For decades, the Pattersons have led friends and seminary patrons on tours of the Holy Land. Among the many people they got to know was William Kando Sr., a shopkeeper and antiquities dealer in Bethlehem. Kando, a Syrian Orthodox Christian, is one of the people who was approached by the Bedouins who discovered the scrolls 65 years ago.Background here and links.
In 2009, the Pattersons took another group to the Holy Land, and Stephanie and Gary Loveless of Houston - members of Second Baptist Church - were part of the group. Gary Loveless owns Square Mile Energy and years ago founded the Living Waters International charity that sends mission groups to dig water wells for people in underdeveloped areas around the world. He's also on the board of trustees for the seminary.
Gary Loveless said they were busy visiting the usual sights of Holy Land travelers, and the group stopped at Kando's shop, now run by his son, William Kando Jr. Stephanie Loveless purchased a small oil lamp, and the couple returned to the tour bus, with her husband thinking he'd just gotten out of a pricey store with way more money in his pocket than he expected.
Then the Pattersons waved at him to return to the shop. Kando had just made them an offer they couldn't refuse: His family had decided that their Dead Sea Scroll fragments, locked away in a Swiss vault for decades, should be on public display. And they wanted them to be exhibited with his treasured friends at Southwestern Baptist.
The Lovelesses knew it was time for the important work of Christian charity - and they ultimately became the major sponsors of the exhibit with their $1 million donation.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Background on SWBTS DSS exhibit
HOUSTON CHRONICLE: Story behind exhibit as extraordinary as Scrolls (Diane Cowen). The exhibit is the one currently running at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Excerpt: