July 29 Worship Service Promotes ‘One Kingdom in Cherokee’
Who would have thought a 2,000-year-old prayer would be answered in 2018 in our county? Jesus prayed, “So that they may be brought into complete unity” (John 17:23). It’s a prayer that has come to fruition through the Concerned Clergy of Cherokee (C4), and will be demonstrated by a countywide worship service set for July 29 at the Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater in Woodstock.
The mega worship event, currently involving 23 churches, will begin at 5:15 p.m. when participants can enjoy food trucks, inflatables and other activities. Representatives of local nonprofits will be at display tables in the worship area. At 6 p.m., a combined praise team will kick off the worship service, which will include testimonies, prayer, several speakers and “lots of worship to celebrate that we are one Kingdom in Cherokee,” said Fred Goodwin, senior pastor of Church of the Messiah and president of the Cherokee Christian Ministerial Association (CCMA).
Among the churches participating are Allen Temple AME, Woodstock First Baptist, Momentum and Dwelling Place. The spirit of cooperation among the different denominations is unparalleled, and something the organizers hope will continue to grow.
“Two-and-half years ago, after the tragic shooting at the AME church in Charleston, pastors associated with the CCMA asked me to make a concerted effort to connect more fully with our black and hispanic pastors in Cherokee,” Goodwin said. “This gave birth to Concerned Clergy of Cherokee (C4), a network of multi-racial, multi-ethnic pastors and community leaders, who began meeting monthly for fellowship, sharing and prayer.”
Kandi Patterson is the ministry coordinator for Power in Unity, and Mike Saunders and his wife, Romanzia, lead the C4 group.
“Several years before moving to Canton, God had given me the vision and call of what he wanted to take place in Cherokee County. I was unaware of the who, what and why until I moved here and started attending CCMA meetings where C4 was birthed,” Saunders said.
“The vision of C4 is that through the combined efforts and example of the church, we would be unified and equipped to address some of the social, economical, spiritual and racial issues within the community. Where there is unity, there is power to change. We have been actively working with local businesses and organizations in Cherokee to build positive relations and improving quality of life.
Many churches have shared the vision and are actively involved in bringing more diversity to our community,” Saunders said.
In 2017, members of C4 began to worship together on the fifth Sunday of each quarter. A combined worship team and rotating preachers lead the services. The ecumenical effort has launched sharing ministries in the county, including food and toy distribution, a shared build for Habitat for Humanity, and the Power in Unity worship event.
In a world where we are constantly barraged with divisive thoughts and actions, it will be exciting to be a part of the Power in Unity celebration! For more information, contact Pastor Fred Goodwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Susan Browning Schulz, a Bible teacher and author