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Portland street evangelist: More Bibles ‘prayed with’ than burned at protests


A Portland street evangelist whose Bibles were burned in an Aug. 1 street protest says although he is disappointed that some of the Bibles he distributed were destroyed, he believes the positive impact of his ministry outweighs the negative actions of a few protestors.


Alan Summerhill, an Evangelical Christian, told CNA he has been giving out free Bibles out of his truck in cities across the Pacific Northwest ever since his retirement three and a half years ago. He said he typically buys cases of Bibles, for about a dollar per book, to give away.

He told CNA his evangelistic mission has brought him to cities throughout the US, but his main focus is the Portland, Oregon area. In addition to giving out Bibles, Summerhill said he also prays outside the local Planned Parenthood several days a week.

When the protests started in Portland around May 28, Alan was on the road. When he got back, he said he was somewhat reticent to approach the protests, but ultimately decided to go because of the evangelistic opportunity. So he parked his truck near the federal courthouse, the epicenter of most of the protest activity.

He said between the night of Sunday, July 26 and the following Friday, he gave out 68 Bibles in downtown Portland, all “to people who appeared to eagerly want them.”

But in the early morning hours of Aug. 1, masked protestors burned two Bibles, along with several American flags, in a bonfire in the street during the protest outside the federal courthouse.

Summerhill did not witness his Bibles being burned, but he says when he saw a video posted online of the burnings, there was no mistaking the red-and-white cover of the New King James Version (NKJV) Bibles that he distributes.

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