Local churches gather to celebrate unity during an ecumenical prayer service

·2 min read
The Rev. Kevin McClain from Trinity Lutheran Church gives the first homily at the ecumenical prayer service at Ashland Theological Seminary's Ronk Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.
The Rev. Kevin McClain from Trinity Lutheran Church gives the first homily at the ecumenical prayer service at Ashland Theological Seminary's Ronk Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

ASHLAND – Among fellow pastors from a wide spectrum of denominations, the Rev. Kevin McClain from Trinity Lutheran Church gave listeners a message of unity and love — despite differences that are seen throughout the world and Ashland.

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"What have we come to do?" McClain said. "What we're doing is making a statement about the nature of the community we built."

Ashland Theological Seminary held an ecumenical prayer service Tuesday night at Ronk Memorial Chapel. The theme was celebrating "week of prayer for Christian unity" and "many parts one body."

Eleven denominations were represented at the service, ranging from Lutherans, Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists and Presbyterians.

The processional enters the chapel for the ecumenical prayer service held at Ashland Theological Seminary's Ronk Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.
The processional enters the chapel for the ecumenical prayer service held at Ashland Theological Seminary's Ronk Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

'Nights like tonight do make a difference'

McClain urged the audience to make a difference in their communities, despite a sometimes fractured and broken world.

"Nights like tonight do make a difference," he said. "God has called us ... to find something at the core that which is stronger than the things that seem to tear us apart."

The world we've been called out from is one just fine being fractured and broken, said McClain, who added that communities take pride in knowing that they're a "community" but that they're "not a community together," noting some communities build their identity on who is allowed and who is not.

Those communities are built by their differences — a fence, McClain said.

Instead, McClain asked the audience to find common ground after the service instead of splintering off into their own fences.

'You are meant to be together'

The Rev. Bill Ludwig from Five Stones Community Church offers the opening prayer at the ecumenical prayer service at Ashland Theological Seminary's Ronk Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.
The Rev. Bill Ludwig from Five Stones Community Church offers the opening prayer at the ecumenical prayer service at Ashland Theological Seminary's Ronk Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

The Rev. Allan Bevere of First United Methodist started his homily by proclaiming the audience was "meant to be together." "It's time we start thinking about the churches of the community ... what if we came together?

The Rev. Shauna Rushing, associate pastor at Five Stones Community Church, ended the service by calling on fellow church members to look inside themselves for guidance in their spiritual journey with Christ.

Mark Gorsuch from St. Edward Church welcomes those in attendance for the Ecumenical prayer service held at Ashland Theological Seminary's Ronk Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. TOM E. PUSKAR/TIMES-GAZETTE.COM
Mark Gorsuch from St. Edward Church welcomes those in attendance for the Ecumenical prayer service held at Ashland Theological Seminary's Ronk Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. TOM E. PUSKAR/TIMES-GAZETTE.COM

Organizer Mark Gorsuch said he enjoyed seeing the diverse outfits and leaders who participated in the service. He said he plans on having another service to bring people together and celebrate Christian unity.

"If we can regain that dialogue of love than it doesn't matter what the division is about," said the Rev. Bill Ludwig, lead pastor of Five Stones Community Church. "We can overcome this."

Reach Grant at gritchey@gannett.com

On Twitter @ritchey_grant

This article originally appeared on Ashland Times Gazette: Ashland churches gather toward a message of unity

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