, Muskogee, OK

August 24, 2013

Local churches worship together Service included worship teams, songs by churches

— Mayor Bob Coburn recently encouraged business leaders and clergy to go across the aisle to someone that is not like you.

That led the Rev. Gary Underwood and the Rev. Lester Beasley to this thought: “What if two churches that were different could come together during the most segregated hour of the week which is Sunday morning?”

After much prayer and discussion, the two churches — Eastside Community Church (a traditional Caucasian church) and Harvest Ministries (a traditionally African American Church) — came together to worship together to help bring about unity and reconciliation within the community in which they both serve, according to a media release.

“What we were told couldn’t be done by even other clergy in the community was something that had to be done in the light all the division in our community and in our culture today,” said Underwood, pastor at Eastside Community Church.

“If we can’t come together under the banner of Jesus and worship together in the spirit of unity then we are missing something as churches and as followers of Christ.”

The service featured more than an hour of music from both worship teams, followed by a song joining teams from both churches, and into a message on “Celebrate Love” by Beasley.

The worship ended when Underwood asked to serve and wash the feet of Beasley.

Tears flowed, and then Beasley returned the gesture as a sign of humility and serving someone other than himself, the release states.Both churches joined in the fellowship hall to eat a meal after worship.