Unity service refocuses on Selma

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 25, 2004

Selma’s 12th quarterly unity service will be held at 6 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 1, at First Church of the Nazarene, and the emphasis seems to be moving toward a concentration on prayer and praise in the one and one-half hour service and away, somewhat, from preaching.

For example, the last service, which was held Nov. 16 at Gospel Tabernacle, featured several minister participants, each with Scripture reading and brief remarks. This service, led by the Rev. Larry Stover will only have a brief devotional presented by the Rev. Brenda Tyus, pastor of West Village Church of the Nazarene. The remainder of the service will be given over to singing and special music led by the recently formed Unity Choir. The choir is

directed by Missy Calvert, a member of First Church of the Nazarene. According to organizer Doug Coats, a lay person who originated the series with a few others, the praise and music focus offers the best possibility for a high degree of unity for the services that seek to cross all racial and denominational lines.

For example, during the November service, there were 12 pastors present and 15 churches represented, though in previous services these numbers had been somewhat higher. The November attendance – 250 – was down a bit, but was attributed to schedule conflicts involving a couple of the churches who are strong supporters. Despite the lower number, both Coats and the Gospel Tabernacle pastor, the Rev. John Grayson, described it as the best service yet in the series.

The Unity Choir was organized last fall and has grown in popularity. Calvert said plans for the service have not yet been finalized, however, members of the Unity Choir have gathered every other week for practice. She promised the group would be ready for next Sunday evening.

Host pastor Stover, who has been in Selma for less than a year, said that he had been to two of the services and found them most helpful and beneficial to the cause of church unity in the Selma area. Through these services, he said, “we can really help unite ourselves from a spiritual perspective.” He also expressed hope that pastors and members of churches who have been only marginally involved or not involved at all would join in what he considers to be a significant force for good in the community.

The series which began in April 2001 has met in a number of Selma area churches over the past three years and planners hope for a good turnout Feb. 1.

The next service after that, according to Coats, will probably be some time in April, somewhat before or after Easter.

First Church of the Nazarene is located at 2310 Summerfield Rd. For information call 874-8041.