BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — On Christmas Day in 1919, the Christ Episcopal Church burnt down leaving congregation members without a place to worship.
People of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bluefield, WV, invited Christ Church members to share in their services for the following year and a half.
Bishop Reverend Robert F. Humphrey, of the Virginia Synod ELC, said he was grateful that he was able to be present for the anniversary.
“It really is a remarkable celebration,” Rev. Humphrey said. “One absolutely worth noting and being present for.”
A whole century later, the two congregations shared yet another service, celebrating their long lasting friendship.
Bishop Mike Klusmeyer of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia and Reverend Chad Slater said watching people come together on Dec. 29, 2019, was powerful.
“I saw people who live in and around this community coming together for one purpose,” Klusmeyer said. “And it didn’t matter which denomination they belonged to, it didn’t even matter where they came from. But they were here to worship God.”
“Anytime that you can lookout on a congregation and see a mix of people with different experiences and hopes and dreams and opportunities, it’s a wonderful feeling, for me, as a clergy person, to know that we are able to come together and sign God’s praises,” Rev. Slater said.
80 years after the two congregations formed their special bond, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America entered into an agreement.
The two would share communication and cooperation for many years moving forward.
“In the last 100 years, better yet, in the last 10 years, society has changed, the church has changed, and so what are we going to be looking for for the next 100 years to come,” Klusmeyer said. “And this is a start of where we might be.”