By Judy Reed
It was a historic moment in Cedar Springs on Sunday, August 31, when at least eight different churches in the area joined together for a community worship service at Morley Park. “We weren’t Methodist, or Baptist, or Pentecostal, or Christian Reformed, or any other denomination,” explained one worshiper. “We were just Christians, worshiping as a community, and remembering what we all had in common, rather than what separates us.”
“It was awesome,” remarked Pastor Kevin Reed, of Grace Evangelical Free Church. “It was good to see so many people come together. There was a lot of energy. People were excited about worship.”
The event, called United—a community for one! was put on by the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association, with Reed as organizer. He estimated that at least 500 people attended, and maybe more. “I was extremely pleased with the turnout for our first year of doing this,” he noted.
Unseasonably cool temperatures and morning clouds may have kept some people away from the outdoor event, although the weather cleared and the sun came out when the service began. “Nobody prayed harder than I did that the weather would be good,” said Reed with a laugh. He said that next year they might use a tent.
A worship team made up of worship arts pastors and musicians from various churches led the singing. It was followed by messages from a couple of different pastors, and several pastors offered prayer for specific community needs. Churches represented included The Springs Free Methodist, Cedar Springs United Methodist, North Kent Community, Crossfire Ministries, Solon Center Wesleyan, Grace Evangelical Free, Pioneer Christian Reformed, and the Journey. Hillcrest Community joined in activities later in the afternoon.
After the worship service, there was a free picnic, games for kids, and a dunk tank where parishioners could dunk their pastor for a donation. There was more music later in the afternoon.
The offering that was taken raised over $1,000 for the En Gedi Youth Center, and the pastor dunk tank raised $130 for the Alpha Family Center.
Reed said he had nothing but positive feedback from those that attended, and some would like to see it happen more than once a year. But Reed isn’t sure whether that will be possible. “It was a lot of work,” he explained. But they would like to do it again next year, and they hope that sense of community lives on all year long.