Happy Bridge of Fellowship

About 12 years ago, the Canby (Ore.) Church began renting their quarters to members of the Pacific Covenant Mennonite Church for Sunday services.

Shortly after arriving in October of 2007 as the new pastor for the Canby Church, Charles Williams made contact with Jon Yoder, the Mennonite pastor. Williams found Yoder to be very cordial and soon sensed his deep commitment to God and his congregation. He told Yoder he would enjoy an opportunity to visit further and suggested they take lunch together one day. Yoder happily agreed, and they soon met at a restaurant and enjoyed a good lunch — made better by the pleasure of becoming acquainted.

A few months passed, and they again set up a luncheon appointment. Their mutual love for souls and common interests in pastoral ministry made for pleasant and meaningful conversation. The time passed quickly, and they soon needed to part. It was then Yoder said, "Chuck, I have a little question for you to consider. Would you be willing to let our Mennonite congregation join your Adventist congregation for worship some Sabbath morning?"

What a great idea! "Of course, Jon," Williams replied. "I'm sure our people would be very happy to have you and your people join us in worship!" So on Sabbath morning, May 9, both congregations came together for worship.

The combined congregations enjoyed music, worship and a delightful fellowship meal. They shared certain parts of the program. Yoder offered the morning prayer, and Williams preached the Sabbath morning sermon.

Subsequently on the Sunday morning, June 28, the Adventist congregation joined with the Mennonites in their worship service. Williams led out in the congregational prayer, and Yoder delivered a message drawn from the Psalms of David. Both congregations were pleased to become acquainted and both found blessing in the sharing of worship. Although there are differing views on certain points of doctrine, there need be no hint of stifling exclusivity among true Christian believers. They are thankful for the wholesomeness of being one in Christ Jesus. To Williams' knowledge these joint worship services are a first at Canby and may well be repeated in the future.

Featured in: October 2009