To strengthen relationships between predominantly Caucasian and predominantly African American church congregations, the United in Christ organization held their cross-congregational event, Unity in Love, Dec. 3 in Oklahoma Christian University’s McIntosh Conservatory.
Following a luncheon, attendees of the event participated in an afternoon of worship, as well as the opportunity to donate to a coat drive benefiting students in various Oklahoma City, OK schools. According to Steering Committee Member Bob Carpenter said he believes it is beneficial for Oklahoma Christian to have events like these take place on campus.
“It’s an area-wide fellowship, and the idea is just to help bring people from different congregations together,” Carpenter said. “I think OC would like to maintain presence with different parts of the Oklahoma City community. It’s good to have people associate the idea of coming together with OC.”
The speakers for the event included Jeremie Beller from Wilshire Church of Christ, Tim Lewis from North McArthur Church of Christ, Gary Jones from Eastside Church of Christ and Gerard Davis from Spencer Church of Christ, each of whom spoke on the theme “Love.”
“The Bible tells us that we’re supposed to be united,” Event Organizer Roseline Haulsey said. “The Church is everybody. The Church is not just the building you go to. We’re really supposed to get out there in the neighborhoods, and get out there in the community and get all these people together. We want to be that voice that tries to get people together.”
Haulsey said she hopes events similar to Unity in Love will show students the value in diversity and that future churches in the south will become more culturally mixed.
“In the state of Oklahoma, years ago, it used to be just white churches worship together and black churches worship together,” Haulsey said. “Some people still kind of haven’t let go of that. Not to say they are prejudice or racist, it’s just how they were raised, so we’re getting them to see that we can all be together.”
According to Doug Holguin, who came up with the idea for Unity in Love, the reason he felt the need for this event is because it is important for churches to come together and show love for one another.
“Everybody’s culture, everybody’s life is different from one another and we’re coming together as one no matter what your culture and the way your life is,” Holguin said. “I know, through the years, bad things are happening in each other’s cultures, but we’re trying to show that there can be change no matter what.”
Holguin said that he hopes similar events can open people’s eyes to the dangers that come with stereotyping a culture.
“You can’t just assume that this one culture’s one way, and you can’t assume that this culture’s is another way,” Holguin said. “You need to learn about each other, so you can have a better understanding about one another. Hopefully, we can do things like this more and more in the future, so culturally we can continue to grow together.”