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Attendance is strong at Lenten services

With only one Wednesday Lent service to go, local pastors are calling a cooperative service schedule one of the best they’ve ever had.

“Except for the snow day, we’ve had about 100 [people] or more,” said the Rev. T. Floyd Irby of West End Baptist Church. West End was one of 12 participating churches that held Wednesday services and lunches during the season of Lent.

One service is left on March 24, at First Baptist Church Mahan Street, 112 Mahan St. The Rev. Dr. Keith Emerson, rector of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, will deliver the message.

The purpose of the services was to encourage groups of Christians who do not normally worship together to do so. Churches in the downtown area hosted the events, and pastors from other churches delivered the messages.

“It’s been a pretty good mix of people,” Irby said. “People mix it up and sit with other folks. I encouraged my people not to just sit with the person you come with, but sit with somebody you don’t know.”

The amount of attendance has been growing steadily over the years, he said.

“Some years it takes a while to build up, but the last couple of years people are more aware of it and they’re there from the beginning,” Irby said, adding he anticipates the services to continue next year.