Together in Harmony
The Association of American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island has seventy-seven member congregations, including the historic First Baptist Church in America founded by Roger Williams in 1638. The mission of the association is to “resource our people and engage in Christ-centered ministries by promoting and building healthy pastors and healthy churches to bring the whole gospel to the whole world.”
A few pastors from the association envisioned a special worship service that would bring people from its member congregations together for the simple purpose of celebrating our Christian faith and the joy, hope, and unity we experience as part of the body of Christ. A planning committee met four times over the course of eight months to plan the service.
The chosen theme of the service was “Together in Harmony,” based on Psalm 133:1: “How wonderful it is, how pleasant for God’s people to live together in harmony!” This theme was developed in a variety of ways. Scripture was read in several languages by people placed throughout the sanctuary. The choirs of the participating churches received music in advance and practiced in their own churches. One hour before the service was to begin, they rehearsed together as a massed choir.
The service was enriched by the talents of people from a variety of cultures, including African American, European American, Hispanic, Haitian, and others. It was held at Calvary Baptist Church, a historic inner-city church in Providence whose members come from nine countries.
This service allowed us to see in a new and fresh way what can happen when churches work together—whether on a mission project, youth ministry, or a worship service to glorify God.
As the service began, a bagpiper played outside the church’s open doors before processing into the sanctuary.
Welcome and Call to Worship
“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!” CH 43, PH 142, PsH 471, TH 296, WR 106; Diadem: CH 16, PH 143, TH 297, WR 100
“Jesus, Name Above All Names” CH 86, SNC 114, WR 177
“He Is Lord” CH 34, PsH 633, SNC 160, SFL 178, WR 305
Celebration in Dance: “One Word” (Curt Carr)
This was led by a group of young people called “A Chosen Generation” from Ebenezer Baptist, an African American congregation.
Scripture: Psalm 133:1
Spoken in several languages by people standing throughout the congregation.
“Together in Harmony” arr. by Stephen T. Martorella
Hymn: “Amazing Grace” CH 343, PH 280, PsH 462, SFL 209, TH 460, WR 422
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
Hymn: “United in the Love of God” Frank von Christierson
Sermon: Subversive Spirituality
Call to Commitment
Hymn: “Have Thine Own Way, Lord”
Prayer of Dedication and Blessing
Choral anthem: “The Lights of the City” Michael Murphy; arr. David Haas