. ``Just like last Sunday, when the church took up a special love offering _ without my input _ to help me meet some of the expenses of the trip.''

If he has a chance to talk to the president, Johnson says he will avoid subjects such as politics and terrorism and, instead, talk to Bush about faith.

``I want to ask him, if I get the chance, to tell me about his experience with the Lord,'' Johnson said. ``That's all I want to ask him, because I think it's an important topic that he never really gets to speak out about.''