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'Speak Truth in Love': Standing-Room Only as 'Pastor Story Hour' Comes to Arkansas Library

Owen Strachan is the pastor of Grace Bible Church and a provost and professor at Grace Bible Theological Seminary in Conway, Arkansas. (Photo credit: Grace Bible Theological Seminary)

From Kirk Cameron to pastors, Christians are finding success by offering new library alternatives to "Drag Queen Story Hour." A pastor and seminary professor is the latest to announce that "Pastor Story Hour" is now a thing. 

In a post on Facebook earlier this month, Dr. Owen Strachan said he would read books on the gospel and on God's design of the sexes at the Conway, Arkansas Public Library.  

The pastor's story hour was presented in contrast to the drag queen events that have taken place at countless public libraries across the nation over the past few years. 

Strachan is the pastor of Grace Bible Church and also serves as a provost and professor of Theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary in Conway. 

"This is a rich opportunity to speak truth in love. Personally, I'm thankful for Michael Foster, Kirk Cameron, and other godly men who started this wave," Strachan wrote. 

"I appreciate prayers for this event. While not sponsored by any one organization or church, all children (and families) are welcome. In an age marked by open rebellion against God, I pray to be a clear and kind witness of the Savior who welcomed children, who treated them with compassion and gentleness, and who said, 'Let the little children come to me' (Matthew 19:14)," he concluded. 

Following Strachan's announcement on social media, a group known as the Coalition for Social Justice announced it was holding an "Inclusive Story Hour" on the same day to "drown out the hate" from Strachan's book reading, according to American Family News

In a statement, a Coalition member said the group would read books featuring "Black, Brown, Queer, Trans, GNC, and Disabled People."

In a follow-up Facebook post on Jan. 14, Strachan wrote the Pastor Story Hour went very well with a "packed turnout."

"We laughed, we had a packed turnout (and a very hot room as a result!), we read 2 good books, we heard 3 precious kids pray at the end, and we celebrated the wisdom and grace of God," the pastor wrote. 

Plus, Strachan said they also had great conversations after the event with several people from the Inclusive Story Hour and asked people to pray for them. 

"We disagreed, and in no uncertain terms, but several of us tried to engage them in a biblical way," he noted. "Very thankful for the godly men and women of Grace Bible Church who came and supported this informal story hour, and from numerous other local churches as well. What a blessing!" he wrote. 

Strachan said as a result of the conversations, he invited a man from the "Inclusive" group to visit his church. 

"Please pray that Austin would come, that he would bring several friends (as he said he might), that the church would engage them in grace and truth, and that God would work mightily to save. Really enjoyed a calm and respectful chat with this man, and I am asking God to transform a sinner just like me," the pastor wrote. 

He also called on other pastors and fellow men of God to hold an event at the public library in their communities. 

"I encourage you to think about doing a Pastor Story Hour where you are. It's not hard to do, and it can be a really joyful event. Our God is so great!" he wrote. 

1,000 People Show Up to Hear Kirk Cameron's Faith-Based Story Hour at Southern California Library

CBN's Faithwire reported Wednesday that close to 1,000 people packed out a library in Southern California to hear actor/producer Kirk Cameron read from his new book "As You Grow" at the Placentia Library, located about 30 miles outside Los Angeles. 

The publisher also tweeted about the event. 

"Nobody can stand in the way of God fearing, loving fathers and mothers!" the publisher tweeted. "Despite the downpour of rain, these brave patriots came out to support Kirk Cameron's live book reading."

"All the forces of darkness are no match for moms and dads who are committed to God, and to their family, and to teaching their children," Cameron told the crowd.

The success of the Christian actor's story hours comes after public libraries across the U.S. reportedly declined or ignored his numerous requests to host faith-based story hours designed to counteract the Drag Queen Story Hour events cropping up around the country for years.

As Faithwire previously reported, others are also taking action to push back on Drag Queen Story Hours and other such efforts.

Dale Partridge and Michael Foster have joined forces to create Pastor Story Hour, an effort sparked after Foster started a conversation on Twitter about the need to stop complaining about Drag Queen Story Hour and to start taking action.

Foster invoked the biblical command to be "salt and light" while discussing his motivation for creating the movement. He also appealed to men to be more vocal on these issues.

"All Christian men should be out there leading the way," he said. "If we don't fill the vacuum, who's going to fill the vacuum?"

Foster continued, "People are looking for leadership. People are looking for wholesome stuff."

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