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Letter: Rev. Lyn Bechdolt
Palm Sunday not in park

Friday, March 29, 2013

For the first time in anyone’s memory, the interdenominational Palm Sunday in the Park service was not held in the Wilson Park. Those of us who participate, led by the Rev. David Adkins of Starling Avenue Baptist, have been pleased to see participation in the service grow to include as many as nine churches, white and black. But, Sunday morning was different than any we had faced before.

At 9 a.m. when Adkins and I both arrived at my church, it was sleeting. I was there to open the building and turn on the heat. Adkins was there to rehearse with his brass and wind ensemble, which has provided music for many years.

As my members began to trickle in, the sleet came down so steadily it was collecting on the bare ground. The day before, I had wondered if my little church was big enough for the gathering that often comes close to two hundred. On Sunday at 9:30 a.m., when it was snowing outright, I wondered if we would have more than a handful.

But, they came. First, it was the high school students who played the instruments and their parents. Then, people from the various churches involved, coming in through the sleet and pouring snow. Some, not able to reach me, thought the service was canceled. I understand. The parking lot of my church was getting white and slippery. But, people came. As David Adkins said to me, “church happens.” Right before 10 a.m., when the snow was at its worst, a bus arrived from First Baptist Church of Martinsville East as the Rev. Charles Whitfield describes his congregation.

Then, for 35 minutes, in the warmth of that worship space, we praised God, greeted each other as fellow Christians, prayed our thanks to God, sang together, and heard the word, read and preached. There were not many of us, 60 or so, from several churches, black and white, but it was wonderful unity of spirit. When we were finished, the worst of the storm was over. I hope next year, Palm Sunday is beautiful and warm and in the park. But, we will not forget this one for a long time.

The Rev. Lynn Bechdolt, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church


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