Everyone knows there are a lot of churches in Conway, but perhaps fewer know about the Conway Ministerial Alliance.
Michael Mercer, pastor of University Church of Christ, is president of the alliance this year. He said the alliance is a group of pastors who get together once a month to pray, talk about their ministries and churches and encourage one another.
"There are gatherings (of pastors) in cities all across the country, but they are usually the same denomination or background. One thing that makes us unique is that all different denominations and backgrounds and churches are represented," Mercer said. "I think it helps the different individual churches represented break down barriers and walls that could be there and realize we’re all Christians together."
Mercer said the organization was started in the late 1980s or early 1990s by Harold Thomas, who was the preaching minister at University Church of Christ at the time. The group holds two events a year. On the National Day of Prayer, the alliance holds a noon prayer at the courthouse with government and civic leaders. Around Thanksgiving time, the pastors organize a worship gathering of all their churches. These events are open to the public.
"One of the things that may be really unique about this gathering is when it started," Mercer said. "Even in the early 90s, you didn’t see different denominations working together as much as now. And we’re still meeting together, praying together and encouraging one another."
He said members of the alliance discuss charitable work their churches are doing, and some churches have more resources to devote to projects than others. However, members of the alliance view that as a chance to join another church in their project, he said.
"I think the community is being blessed by the camaraderie of the churches. (The alliance) breaks down competition and helps us realize we’re all doing this for the same purposes," he said.
Anthony Hendrix, pastor of Mosaic Church, said, "From my perspective, it gives us an opportunity as ministers of the gospel to pull together and show the city the body of Christ is indeed the body and we’re not divided across denominational or even ethnic lines. It gives those of us who have been called to shepherd the city an opportunity to come together and shepherd one another."
Mosaic Church is multiethnic by design, and Hendrix said he would love to see even more diversity among the members of the Ministerial Alliance.
"We would love to have more representation of the clergy in Conway," he said. "We have about 10 to 15 that come pretty regularly. We would love to see more pastors and church leaders come out to the meeting the first Tuesday of the month. It gives us the opportunity to come together and talk about some things that normally we can’t talk about because we’re in the role we’re in. It gives us a chance to share our hearts, and we all understand where we’re coming from. We can lean into those discussions and support one another."
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)