A church united this coming Friday
This coming Good Friday, April 6, will mark the 31st Annual Community Good Friday Service in Peachtree City.
It is not unusual for churches to celebrate Good Friday. It is not rare for a few churches, usually of like or similar theology, to combine for a Good Friday observance.
It is very unusual, however, for very diverse churches to meet together year after year for over three decades. A wonderful anomaly will take place once again next Friday.
Over 30 years ago, a group of pastors, none of whom remain today due to relocation or retirement, met over breakfast to plan a nondenominational Good Friday service that would focus on their common heritage and beliefs while setting aside theological differences and denominational distinctives.
The service would include a call to worship, prayers, familiar seasonal music, scripture, and at least seven ministers giving brief meditations on The Seven Last Words from the Cross.
For the past 14 years, Dr. George S. Dillard III, senior pastor at Peachtree City Christian Church, has planned these popular services, attended by over 1,000 each Good Friday.
This year, Dr. Dillard’s church will host the service. Although a number of churches hosted the Good Friday Service in the early days, the growth in attendance has restricted where the service may be held.
In addition to Peachtree City Christian, the other churches who host the service on a rotating basis are First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, and Peachtree City United Methodist Church.
This year’s clergy participants will come from Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, All Saint’s Anglican Church, Southside Church, Peachtree City United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, St. Christopher Hellenic Orthodox Church, Peachtree City Christian Church, and Christ the King Charismatic Episcopal Church.
In the past, other denominations represented included the Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church, and the Assemblies of God. Diverse indeed.
I, too, will have a part to play in this great event. When I was first invited to participate, I was the newest and youngest pastor. Then I was Luke Skywalker. Now I am more like Yoda, having participated for 29 of the 31 years. Not that I am wise — just older.
There will be an offering which, as it has for many years, will go to support the worthy work of Fayette Samaritans. The Kiwanis Club of Peachtree City will be there too, serving as ushers.
The service is open to all regardless of church membership or lack of same. Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Charismatics, Independents, Sacramentalists, and more, all worshipping together and, on the essentials, united — if even for a short while.
For an hour to an hour and a half, beginning at noon on Good Friday, I can imagine that God smiles. You, too, are invited to come!
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]