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Local pastors build historic alliance

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Many people talk about Christian unity, but a group of Indianapolis ministers are making it a reality.

Several congregations will join forces to present A Celebration of Pentecost this Saturday May 22 at Cathedral of Praise Church of God in Christ (COGIC).

The worship service is being presented by a ministerial alliance of Pentecostal churches.

This rare alliance includes churches affiliated with the COGIC, Apostolic and independent Pentecostal denominations.

“We are coming together to present this service and defeat the enemy of division,” said Bishop Donald L. Golder, pastor of Temple of Praise Assembly, which is affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), based in Indianapolis.

Golder said the service will officially launch the alliance that was created following discussions involving himself, pastor Tom Glenn of Emmanuel Christian Fellowship Center COGIC, and pastor Edgar Allen of Cathedral of Praise.

“We met a month ago, and other pastors have come on board,” Golder said. “We discovered that they also desire unity but needed a group to spearhead it.”

Glenn immediately supported the idea for an alliance because he believes it is important for congregations to emphasize what they have in common, instead of what makes them different.

“We want to initiate this on our greatest day – the day of Pentecost because we believe in what happened on that day,” Glenn said. “We all believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and praising God in the dance and prophetic word.”

Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and other followers of Christ, as described in Chapter 2 of the book of Acts.

Golder and Glenn’s denominations, the 1.5 million member PAW and the five million strong Church of God in Christ, are among several historical Black Pentecostal denominations that trace their origins to the legendary Azusa Street Revival.

Held in Los Angeles in 1906, that event is best remembered for dramatic multiracial worship services that launched the modern Pentecostal movement. Over time, however, groups broke away from the original movement due to doctrinal differences and racial segregation.

“Bishop Golder and I represent two of the largest African-American Pentecostal groups,” Glenn said. “We were certain that by us coming together others would follow.”

Pastor Steven L. Thompson of God’s Grace Community Church, another member of the alliance, said this weekend’s service will be a celebration, not a debate over theology.

“For years the church has been divided and that has been a happy point for Satan,” he said. “We all could find something to disagree on. But in order to address the needs of our community, we have to let God deal with those disagreements and focus on the bigger picture.”

Glenn agreed, noting that the alliance will not just present events, but strategize solutions to problems such as crime, unemployment, homelessness and poor academic performance in schools.

“We’re not just coming together to have a shouting good time,” Glenn said. “We realize it is difficult for people to see God when they are hungry, sick, incarcerated or depressed. We can be most effective by reaching both the spiritual and social needs of this city.”

Celebrate unity!

What: A Celebration of Pentecost

When: Saturday, May 22 at 6 p.m.

Where: Cathedral of Praise Church of God in Christ

Featured speaker: Suffragan Bishop Donald Golder, pastor of Temple of Praise Assembly

Musical guest: Celebration of Pentecost Combined Mass Choir

For more information: Call (317) 591-1060

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