I saw this article in the Nashville Tennessean newspaper yesterday.
http://tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art ... /511210352
Worshippers show gratitude for diversity
Separate churches raise same songs of thanksgiving in Ryman service
By AILENE TORRES
A joyful noise rose through the Ryman Auditorium last night, as two distinctively different choirs melded into one.
In a pre-Thanksgiving service designed to bring congregations from different denominations, cultures and backgrounds together, a Baptist minister shared the microphone with a Nazarene minister, and a Church of Christ choir and a Baptist choir sang together.
And worshippers embraced the mixed service and congregation.
"A Christian is a Christian, it doesn't matter if you are black or white," said Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church member Dominique Haywood, 37. "Some people are going to be excluded from heaven. It won't matter if you are black or white."
The event, "Thankful We Stand," was a collaboration between TheOperation Andrew Group, a nondenominational outreach association that partners with churches from varying denominations, and the YMCA of Middle Tennessee. Both organizations want to erode racial barriers and foster greater diversity among congregations, organizers said.
"We tend to live in our comfort areas black, white, Hispanic," said OAG president Charles E. McGowan. "We can walk away from this feeling how big God's church is and give expression to our unity."
The diversity was apparent throughout the service as young and old, black, white, Hispanic and Asian and even the hearing-impaired all praised God together.
As the two choirs from Otter Creek Church of Christ on Granny White Pike and Temple Baptist Church of King's Lane sang together, worshippers sang along or raised their hands to the heavens.
Jeanie Weems, 29, of Bellevue and a member of Otter Creek Church of Christ, said the interdenominational experience was the way things should be.
"It will help us grow in the future. It is a blessing to be around people who do things differently from the way we have done them," she said.
OAG was founded five years agoand has since teamed up with the YMCA of Middle Tennessee to promote interdenominational diversity and National Prayer Day.
Organizers believe the event's 800-plus attendance showed an interest in the community for diverse worship services. They said they plan to organize a similar service next year.
Phil Newman, vice president of communications for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee said the religious program married well with what the Christian organization tries to exemplify.
The Rev. Frank Lewis, of First Baptist Church of Nashville downtown, said the fellowship of worship should automatically bring believers together.
"God is using the churches to spread his love. Don't focus on what divides us," Lewis said. "Focus on the things that unite us."
Otter Creek has a choir? Fellowships other denominations? Why do they get to say they are a Church of Christ?