Praising God and promoting unity
FORT WORTH, Texas — A poignant moment at the recent…
About 200 members of St. Louis-area congregations praised God at a recent unity service hosted by the Centreville Church of Christ, across the state line in Illinois.
Ralph P. Smith Sr., the Centreville church’s minister for 45 years, delivered a heartfelt message on unity from Ephesians 4, said Conley Gibbs Jr., who preaches for the Gateway Community Church of Christ in St. Louis.
“In addition, there was singing, praying and great fellowship,” Gibbs said. “All the ministers joined hands in one accord. Many members stated … that this was one of the most moving collective endeavors in years.”
Thomas Owens, a Centreville elder, said his congregation enjoyed the opportunity “to promote reconciliation and unity in our area.”
The joint assembly was a wonderful way to start a new year, said Nathaniel Cobb, minister for the Buckmaster Lane Church of Christ in Alton, Ill., and the Logan Street Church of Christ in Madison, Ill.
“Emphasizing unity and endeavoring to keep the unity — that’s what we’ve been doing and practicing,” Cobb said. “We’re hoping that it would reach other congregations and encourage efforts in their area.”
Loving one another, he added, promotes the cause of Christ.
Gibbs agreed: “Sometimes we have differences. We have different perspectives, and we can’t always see eye to eye. But we just need to love each other and let God work on our hearts.”
In April, St. Louis-area congregations will host the 75th annual Church of Christ National Lectureship.
In preparation for the lectureship — the premier annual event among African-American Churches of Christ — area leaders “want to make sure we are coming together as we are trying to bring people together,” Gibbs said. “We want to be an example across the country of what love and unity are all about.”
“We have different perspectives, and we can’t always see eye to eye. But we just need to love each other and let God work on our hearts.”
While the recent service involved predominantly black churches, the Centreville congregation has a regular fifth Sunday fellowship with the Fairview Heights Church of Christ, a predominantly white Illinois congregation. That fellowship is just one example of unity efforts across racial lines, area church leaders said.
Subscribe today to receive more inspiring articles like this one delivered straight to your inbox twice a month.
Your donation helps us not only keep our quality of journalism high, but helps us continue to reach more people in the Churches of Christ community.