LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With racial tensions at a high point across the nation, two local pastors decided a combined service was a small step toward spreading equality.
"It's been said that the most segregated hour in America is 11 o'clock on Sunday morning," said Rev. Tim Watson, interim pastor, First Baptist Church.
But that couldn't have been farther from reality today as two congregations, different in many ways, united as one.
"It gave me a picture of what I believe heaven, the life after, will be like," Watson said.
Members of New Beginnings Baptist Church worshiping at Lufkin's First Baptist, hand in hand, joined by faith. It's the end result of a vision of these two pastors.
"They're actually undergoing some renovations and some remolding at their church and needed to be out a couple of weeks," Watson said.
Which meant finding another place to worship and being out of even more money on top of renovation costs.
"We said 'Hey, instead of trying to rent space somewhere, come over and let's do a combined service," Watson said.
Combined, from the choir to communion, all for a purpose greater than themselves.
"It does not matter about race, it doesn't matter about culture, we are all one people in God's family," said Rev. Stephen Pinkney, pastor, New Beginnings Baptist Church.
And as for the two congregations…they're far from strangers.
"We actually helped plant their church six or seven years ago, so we've had a great relationship with them," Watson said.
Unity; it's a message both pastors agree is right on time, with recent layoffs in Lufkin, causing some to turn their backs on their faith.
"This is the time to come together because we need each other, we need encouragement and we are better together rather than alone," Watson said.