Public Lenten services begin this week

Published 11:00 pm Friday, March 1, 2019

Suffolk churches will once again foster fellowship in the community with a series of Lenten services as well as Holy Week services this year. The Suffolk Interdenominational Minister’s Alliance and the Suffolk Clergy United will work in tandem to host the services.

This marks the 15th anniversary of the community Lenten services, which have averaged about 150 congregants per service in recent years, according to the Rev. Matt Winters, Bethlehem Christian Church pastor.

“The goal is to help the community come together, have a time of fellowship around the table and worship together,” Winters said.


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Worship services will be held during the first six Wednesdays of Lent, from March 6 to April 10. 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. A dozen churches will participate in the services by hosting or providing a pastor to lead the service.

Each host church will feature a worship service led by the pastor of the visiting church, and each service will partner a historically white church with a historically black church to foster goodwill between different congregations and denominations.

“You have members from all the churches that mix and sit together as a unified body,” Winters said. “It’s been great to see all of us come together and sit with new friends.”

Additionally, during each day of Holy Week from April 15 to 19, Metropolitan Baptist Church will host worship services with guest preacher Bishop Harry Cohen of New Covenant Holy Church of America in Burlington, N.C. There will not be a lunch with any of these services.

The following is a listing of the services:

  • Ash Wednesday, March 6 — St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 213 N. Main St., hosting; the Rev. Dr. Madelene Beard, Galatians United Church of Christ, preaching
  • Wednesday, March 13 — Tabernacle Baptist Church, 3621 Nansemond Parkway, hosting; the Rev. Dr. Dave Meadors, Holy Neck Christian Church, preaching
  • Wednesday, March 20 — West End Baptist Church, 105 St. James Ave., hosting; the Rev. Dr. Robert L. Hobbs, Metropolitan Baptist Church, preaching
  • Wednesday, March 27 — Oak Grove Baptist Church, 2635 E. Washington St., hosting; the Rev. Rich Meiser, Main Street United Methodist Church, preaching
  • Wednesday, April 3 — Oakland Christian Church, 5641 Godwin Blvd., hosting; the Rev. Dr. Steven Blunt, First Baptist Church Mahan, preaching
  • Wednesday, April 10 — East End Baptist Church, 1056 Portsmouth Blvd., hosting; the Rev. Michael Halley, Suffolk Christian Church, preaching
  • Monday through Friday, April 15 to 19 — Metropolitan Baptist Church, 125 County St., hosting; the Bishop Harry Cohen, New Covenant Holy Church of America, preaching