Everything is bigger in Texas, even ecumenical faith and love.
For 42 years, seven churches of different denominations in Beaumont, Texas, have shared an ecumenical Lenten mission with one another, gathering three days in Lent for prayer, reflection and fellowship.
“We’ve established many wonderful friends over the years,” said Msgr. William Manger, pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church for the past 21 years.
Besides St. Anne, the churches (some of which entered the group after it started) involved are St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Calder Baptist Church, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, First Christian Church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church and Trinity United Methodist Church. All are no more than three miles apart.
Harland Merriam has been pastor at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church for 25 years. The series likely started, Merriam said, because of the already existing relationships between members of the different churches and a vision from the pastors.
The pastors “wanted to experience something that we don’t do regularly,” he said, and they had a “desire to do something together.”