Every Christian faith and denomination has beliefs that are unique to its practices and doctrines. However, the differences should not cause a wall of division, but rather people of different faiths and beliefs should be able to “come together, and reason together” as brothers and sisters on a common ground – that being a belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believers in Jesus Christ should follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul to the Saints at Ephesus when he exhorted:
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:1-6).
As members of different faiths and denominations begin to find ways in which they can meet on common ground for fellowship and worship, they will be able to echo the exclamation of the Psalmist, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
Methodists and Mormons Follow the Master’s Example
Easter is a very special time of year when people celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. For the members of the Vancouver Washington West Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one way in which they celebrate is through a production called the “Life of Christ” event. The event which was started nearly a decade ago serves to invite people to celebrate the life of the Savior. Dean Barrus, a local Latter-day Saint leader, stated, “We wanted to invite people of all faiths who had belief in the Savior too to come and join with us in that common belief.”
With that objective in mind, the West Stake extended an invitation to the Community African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church of Vancouver to participate in a unique opportunity. Reverend Joyce Smith, the Senior Pastor of AME Zion graciously accepted the invitation. She commented, “It doesn’t matter what denomination you’re from. If we know Jesus that’s the most important thing of all.”
United in Prayer, Song, and Heart
On Saturday, 21 March 2015, congregants from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and AME Zion Church gathered together for a special two-show concert which included the Nashville Tribute Band from Tennessee and the Community AME Zion Choir. The concert was held at a 500-seat Vancouver auditorium. The purpose of the event was to worship Christ through music.
Dan Truman of the Nashville Tribute band commented, “The fact the choir was going to come and sing with us — that takes our music to another level.” He further stated that “level” started during a prayer meeting with the AME choir prior to the concert. A meeting which he further states, had a profound effect on his band mates. He continued, “We were all in a circle holding hands and we start singing with them, and I look around and there [are] different guys in our group, … and there [are] tears coming down [their faces] because… it was so beautiful… and spiritual.”
During the concert the AME choir sang several gospel hymns, all the while inviting the audience to sing, sway, and clap along with them. The band performed songs from their album, “Redeemer: A Nashville Tribute to Jesus Christ.” Speaking of the blessings of that evening, Reverend Smith remarked, “It’s all God’s children just getting together. What a time, what a time! And we saw a little of that, and for that I will be forever grateful to the Latter-day Saints.”
The proceeds from the concert were used to enable the AME Zion Church to make improvements on wheelchair access to church restrooms. “When I heard about the Latter-day Saints giving us the benefits from the concert,” said Reverend Smith, “it just made my whole world and it was an answer to prayer.”
The band was invited to join the congregation of AME Zion Church for Sunday morning worship services in which they were happy to be a part of.
Dean Barrus further commented, “It has turned out wonderfully. It’s very unifying to everybody, and we’re just all excited to participate together in this worship of the Savior and it feels really good.”