Black Church, White Church in Birmingham Plan Joint Worship Services and Special Project for MLK Day

Ardent Church Pastor Steven Castello, left, and Holy Trinity World Outreach Pastor James Sutton, right, are planing a joint worship service on Sunday, Jan. 18, and a service project on Jan. 19. (Courtesy Holy Trinity World Outreach)
Ardent Church Pastor Steven Castello, left, and Holy Trinity World Outreach Pastor James Sutton, right, are planing a joint worship service on Sunday, Jan. 18, and a service project on Jan. 19. (Courtesy Holy Trinity World Outreach)

Two Birmingham churches – one black, one white – are planning a joint worship service Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, and a service project on Monday celebrating the federal holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Holy Trinity Church, a predominantly black church, and Ardent Church, a predominantly white congregation, will worship together at 10:45 a.m. at Holy Trinity World Outreach Church, 1010 16th Avenue West, in the Thomas neighborhood of Birmingham. The public is invited.

The pastors said they share an understanding of the Church’s call to racial reconciliation.

“There’s no better way to reverence Dr. King’s dream and legacy and exalt the name of Jesus than to worship together with brothers and sisters in Christ whose skin color is different than our own,” said the Rev. James L. Sutton, 37, pastor of Holy Trinity. Sutton, who is black, became pastor of the 18-year-old church 10 months ago. Holy Trinity has about 100 members.

“It is impossible to read the Bible and not see that the New Testament church was extremely diverse on racial and socio-economic levels,” said the Rev. Steven Castello, 32, pastor of Ardent Church. :This service acknowledges that reality.”

Castello, who is white, planted his church on Birmingham’s Southside about three years ago with the goal of preaching the gospel to a multiethnic community. The church has about 70 members.

Sutton and Castello agree that a one-time joint service is only a start to the vision they both hope to realize in their churches.

“In heaven, we will be one Church,” said Castello. “When Christ got up on Easter the wall of separation came down. We must demonstrate that truth both in our relationships and our churches.”

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Source: AL.com | Greg Garrison | [email protected]