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African American and Caucasian churches swap pastors

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 Sunday mornings mean many people are off to church.

If you’ve lived in one place for a long time and you go to church, chances are you go to the same one regularly, but Sunday folks from one small North Carolina town tried something a little different.

At Trinity United Methodist Church, the word “structure” best describes a typical worship service.

People recite creeds and portions from the Bible collectively, and sing old hymns, but on this Sunday the church’s Pastor is no where to be found and the congregation is excited about it.

“Myself and my family, we’re just really thrilled with this,“ said one church member.

“We’re just, well we’re just excited,“ said an elder.

They call it a ‘Pastor Swap’.

Trinity’s Pastor Harold Salmon is less than a mile down the road preaching at Mill Branch Baptist Church, a predominately African American church.

“We come together, not to change each other’s style of worship, but to actually celebrate each other’s style of worship,“ said Trinity United Methodist Reverend Harold Salmon.

And Mill Branches’ Pastor and choir are at Caucasian dominant Trinity.

“Most people know that 11 o’clock Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America,” said Mill Branch Reverend J. Gentile Everett. “We work together. We socialize together. We even spend our money at the same places, but when it came to worship for most people, they would all go in their separate ways.“

And that’s what the two groups do.

Reverend Everett and his choir shake things up at Trinity, while Reverend Salmon gets a good response from the people at Mill Branch.

“Excitement, knowing that the same God that we worship is being worshipped everywhere,“ said Mill Branch member, Cynthia Dudley.

“I think we should do it more often,“ one Trinity member said.

“How can we really love God and separate ourselves from one another because of skin tone?,” said Everett. “We’re just trying to tear that down and say to the community, ‘We love God and we love all of his creation’.“

The churches’ members believe a little change on a Sunday morning will help do just that.

“Black, white, Indians, Mexicans – all of us are God’s children,“ said Mill Branch member Vera Ford.

A small town in North Carolina with hopes of creating unity through their faiths.

It’s the second year the churches have done the pastor swap.

Reverend Salmon is leaving Trinity United Methodist later this year, but says he hopes the church’s next pastor makes the event a tradition.

SOURCE: African American and Caucasian churches swap pastors

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