Newly merged congregations gather at vandalized Woodland Plaza
Two sister Southwest congregations have merged to become “Salt and Light,” incorporating in their new name the social and spiritual priorities for believers commanded by the head of the Christian church, Jesus Christ. The two churches which have joined together were Grace Christian Fellowship at 6208 Grays Avenue and New Spirit Community Church at The Common Place, 58th Street and Chester Avenue.
With the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 regulations it was not feasible to have their first “in person” worship service at The Common Place which is now their home sanctuary. In contemplating alternatives, Pastors Cean James and Christopher Holland reasoned that the empty parking lot at Woodland Village Plaza at Woodland Avenue at 61st Street represented a unique opportunity.
The open, unobstructed block-long paved area was only minimally used by shoppers on Sunday and could accommodate the worshippers that wanted to remain safely in their cars. More significantly from a social and spiritual standpoint were the boarded-up shops and agencies of the Plaza which had been ravaged by looters the prior Sunday evening. The damaged mall structure provided a provocative backdrop for the fervent prayers of Rev. Holland and the stirring sermon by Rev. James on the need to look closely at our society through the eyes of God and with hope and determination to dedicate ourselves to a more caring and just community.
Rev. James took as his scriptural reference the passages in the book of Ezra where the prophet examines the damaged walls of his beloved Jerusalem before setting in motion their repair and the recovery of his city. “Can we fix it?” Reverend James questioned, “Can we improve the inferior housing in Southwest? Can we establish safe, modern schools and a superior educational program for our children? Can we provide adequate medical care and health services for all our families? Can we be accorded justice, fair, and effective law enforcement, good paying jobs for those able to find work, and the skills and training for those not employed?
“Can we fix it?” he questioned? “Yes! We can!” was Rev. James’ message of hope. “If we come together and put aside differences and work together!
Listening thoughtfully to the message in “pews” were the recently renominated 181st District State Representative Joanna McClinton and the newly nominated 185th District Democratic candidate for the House, Regina Young. Both these legislative office seekers pledged their efforts to fulfill Rev. James’ call to action.
For more information about the newly merged Salt and Light church, visit www.facebook.com/newspiritc