Transcending Racial Boundaries

LongCreek Bids Farewell to Minister

Bidding farewell to the church’s pulpit minister, David Hamilton, center, are from left: Dan King (family life minister), Dr. Gary Bell, (deacon, who doubles as the church’s chef), member Leon Philpot, Hamilton, member Jane Farley (whose late husband, Jim, built the church building) and member Valissia Palmer. (Photo/Barbara Ball)

Bidding farewell to the church’s pulpit minister, David Hamilton, center, are from left: Dan King (family life minister), Dr. Gary Bell, (deacon, who doubles as the church’s chef), member Leon Philpot, Hamilton, member Jane Farley (whose late husband, Jim, built the church building) and member Valissia Palmer. (Photo/Barbara Ball)

BLYTHEWOOD (Feb. 2, 2017) – As issues over racism and racial equality have swept anew across some parts of the country recently, there are many places where racial tensions are not a topic, not an issue, not a worry. One of those places is the LongCreek Church of Christ in Blythewood.

The church’s 180-plus membership of all ages is somewhere close to a 50/50 split between white and African American members, and the congregation has been integrated since the doors opened more than a quarter century ago when the church moved from downtown Columbia to the edge of Blythewood 29016. And members say the racial mix has worked well over the years as the church grew.

“This is a very peaceful, unified, loving group of people,” said one of the church leaders, Gil Potter, who is white. “In the Church, we are all one. In the Churches of Christ, there is no overall hierarchical organization. Each local congregation is overseen by Shepherds or Elders selected from among the members.”

At the LongCreek Church of Christ, the Elders include both black and white members. There are both black and white song directors who lead the congregation in a capella singing. David Hamilton, the pulpit minister, is white. Dan King, the family life minister, who also fills in regularly in the pulpit, is black. The two ministers have different styles of preaching, and the differences are wholly embraced by the congregation.

Our different styles have never impeded the congregation’s unity, Hamilton said.

“There is no strife here. No power struggles between the races. We don’t divide along racial lines. We are all Christians who come together for one reason, to worship God. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We don’t just get along,” King said. “We truly love each other.”

About the only unhappiness among the members occurred recently when Hamilton, who also writes a weekly column for The Voice, announced his retirement from the ministry. For family reasons, including his mother’s declining health, Hamilton and his wife, Kim, are returning to their roots in Kentucky. Sunday was Hamilton’s last day to preach at the LongCreek church. Following services, members gathered in the church’s family life building for an emotional farewell luncheon honoring and thanking the Hamiltons for their eight years of service to the congregation and the community.

Potter said he expects King and, perhaps, other men of the congregation will fill the pulpit as the church searches for another minister. The church is located at 720 Longtown Road, just south of LongCreek Plantation subdivision.

 

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