Partnership with Washington Shores Presbyterian
Sure, there are big divisions in this country, lines that are drawn, people that are separated, one group that cannot see its own survival apart from the demise of the other. For me, it’s this one… not North and South… not East vs. West… but… Clemson vs. South Carolina. A good Saturday is one where Clemson wins and South Carolina loses.
Jesus calls us to cross those divides that separate us. So, following Christ’s lead, I ventured to the church of another pastor, another pastor who grew up like I did in South Carolina, except, that besides liking her barbeque with a vinegar sauce similar to others from the lower part of my home state instead of its proper fashion with a tomato based sauce, she, unlike me, did not go to Clemson. Pastor Erika Rembert Smith went to the University of South Carolina.
I went to worship with Washington Shores Presbyterian in the fall of 2014. During concerns, I stood and asked for prayers for their pastor suffering the recent loss to the Tigers. I was boooed. Me, showing my Christian sympathy.
We found that, despite our differences, we could work together and so could our congregations.
Our Sessions met. We set forth a plan. Two churches from different side of the street that splits Orlando to one side and another, literally called, “Division Street,” worshipped together, broke bread together, washed hands together, celebrated Easter together, and worked together packing meals and delivering them to Haiti.
Our discovery? The divisions that separate communities won’t be conquered unless somebody moves. Orlando Presbyterian worshipped and fellowshiped with the Washington Shores Presbyterian Congregation through Lent last year until Easter. We came and they welcomed us in. Then the Washington Shores congregation came and worshipped with us. The beginning of a beautiful friendship…
In January, Pastor Smith and Pastor Jones will be leading a class for the Presbytery called, “Crossing the Racial Divide, Bringing Healing to What Separates Us.” We will continue to grow in ministry and mission together, except for, a particular Saturday in November.