ECSM will celebrate its first anniversary on Sunday, Nov. 20 at the 10 a.m. worship service and in fellowship afterward. An Ecumenical Thanksgiving Dinner will be served at 4 p.m. that afternoon. The morning service will feature a dedication of both the Beede Memorial Rose Window, in its new location in the historic Stoneman Chapel, and the Ruth Custer Memorial Cross, atop the church’s north steeple.
The two churches are midway through a two-year exploration of similarities, differences and possibilities. The major similarity is that they are progressive congregations in which all are welcome to worship, serve and give thanks.
“A year into the process of exploring shared ministry, the FCC is rediscovering itself in a new building with new spiritual friends sharing new forms of worship and service,” said FCC Pastor Christy Parks-Ramage. “We have preserved many of our traditions and are experimenting with new ones. The stained glass rose window, which was removed from our old church building in Antioch and installed in the Camp Stoneman Chapel in Pittsburg, is a symbol of the old joining the new.”
The Beede Memorial Rose Window dates back several decades to the Port Costa Explosion during World War II. The original window was destroyed by the concussive impact of the blast and was replaced by the Beede family and dedicated to the memory of their forebears, who were members of FCC and part of Antioch’s history.
“This past year has been an interesting time for us as congregations – remaining two corporations that worship, play and serve together,” said CPC Pastor Will McGarvey. “What I have appreciated the most is the increase of energy and spirit among both churches as we seek God’s future for us together.”
Both pastors share in the leadership of the church; both governing bodies continue their responsibilities individually and collectively. Social justice, community outreach, spiritual growth, musical direction, intellectual freedom and fellowship activities are shared as the members get to know each other.
“On the wall in my study, on a large piece of easel pad paper, are the pros and cons list from the first time our boards met to discuss the possibility of what sharing ministry could be,” said McGarvey. “While that list had twice as many blessings listed as challenges, the power of half of the challenges has also gone away over this last year spent living and serving together.”
According to Parks-Ramage, “Unity in the midst of diversity is at the heart of our work together. We celebrate our diversity and feel the blessing of our unity. As we provide space for our differences, we discover the power of faithful love that unites us in service.”
All are invited to participate in the ECSM community and worship life including, but not limited to, believers, seekers, agnostics, women and men, those of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions, those of all races and cultures, those of all classes and abilities, those who hope for a better world and those who have lost hope.
Services are held every Sunday at 10 a.m.