Congregations reminded of unity


COLUMBIA — An ecumenical renewal of baptismal vows highlighted a Sunday afternoon service of word and prayer conducted by the bishops of the churches of the LARCUM covenant in South Carolina (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church [Anglican], the Roman Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church).

The Jan. 17 gathering at Virginia Wingard Memorial United Methodist Church demonstrated “prayerful efforts to seek unity,” said Bishop David B. Thompson in explaining LARCUM and what part this service had in the work of LARCUM and God’s Church in South Carolina. The bishop said that the

renewal of baptismal vows illustrates, “a rededication to the will of Jesus Christ, that we may be one in him.”

The event featured prayers, reading of the word and the Holy Gospel, and a reflection on the hearing of God’s word. Hymns of praise were sung by the Wesley United Methodist Church Children’s Choir, the Virginia Wingard Memorial United Methodist Church Choir, the Senior Choir from Frances Burns United Methodist Church.

An offering at the worship service was taken and donated to the work of the South Carolina Christian Action Council. In remarks before the collection, Bishop Thompson thanked Dr. L. Wayne Bryan, the group’s executive minister, for his work on behalf of the leaders of Christian congregations in the organization.

The service culminated with participants being asked to come forward and to touch the water from a fountain at the front of the church, making the sign of the cross if that was a part of that individual’s faith tradition. After touching the water, people were asked to kneel or stand at the altar rail to receive a blessing from one of the five bishops. Attendees were told to go to any bishop as a visible sign of unity in Jesus Christ.

The next LARCUM event will be the Bishops’ Ecumenical Dialogue May 17-18 at the White Oak Conference Center.