To the editor,
Re: “Three UMC congregations to worship as one” July 11, 2018
Kudos to the Tribune for this wonderful and inspiring article about two African American churches and one white church joining together. I was visiting my hometown Elkin and attended the first official service of the cooperative parish on July 15 at Jonesville First UMC and sure glad I did. It was history in the making with a mixture of gospel and traditional hymns and a great sermon by Rev. Jeanette Hayes.
I have lived in other parts of the country and world since I left Elkin in 1975, but my return trips have helped me really appreciate the multi-cultural and racial harmony the area enjoys. Many of my black friends from growing up in Elkin are stalwarts at Wesley Chapel UMC, like the Stockton brothers and music director Sam Allen. I have seen how the Latino population has grown in the area and thrived. Of course like anywhere there are rough edges, but overall I am pretty impressed and proud of how things have evolved in my old stomping grounds. Elkin even has a peace vigil downtown at noon every Thursday (eleven years running!) which I have joined on occasion.
It is of course highly alarming how the national political scene has become increasingly polarized and even dangerous as highlighted by the Charlottesville, Va. tragedy last year and the plight of immigrant children separated from their parents. We desperately need to hear the positive stories so thanks again Tribune for bringing forth the amazing story of these three churches taking a giant step together.