A Missouri First: All White, All Black Churches Merge To be Bethel-Providence Christian

By Jeremy Thomas

History was made at Bethel-Providence Christian Church, 14700 New Halls Ferry, in Florissant on Sunday June 26. After weeks of planning and getting approval  from the two different churches, the all white congregation of Bethel and the all black congregation of Providence have joined together to form Missouri’s very first merged all white and all black congregations.

“I am greatly going to treasure this moment, for this is a very important moment in my life” said Providence  head pastor Charles G. Pennington Jr. The historic church service started off with beats from the drums, a man jamming out on the guitar, a piano player, and a choir that had the whole congregation clapping along to the rhythm of their singing.

The church was nearly filled up with members from both churches, “You could see and feel the energy in the church, I knew this was going to be a really special day” said Tracy Davis who is a member of the new combined church choir.

About halfway through the service County Executive  Charles A. Dooley presented the church a proclamation recognizing this special event. “After hearing this, it made me look back in my life and see how God has prepared me for this particular event, ” said Pennington.

Further along into the service a group of four dancers ( Tina Davis, Joy Davis, Trayce McNeal, and Tracey Jhonson) danced and preformed to a musical gospel piece. “I was very excited to be part of the service, it was great to see such a big congregation for this event” said Joy Davis, one of th dancers “

“I was just really happy to see members from both churches together under one church, it was about time that it happen, because both churches are so openly friendly to each other and also helping each other out from time to time” said Tina Davis.

After the morning church service was over the pastor invited everyone downstairs for a pot luck lunch. A few hours later members of the church had gathered again to official acknowledge the unity of the two churches becoming one. (Jeremy Thomas is an intern for The Independent News this summer who attends Missouri Southern University in Joplin)

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