Two congregations gather under one church in hopes of community unity

Two congregations gather under one church in hopes of community unity
Two congregations - St. Stephen Baptist Church and Broadway Baptist Church - gathered under one church roof Sunday in hopes of community unity. (Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News)
Two congregations - St. Stephen Baptist Church and Broadway Baptist Church - gathered under one church roof Sunday in hopes of community unity. (Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that 11 a.m. on a Sunday is the most segregated hour in Christian America. In light of that statement, St. Stephen Baptist Church and Broadway Baptist Church decided to hold a joint service Sunday.

"This is how church should be," said Myrna Marshall Brame as she stood outside the doors of St. Stephen.

She arrived early, way before the 9:40 a.m. service to greet people—especially new faces.

"We have so many divisions, even on Sunday morning," Brame said.

Brame has been with the St. Stephen congregation for 25 years, and says this is the first time they've had a joint service with Broadway Baptist.

"We always talk about having unity in the community, but unless we start unity as a Christian family it's not going to work," Brame said.

Sunday's service was a simple invitation from one church to another.

"I feel comfortable wherever I go," Brame added. "I hope everyone feels comfortable here."

Inside, Joshua Davis was with his family from Broadway Baptist Church. The service had started and it was just as Brame had hoped.

"People tend to worship where they are comfortable. I'm comfortable here this morning and I hope that folks, regardless of their race or color, could be comfortable where they worship," Davis said.

An East side church coming together with a West side church for one service. The theme for Sunday was fitting: why pick a side when there are prayers to be said and songs to be sung?

The message of unity traveled so far and wide, it even brought some dignitaries to service.

Secretary Hillary Clinton surprised church goers Sunday, stopping to speak to her audience, as well as marvel at the choir at St. Stephen.

"It is a very special day for me to be here at this church that has great mission," she said. "That shows such leadership and witness."

With everyone under one roof, Brame says she hopes people who left church Sunday will remember one thing.

"There is only one race—and that is the human race," she said.

Brame also reminds people that the doors to St. Stephen are always open.

"We're here at the West end of Louisville, at 15th and Kentucky," she said. "And we welcome you. That's all we want to do. That's all we want to do."

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