I saw it in my e-mail church bulletin from my previous church home in Abilene, but I waited until the news broke at my previous employer there:
Highland Church of Christ, for the first time, will join four other downtown churches of various Christian fellowships that have hosted a series of Holy Week luncheons for the past 30 years.
If you’re registered to view the Abilene Reporter-News Web site, you can read it for yourself at this link.
The article reads, in part:
Traditionally, First Baptist, St. Paul United Methodist, First Christian and First Central Presbyterian churches each have hosted a Holy Week lunch featuring a speaker. The event extends to a fifth day this year with the addition of Highland Church of Christ.
The luncheon series begins at 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. This year’s theme: ”Making Sense of Holy Week,” with each of the lectures tied to one of the five senses.
First Central Presbyterian Church pastor Cliff Stewart said he thinks Abilenians are ”eager to see their faith transcend denominational boundaries.” He warmly welcomed Highland to the event.
”(Highland’s) pastor Mike Cope is a marvelous communicator and a valued colleague,” he said. ”He will have much to offer.”
Cope said the four other churches invited his to participate.
”There is a growing sense of shared mission among our churches (along with many others),” he said in an e-mail. ”In many ways, we’re following the lead of our teenagers who have been sharing Holy Week experiences for a few years now.”
I’m sure this will come as no surprise to Mike’s many critics – quite a number of whom are separate-and-aparters who insist that all other churches outside the Church of Christ fellowship are apostate, lost and forever damned; that “we” should come out and away from them – but I think I know his heart. He was my preaching minister for three years. I know he has had a long-standing tradition himself of exchanging pulpits with the minister of one of those four churches (Phil Christopher) one Sunday each year. I’ve read his books. I’ve read a lot of his articles.
I believe he has captured Christ’s vision for the unity of His church, poured out in pleading prayer to the Father in John 17.
And this will be my second opportunity in a week to congratulate him on a lifetime achievement.
The first would be his inaugural grandbaby, Reese Kathryn Cope, born March 29.