Combined church picnic promotes unity in Clairton

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Duquesne resident Kenya Owens enjoyed the joyous music delivered by the choir, the camaraderie between the people in attendance and the uplifting word of God that was delivered during the sixth annual Clairton Community Picnic.

Owens, who attended the yearly gathering at the invitation of his girlfriend, Clairton resident Twila Boswell, was glad to participate.

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ORGANIZING COMMITTEE—The committee for the Churches United in Clairton picnic,from left: Wandra Sparks, Wanda Davis, Sharon Gressem, Kim Jackson, Wendy Rice, Robin Prince, Paulette Bradford and Pamela Kelley.

“It was very nice. The worship was very uplifting and I enjoyed that all the churches were able to come together and form a choir and the food is off the chain,” he said.

Boswell agreed with Owens.

“I like the unity of the picnic. I go to Holy Week services and anything that has to do with positivity in the community. We get together for funerals and all that negative stuff and it’s good to get together for something positive,” Boswell said.

The event, which was held July 18 at Clairton Park, was started in 2003 with three local churches banding together to have a picnic and worship service. Those churches were Mt. Olive First Baptist Church, Living Waters Baptist Church and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Blythedale. In 2007, Clairton’s Morning Star Baptist Church, First AME, Kingdom Come Ministries and Gethsemane Church of God In Christ joined.

For the past two years the five churches that participated in the picnic were Morning Star Baptist Church, Gethsemane Church of God in Christ, Mt. Olive First Baptist Church, Ebenezer Baptist Church and First AME.

“The main goal of the picnic is to bring people together to worship and fellowship across denominational lines while enjoying good food and games,” picnic committee member and Mt. Olive Baptist Church member, Paulette Bradford said.

That goal was definitely reached.

The day began with songs performed by a choir that consisted of members from all the participating churches. Elder Alexander McLean preached a passionate message of unity before a buffet-style dinner was served.

“We all have come together across denominational lines. I believe in a universal gospel,” McLean said in his sermon. “Where there is unity there is strength. What we need is unity in the community. It’s good to have unity where we live. We need to try and live together regardless of family tree or pedigree.”

Kelli Carper, a member of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, has attended the picnic for the past two years because she enjoys hearing God’s word in a relaxed setting.

“I used to be a Catholic and I converted to Baptist. God wanted me to be a Baptist. I enjoy hearing the sermons and giving praise to God,” Carper said. “This is Clairton Park, it is not a church, but we truly had church service here today!”

After eating, kids and grownups alike were able to play games like Family Feud and Bingo.

A fun day was had by all.

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