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Peninsula congregations join for Easter
There is no festival more important on the Christian calendar – or more central to Christian beliefs – than Easter.
The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are fundamental articles of faith that cross all parochial boundaries and unite all segments of the Christian community.
That's why it's fitting that most of the Peninsula congregations join together each Good Friday for the annual Meet Me At The Cross and March For Jesus, which will be held tomorrow (8:30-10 a.m.) at Softball City, just beneath the water tower.
"It's the highest point of the Peninsula," explained Rev. Peter Klenner, pastor of All Saints Community Church in Crescent Beach, and chair of the Peninsula Pastors Network.
Klenner, noted the event, sponsored by the network, usually draws some 200-300 members of the public and participants from their congregations who bring different representations of the cross, gather to hear words from the pastors, sing and then march down 20 Avenue, and up 152 Street to Life Church (2265 152 St.).
"There are about 30 churches on the peninsula, and about 25 of them get involved in this event," Klenner said. "Apart from individual churches doing programs, we don't have a high visibility. But from a Christian perspective, there isn't a list of churches – there's 'The Church.'
Co-operating on such a core event is not a big stretch for the members of the network, Klenner said.
"We not only know each other – most of us are good friends," he added. "We don't make a big deal of our differences. We have what we share together."
"The reality is that the major issues are not that major – not that every single person would agree with that," said White Rock Baptist Church pastor Ellis Andre.
"It's fantastic that on the Peninsula we have the kind of unity we do."
Even divisions between the Catholic and Protestant churches are not a factor in the co-operative spirit in South Surrey and White Rock, Klenner said.
He added that seeing the level of co-operation between the pastors is also "energizing" for all of the congregations.
"It's good for people to see that the pastors are friendly together," agreed Cliff Jewell, pastor of the Church on Oxford Hill.
The time is ripe for more high-profile manifestations of Christian faith, Klenner said, adding that the network also plans more events and new and creative ways to take prayer out into the community.
In an era of social networking and the internet, he said, "people are more disconnected than they have been before."
"On the outside things look great, but when you visit with people in their homes, you find out there are a lot of really lonely people.
"The other side to that is that one is surprised how interested people are in spirituality – they're looking for it, especially the under-30s who don't have the same baggage as the Boomer generations – they're open to talking about Jesus.
"Just as in music, young people are interested in reality and integrity – and integrity is one of the most important qualities we cling to."