Merger celebrates ‘One in Christ’

Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015 10:00 am

After meeting separately within Lancaster Church of the Brethren for nearly 12 years, Maranatha Fellowship will officially be assimilated into the congregation tomorrow.

Members of the multicultural group will reaffirm their faith during a 10:15 a.m. program that brings together several different worship services to celebrate being “One in Christ.”

Maranatha’s largely Spanish-speaking members began meeting as a home-based prayer group in 2002. The following year, they started holding more formal Sunday services at Church of the Brethren and have since grown to 31 active members.

“It has been our dream to reach out to people of every race, every ethnicity, every language,” says Alix Sable, a West Hempfield Township resident and Reading High School teacher who will now become an associate pastor at Church of the Brethren. “It was our dream for all of us to be together.”

The move comes as Church of the Brethren’s national governing body encourages its local churches to embrace more minorities and non-English speakers. In 2007, a query before the Church of the Brethren’s annual national conference resolved that the church should aim to be multi-ethnic, based on Revelations 7:9’s reference to a “great multitude … from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne.”
“There is a clearer call now,” says Senior Pastor Jeffrey Rill. “We should focus on our unity, not on our differences.”

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