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Voices unite for sake of kids

September 28, 1998

Joyful noiseBy KERRY LYNN FRALEY / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - There were a lot of empty pews in Charles Town Presbyterian Church Sunday afternoon, when choirs from four Charles Town churches joined voices for Make a Joyful Noise II.

The scant audience - a few dozen people compared to a few hundred for the first Make a Joyful Noise event in 1996 - was disappointing, organizers admitted.

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But the event, sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Unity, was still successful in its goals of raising money for the Boys and Girls Club of Jefferson County and building bridges within the community, organizers said.

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Featuring the Charles Town Presbyterian Church Senior Choir, the Asbury United Methodist Church Choir, the Gospel Lights from Wainwright Baptist Church and members of the Voices of Praise from the House of Prayer Church of God, the event raised $304 for the Boys and Girls Club, according to organizer Ethel Hornbeck.

"It was well worth it if we do nothing more than be a light on the hill," said organizer Evelyn Taylor, a member of House of Prayer Church of God, referring to a Scripture passage about the importance of example read during the 90-minute program of spiritual music and prayer.

Coming together for this and other events, the churches participating in the Coalition for Christian Unity provide an example of the bridge-building and cooperation needed among various groups in the community, Taylor said.

The group, comprised of five churches of different Christian denominations, was formed in 1996 as a joint effort to help victims of a rash of church arsons through the first Make a Joyful Noise, said Hornbeck, a member of Charles Town Presbyterian.

That event, held on a Saturday night in August, drew about 300 people, Hornbeck said.

The group decided to stay together and has since sponsored other events, including Christmas caroling and a prayer walk at Pentecost, aimed at getting the different churches in the community together, she said.

Music is a common denominator among the denominations, said the Rev. Walter A. Jackson, pastor of Wainwright Bap-tist Church, who said Sunday's event showcased the different styles of praising God through music.

"It shows people, espe-cially the people of God, we have a lot in common," said Jackson, who served as emcee, led and accompanied his own church choir, and performed a keyboard duet with Charles Town Presbyterian's pastor, the Rev. William G. Everhart.

Jackson said he hopes the group will do more things in the future to help the local community and that it can serve as a positive example to others.

"When we come together, we can solve a lot of problems in the community," he said.

The Rev. Samuel Ka-dari, a Baptist minister visiting from southern India, said he was impressed by the event.

"This was very wonderful, especially all the different people coming from different churches and uniting. That's a wonderful thing," said Kadari, who will play host to Taylor when she goes to India on a missionary trip in March.

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