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Ten Flagler Churches, Almost as Many Denominations, One Big Unity Celebration Jan. 22

| January 11, 2011

A different kind of rainbow coalition.

As the Christian world gets ready to celebrate the 103rd Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, here in Flagler County, 10 church congregations and their choirs—almost double the number of churches at the previous event—are getting ready for the Second Flagler Churches Together in Prayer and Song on Saturday, Jan. 22 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Palm Coast.

The program, a unique and rare occasion for ecumenism across denominations, includes scriptural readings on the theme of love and unity, rendering of English and Spanish songs by various choirs, and the communal singing of worship songs well known to most church-going Christians.

Chau Phan (© FlaglerLive)

“In this time of economic distress and of angry rhetoric, we need to have people of various churches come together to sing and pray in a spirit of unity,” says organizer Chau Phan, a retired professor of political science from New Jersey’s Rider University. “By doing so, we come to appreciate our common spiritual heritage across denomination lines and all kinds of social and economic divides. In the three years preparing for these events, I have visited fifteen churches, and felt overwhelmed by people’s hospitality and open-heartedness. I never felt so welcomed as I was in the African-American churches, namely the First AME Church and the Mount Calvary Baptist Church, both of Palm Coast. It is therefore fitting that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity starts this year the day after we observe the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Day. In this celebration, we sing to the Lord a new song, a song of unity and of love.”

The participating churches are:

  • Church on the Rock, Bunnell
  • First (A.M.E.) Church of Palm Coast
  • First Baptist Church of Palm Coast
  • First United Methodist Church of Bunnell
  • Grace Tabernacle Ministries International of Palm Coast
  • Palm Coast United Methodist Church
  • Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
  • Saint Thomas Episcopal Church, Palm Coast
  • Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church, Flagler Beach
  • Spirit Life Worship Church of Bunnell

This event was last held in Flagler on June 5 at the Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church and drew some 500 people. “I was (and truly still am) so filled with joy seeing so many faith groups coming together, sharing in an evening celebrating the love of God,” one participant said. “The singing and music was incredible and the inspirational words spoken by the represented churches was moving; all speaking about coming together as one, sharing in our similarities, not our differences.”

Admission to the concert is free, but voluntary contributions will be collected to help the International Custodian of the Holy Land which administers sites sacred to all Christians, and the Flagler Cold-weather Shelter which has been very busy this winter. If you contribute by check, please make it payable to the “Flagler County Family Assistance Center” which is a certified non-profit charitable organization.

Next year’s event is tentatively slated for Jan. 21, 2012, back at Santa Maria del Mar.

For more information, please visit the website.

4 Responses for “Ten Flagler Churches, Almost as Many Denominations, One Big Unity Celebration Jan. 22”

  1. elaygee says:

    6 members of this “love fest” coalition are parts of movements that have spent millions of tax free dollars to remove the civil rights of gay American tax paying citizens because their “magic book” told them so. Some of them used charitable dollars they raised to supposedly help the poor and needy to criminalize decent citizens who happen to disagree with their superstitions.

    So much for following MLK’s legacy. The use of a rainbow to illustrate their event is more than ironic, its offensive

  2. John says:

    You are no better than what you claim they are with your “magic book” comment. Instead of celebrating people of different beliefs coming together, you’re a cynic. Wake up call..not everyone has to agree with you. People are allowed to believe whatever they want. Also, gatherings like this promote dialogue. You’re the one spewing negativity and hate. Ironic, huh ? And BTW, Catholic Charities is at the forefront of caring for those with AIDS. You conveniently don’t give credit to those “superstitious” people for helping those who are in need. Keep focusing on the negative. You’ll never get anywhere.

  3. Liana G says:

    Easy John, if elaygee is a cynic bame it on the mixed messages that christianity puts out – you know ‘the love thy neihbour as thy self’ etc. But I have to confess as an atheist that there are some that do a great deal of good, so much so that I became a member of a methodist church several years ago because of the great works they did in the community – without once asking outright for donations – which moved me to seek out and join the church. I remember once when I made a significant offering, I received a call several days later asking to speak to both me, then with my husband to confirm the amount.

    Sadly I havn’t found one like it since, even though I have tried. This church also had a female priest, and an openly gay male priest, and their doctrine also allowed for priests to get married.

    Religion has the power to both heal and divide, but it has to do with the character of the people involved. In this instance it is seeking to heal – let it heal. But I do get where both you, John, and elaygee are coming from. And look, it’s promoting ‘dialogue’ already. Peace. . . . .

  4. Anonymous says:

    Historically, religion has divided people. My response was based on the hateful rhetoric that people use, especially in a situation here where people are coming together. You don’t see these types of gatherings very often. There are some things that people will never agree about, so the negativity is pointless. We should be trying to find some common ground and respect, which some people don’t understand…..Instead they spew hatred and negativity.

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