Citizens invited to community lunch and worship

Published 5:49 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

Suffolk churches will once again invite members of the community for lunches and group worship during Lent.

Community worship services will be held each Wednesday during Lent, from Ash Wednesday on Feb. 14 to March 21. Lent is the 40-day period (not including Sundays) leading up to Easter Sunday.

Each service will begin at noon with 30 minutes of worship, followed by a complimentary soup and sandwich lunch. The Lenten services are open to everyone and are designed so that people who work can attend during their lunch hour.

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A dozen churches will participate in the services by hosting or providing a pastor to lead the service. The host church will prepare the 30-minute worship service — including music — and the soup and drinks. Along the pastor, the partner church will bring sandwiches and desserts.

“The ultimate goal is to bring the community together,” said the Rev. Matt Winters, Bethlehem Christian Church pastor.

Each service will partner different denominations and will partner a historically white church with a historically black church to foster goodwill between different congregations and expose each of them to different styles of worship.

The annual series has been held for more than a decade, and each service this year is expected to draw up to 100 worshippers.

Bishop Carlton Upton Sr. of Tabernacle Church and the Rev. T. Floyd “Skip” Irby Jr. have been working to bring worshippers of different races together for decades. Irby said attendees have enjoyed the fellowship each year, whether they’re preparing the meals or sharing a table.

“It’s a chance for people to just be interactive with each other, and the community has been very supportive of it,” he said.

The following is a listing of the services:

Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14 — Suffolk Christian Church, 216 N. Main St., hosting; the Rev. Morris L. Almond, Healing Chapel Baptist Church, preaching

Feb. 21 — Tabernacle Baptist Outreach Center, 3621 Nansemond Parkway, hosting; the Rev. Julie Sterling, Suffolk Presbyterian Church, preaching

Feb. 28 — Main Street United Methodist Church, 202 N. Main St., hosting; the Rev. Cordell Carter, Higher Ground Outreach Church, preaching

March 7 — East End Baptist Church, 1056 Portsmouth Blvd., hosting; the Rev. Dr. Dave Meadors, Holy Neck Christian Church, preaching

March 14 — Bethlehem Christian Church, 1549 Holland Road, hosting; the Rev. Dr. Robert Hobbs, Metropolitan Baptist Church, preaching

March 21 — Oak Grove Baptist Church, 2635 E. Washington St., hosting; the Rev. Rita Kanten, Oxford United Methodist Church, preaching