Our Story: Summerfield Churches Praising Together
By Sarah McKinney
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"One in baptism"[/caption]
"A glimpse of heaven!” is how Rev. Olaf van de Klashorst’s described the ecumenical gathering on Sunday, January 25. Three churches within 4 miles of each other gathered to praise God together!
Pastor Olaf serves Mount Bethel Evangelical Covenant Church on Highway 65 in Rockingham County. Mount Bethel hosted a celebration for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Also participating was Glencoe United Methodist Church served by Rev. Dr. Edward McKinney and Liberty Wesleyan Church served by Rev. Danny Janes.
Family members of different churches got to worship together. Preachers got to experience worship at a different church than that which they serve. Children of different churches ate snacks and played together during the refreshment time after worship.
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Dr. Edward McKinney, Glencoe UMC, Summerfield[/caption]
Jesus’ visit with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 was the focal point of prayer, study, and the sermon for the evening’s service. Pastor Ed McKinney said, “Most Jews traveling to and from Galilee to Jerusalem avoided Samaria like many avoid traveling on I-40 during Thanksgiving. Not because the traffic was bad in 30 AD, but because no one wanted to meet, greet, or talk to a Samaritan. However, Jesus chose to go through Samaria, meet the disgraced woman in the middle of the day, to offer her the gift of eternal life. Churches need to follow Christ’s example by intentionally breaking boundaries and social norms to offer gifts of unconditional love to the marginalized in our own community.”
Hearts were touched as these Christians came together to pray for unity. A visible sign of their ministry together in the community was a donation of $436 to Bethany Elementary School. The funds will be used for children needing assistance as well as equipment needs.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), which is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian Unity. The special Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began in 1908 and continues to be celebrated annually for Christians to come together and witness that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17:21).
“We participate in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to remind ourselves that we belong to Christ, and that we are one family in Christ,” said Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, ecumenical officer of The United Methodist Church.
Sarah McKinney is a layperson in the Northern Piedmont District
Resources for Vital Congregations
Lewis Center for Church Leadership
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor
GBHEM Leadership Resources
Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church
Englewood Book Review
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
Ted Talks: The Golden Circle
Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability
Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability
Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians
Be A Disciple
A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network
Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations
Living As United Methodist Christians
Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials
Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today
John Wesley Sermons: Anthology
Get Their Name
Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit
Canoeing the Mountains
Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples
Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People
Community: The Structure of Belonging
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
Institute for Emerging Issues
Congregations 4 Children
The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants
The Duke Endowment
The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:
- Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
- Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.
We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.