The co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ died two days before Christmas. Vonette Bright was 89.
“In all of life, she celebrated well and boldly invited others into the kingdom to celebrate with her,” reads a tribute posted by the organization, now known in the United States as Cru.
She and her husband, the late Bill Bright, founded Campus Crusade for Christ in 1951 on the UCLA campus. The organization is now active on 1,140 campuses nationwide, with more than 63,000 students involved in its ministries. There are chapters at UGA, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State University and numerous other college campuses in Georgia, in addition to a number of high schools. (Here’s the list).
She also was the force behind the country’s National Day of Prayer.
From Bright’s obituary:
“In 1988, she successfully petitioned Congress to designate the first Thursday of every May as the permanent day for the National Day of Prayer. Unanimously approved by both houses of Congress, President Ronald Reagan signed the legislation into law. She then served for nine years as chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. The movement today includes more than 2 million people in 30,000 observances around the country.
In a 2011 letter from Rev. Billy Graham to Vonette, Graham wrote, ‘Your single-minded focus on the power of intercessory prayer has been both an encouragement to my life and a model for the church. Heavenly records will one day reveal the full impact of your prayer life and the teaching ministry in the lives of countless persons who have come to faith in Christ.’
A public Celebration of Life service is planned for 10 a.m. Jan. 8 at First Presbyterian Church, 106 E. Church St. in Orlando, where Cru is headquartered.
She is survived by her brother, Roy Curtis Zachary; her sister, Deanne Rice; her sons, Zachary Dale and Bradley Randolph; her “daughters-in-love,” Terry and Katherine; and four grandchildren.