Native sons always hold a special place in the hearts of a community.
Rev. David M. Virkler is one such son. Born and raised in Baldwinsville, Virkler returned to his hometown on June 6 to conduct a special series titled, "Prophecy and the World Today." The meetings took place at the historic and beautiful sanctuary of the First Baptist Church located at 22 Syracuse St. in Baldwinsville. The location itself was a kind of "homecoming," as it was the very church Virkler attended as a boy.
"It was a very great blessing to preach in my hometown so very close to where I spent so much of my boyhood years," Virkler said. "I have many fond memories of growing up in Baldwinsville such as marching in the band on Memorial Day, which was also my birthday. I often fished in the Seneca River."
A radio evangelist with his own program for over 45 years ("The Word and the World," heard locally at 1:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Sundays over 102.9 FM), Virkler recalled his first exposure to that media when he accompanied his lay preacher dad as he recorded a Sunday morning 7:30 a.m. radio program at WSYR's studios in Syracuse.
"Dad took me along, and the radio thing rubbed off on me," he said.
His father also sang in a gospel quartet that accompanied Pastor Clyde Gault of the little Beacon Gospel Tabernacle in Baldwinsville.
The co-sponsorship of the conference by Mars Hill Network (102.9 FM), First Baptist Church and Dedication Evangelism (Virkler's organization) was a brand new venture, which came off really well with 180 in attendance for the full-day seminar.
Participants couldn't get enough of Virkler's expert handling of current events from a Biblical perspective. Saturday seminar topics included such exciting themes as "America in Prophecy," "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," "Iraq and the Bible," "Israel's Future in Prophecy" and "Antichrist and One World Government." A very lively question and answer session followed the last session. The evangelist stayed over to share a Sunday morning message at First Baptist titled, "Dating the Rapture: When Will Christ Come?"