Unity stressed at outdoor service

"S'KLALLAM- Fellowship flourished under the cedar trees at the tribal center Sunday when several North Kitsap congregations joined in prayer. About 300 members from area churches participated in the fifth annual prayer service hosted by the S'Klallam Community Church. A salmon bake and potluck followed the service. The S'Klallam Nation Singers welcomed the group with traditional welcome songs. It's great, said Michael Jones, leader of the S'Klallam Nation Singers. He looked out over the sea of faces and said it reminded him of his childhood. As young kids we used to get up and sing songs like 'Peace in the Valley,' and 'Old Country Church,' he said. He would perform at the S'Klallam Community Church, the church his grandfather founded and his uncle oversaw for more than 30 years. Jones said he hopes that the traditional songs and food would help non-tribal people understand the tribe and create a stronger unity. We worship the same God they do, he said. Unity, whether it be between nations, or congregations, was the overall message of the service. Everyone complains about the disunity of the body of Christ and nobody does anything about it- well not today, Bill Robinson said. Robinson, former pastor for Peninsula Bible Fellowship, was the guest speaker at the event. Jim Shipman, pastor for the S'Klallam Community Church, said he was pleased with this year's turnout, which was larger than last year. We want to recognize that no matter what our backgrounds or denomination that we're part of the same body of Christ. Those who attended the service agreed with Robinson's message of unity. It's a great thing for the church community, said Gary Henry, of Kingston. He said the event shows, We're committed to being a unified body of believers. After the service, the group feasted on 740 pounds of salmon and other goodies. Richard Oakes of Poulsbo said the event should be held more often. We need to do this once a month, he said. We need to establish those things we have in common and not those things that divide us. "

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