Special to the Advocate
Forest Hill United Methodist Church and Middlebrook UMC sit just yards apart, separated by a pine grove.
Forest Hill has traditionally been majority white. Middlebrook was founded to be multicultural. They stand as examples of what Light Partner churches can be.
Light Partners are churches that share experiences across racial lines. Shared experiences can range from Bible study to worship to picnics.
Many churches in the Mississippi Conference have already become Light Partners. Conference staff members, the Rev. Steve Casteel and the Rev. Fitzgerald Lovett, are the pastors of Forest Hill and "The Brook," respectively. The two churches have sponsored projects such commemorating the 40th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a pew exchange where members of Forest Hill worshiped at Middlebrook and vice versa.
During the Christmas season, the two churches gathered together for worship and fellowship. After worship one Sunday morning, the churches met in the pine grove. They fellowshipped, prayed, sang Christmas carols and decorated the Christmas tree, which had been planted a few years earlier. Later the churches met in the fellowship hall of Middlebrook for soup, chili, stew, gumbo and fellowship.
The churches reach across racial lines to worship, from Christmas at Middlebrook to Ash Wednesday services at Forest Hill.
For information about Light Partners, contact the Office of Connectional Ministries at email@example.com or 601-354-0515 ext. 14.