Joint Easter service for North Charleston churches marks new beginning

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - At a small church on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston, this Easter Sunday was the start of something new.

"We wanted to make it a joyous occasion on the most festive Christian day of the year," said Enoch United Methodist Church member Tyrone Montgomery.

"It's just a great way to reach the community," Aldersgate United Methodist Church member Hannah Medford said.

From the name of Aldersgate and Enoch United Methodist churches, both sound similar.

Each church is rooted in the same fundamental beliefs.

But traditions, practices and culture between the two could not be more different.

"One of them is predominantly African American," Montgomery said. "And the other church is a little mixed. But it's probably seventy-thirty Caucasian-African American."

The differences don't stop at race.

One takes communion monthly and one takes it weekly.

One is laid back, one is more charismatic.

One has an older congregation, while one is a bit younger.

But today, they're putting their differences aside and coming together for a service they're calling "The Gathering."

"We just want to show that as much as we can, that God loves all of us," Pastor of Enoch Methodist Church Victoria Richardson said.

But the goal is to unite more than just the two churches.

The pastors of each church decided to do this about a year and a half ago.

They wanted to improve race relations in the community.

"The goal for this new service is to reach our neighborhood," Pastor of Aldersgate Methodist Church Erik Grayson said. "Our neighborhood is diverse, and we want our congregations to reflect that diversity."

With more than a year of work, it wasn't easy getting here.

But the pastors of each church think the work will be worth it.

"Our differences are nowhere near as big as what draws us together in Christ," Grayson said.

The joint services will be on Saturday nights moving forward.

The pastors said they hope more people from the community come to visit the church service.

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