Originally created 08/02/97

Conference brings people together in common faith



Seven years ago the Rev. James Kendricks and the Rev. Johnny Allen were struck by the fact that they did everything together with a group of pastor buddies but worship.

Yet because of Christ they shared something that went beyond racial, cultural and denominational lines, he said. ``Jesus is the common denominator,'' said the Rev. Allen, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church.

Belief turned into action last year with the Common Denominator Conference, a week-long interdenominational gathering. A 30-minute broadcast on the conference will air at 6:30 p.m. today on WBEK-TV (Channel 67).

This year's conference will open at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Sharon Baptist, 3434 Sharon Road. The conference will focus on unity, reconciliation and revival throughout the CSRA, said the Rev. Allen.

``Just like a nation pulls together to defend its borders, churches need to come together to look for our common goal, instead of focusing on our differences,'' said the Rev. Kendricks, pastor of Hale Street Baptist Church.

Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Full Gospel, Methodist and a number of independent churches will be represented, said the Rev. Allen.

One night of the conference will focus on reconciliation between churches. Though the community has common problems, people go their separate ways on Sunday. ``It is like what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: Sunday worship is the most segregated hour of the week,'' said the Rev. Allen.

``We may not all look like I look or say it the way I would say it but we have some things in common,'' he said.

The two hope that the unity will motivate area churches to capitalize on their resources to fight social problems like teen pregnancy and drug abuse.

``It is far too much work for one or two churches,'' said the Rev. Kendricks.

While they won't throw out doctrinal differences, they hope to chip away at denominational stereotypes, said the Rev. Allen.

Lay people will see pastors together in fellowship. ``They will see it is OK,,'' said the Rev. Kendricks.

The conference is free and open to the public. There will be a nursery for children 5 and younger.

Each night a different pastor will speak and the choir from that preacher's church will sing. The 50-voice J.R. Allen Inspirational Choir will also perform during the conference.

Conference information
WHAT: Common Denominator Conference

WHERE: Sharon Baptist Church, 3434 Sharon Road.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

SPEAKERS: The Rev. James Kendricks, pastor of Hale Street Baptist Church; Apostle Leonard Mole, pastor of New Joy Deliverance; the Rev. Larry Hudson, pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church; the Rev. William Benson, pastor of First Assembly of God in Augusta; the Rev. Wade Trimmer, pastor of Grace Fellowship.