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Chicago Celebration brings 1,600 together; highlights diversity, unity

CHICAGO — —“We are family, not by our blood, but by his blood. We are family, not by biology, but by theology.” That was the keynote message of Patrick Odum, minister of the Northwest church, to the first-ever Chicago Celebration, a meeting of all Churches of Christ in the Chicago area. More than 1,600 church members from 48 congregations participated in the Nov. 11 event at the Tinley Park Convention Center.
“One Mind — One Voice” was the theme of thismeeting intended to bring together members of Christ’s church from allethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.
“What anamazing, exciting, awe-inspiring, way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Thisis what the Churches of Christ in Chicago truly look like,” Odum said.“God is at work in the lives of all these very different people, and bycoming together like this we bear witness to the power of Jesus to teardown barriers and bring people together in one mind, to speak with onevoice.”
The program was crafted by a steering committee of areachurch leaders to include as many congregations of diverse backgroundsas possible. Other keynote speakers were Leonardo Gilbert of the mostlyblack Sheldon Heights church in Chicago and Ricardo Barrera, ministerof the Iglesia de Cristo (Church of Christ) in Elgin, Ill. Song leadersfrom a variety of congregations led songs that were familiar to all andpresented in English and Spanish.
“Just like the day theapostles preached back in the beginning of the Church of Christ throughmany different languages, but there still (is) just one mind and onevoice,” Barrera said. “Christ is our Lord, and there is only salvationin him, and there is no differences in race, culture or nationality.
“Weall speak the same message of love, we all preach the same Lord. We areall one in Christ, we are the Church of Christ, and we truly love oneanother during the Chicago Celebration.”
“Feeding the Mind —Feeding the Soul” is the theme for the second annual ChicagoCelebration, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 24-26, 2008.

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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