Unity is the informal theme of this year’s Holy Week services put on by the Scotland County Ministers Association.
The ecumenical association hosted a 12 p.m. service Wednesday as part of its five-day Holy Week series.
Wednesday’s service featured music from Ervin Johnson and Ruby Lennon of Westminster Presbyterian Church and a message from Rev. Gene Tyson of First United Methodist Church.
David Blackman, pastor at St. Luke United Methodist Church and current president of the association, said that the importance of inter-denominational events, like those put on by the association during Holy Week, cannot be overstated.
“It is important that, as a community, we come together like this to worship,” said Blackman.
The venue for the association’s Holy Week events also holds some symbolic importance.
“For the first time this year we are holding the event downtown at the Storytelling Arts Center of the Southeast … and this venue is symbolic of our effort to have a greater presence in the community,” Blackman said.
It is hoped by organizers that the location will be convenient to guests as well as benefitial to Main Street businesses.
“We our encouraging (attendees) to stay and have lunch downtown,” said Blackman.
The association was approached by SACS chair Brenda Gilbert about holding the event at their downtown location, and “it seemed like a great idea,” said Blackman.
Based on the attendance at Wednesday’s service, which drew more than 70 people to the Main Street site, the goal of having a larger, more diverse crowd has been achieved.
“There are some major liturgical differences in some cases between (the various denominations) in the association,” said Laurinburg Christian Church minister Michael Waters.
“We have much more in common, however,” Waters added.
During his message to the assembly on Wednesday, Tyson said that celebrating Holy Week is “very important” to the life of Christians.
“It is sort of like a spring cleaning for the soul,” said Tyson, referencing the cleansing effects of Lent (which concludes April 5) and the tradition surrounding the holiday.
Tyson also addressed the seemingly paradoxical aspects of the Easter tradition, which celebrates the violent death of the Christian messiah, followed by his resurrection.
“Why is it called ‘Good Friday’? Because it was good for humanity,” said Tyson.
The association is also seeking to team up with the Scotland County Ministerial Alliance during this year’s Holy Week, and a number of the week’s events will feature representatives of both organizations.
Monday’s service featured Rev. Patricia Stone, with Galilee UMC providing music, while Tuesday’s noon service saw Rev. B.J. Gibson deliver the message, with music from Gerald Buss.
The series will conclude on Friday with a service from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and music from the Imani Gospel Choir.
Programs this week includes: The Scotland County Ministerial Alliance annual Holy Week services tonight at 7 p.m. at St. Luke UMC on 1501 Turnpike Road (feat. Pastor Jesse Bruncon of Galilee UMC). Services will continue Friday at 7 p.m. at Galilee UMC on 941 McGirts Bridge Road (feat. Pastor David Blackman of St. Luke UMC); April 8 at 6 a.m. at Bright Hopewell MBC on 601 N. Main Street (feat. Rev. Elizabeth Anderson of Jones Chapel MBC).
Also Sunday, New Hope Baptist Church will be hosting a SonRise Service at 6:45 a.m. at 11480 Hasty Road. It will last approximately 30 minutes and will feature the choir and a short message by Dr. Thomas Marshall. There will also be an Easter Celebration at 10:15 am in the Avinger Auditorium at St. Andrews University.
In addition, The New Greater Saint James Word Praise and Worship Ministries Inc. will hold morning service begins at 11 a.m. with Pastor Jane A. Hasty speaking. The church’s Easter program will begin immediately after the morning service.