Meet Me at the Cross promoted reconciliation


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By ED RUNYAN

runyan@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Dorothy Smith of Youngstown said Friday’s gathering of thousands of Christians at the Covelli Center seemed to perfectly express her relationship with Sandra Stanley of Struthers.

“My friend and I are here together because we are a perfect picture of what this is about – we represent two cultures and our God,” she said, clasping the hand of Stanley. Smith is black and Stanley is white.

“If you want to know Jesus, this is the place,” Stanley said.

They were among the approximately 4,000 people who attended Meet Me at the Cross, a free Easter weekend celebration in the Covelli Centre.

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The Rev. Gary L. Frost, former pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church on the city’s East Side and one of two chairmen of the steering committee, said the gathering was intended to “redefine and help people understand what the term reconciliation really means. It’s to bring people together as one.

“The greatest demonstration of reconciliation the world has ever known was accomplished on the cross of Calvary,” he said. Many churches and religions came together for the celebration.

“Our primary theology is that Jesus Christ is born, and we are here to celebrate that,” he said.

Bishop David L. Thomas, the other co-chair and leader of Victory Christian Center in Coitsville, said the Good Friday message is that Jesus Christ gave up his life on the cross 2,000 years ago, and he paid the price for our sins. So we want people to have a closer relationship with God through Jesus.”

Bishop Joseph L. Garlington Sr., senior pastor of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, in his portion of the celebration, said when people of various cultures come together, “they discover they have a lot in common.

“A friend of mine shared with us, he says, ‘Do you know that Hispanic humor and African American humor is a lot alike?’ And I said, in what way? And he said, ‘When you’ve heard Juan, you’ve heard Jamal.’ “

“If you want to be part of a cross-cultural gathering, you have to have a sense of humor because eventually someone’s going to say something you don’t like,” he said.

But much of his message was about the cross.

The organizers said the sponsors of the program, many of them area churches, paid the $50,000 to have the event. The financial offerings provided by those in attendance would be paying for the checks given to the rescue missions in Youngstown, Warren and New Castle.

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