Synod Attends Service of Prayer and Praise

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Synod 2011’s service of prayer and praise, hosted by Madison Square Church of Grand Rapids, Mich., had a Pentecost focus on the Holy Spirit.

The multiethnic church led delegates in a service with the theme “Press On,” based on Jesus being filled with the Spirit as he pressed on quietly with his healing work in Matthew 12.

“We were told when we were hosting this grand day that we could just be ourselves,” said Laura Carpenter, the church’s director of diversity. “We’re going to beat the drums and dance—dance, worship, and praise.”

Accompanied by piano and African drums, worshipers sang a lively medley of songs, including a Nigerian song, “I Must Go with Jesus Anywhere.”

Synod and multiethnic conference participants were then asked to stand while congregation members placed their hands on them and prayed for their work. “For the work that has been done and the work that is ahead, we pray for a spirit of unity and perseverance,” prayed Ministry Associate Joy Bonnema, Madison’s pastor of congregational life.

As the service drew to a close, Rev. David Beelen, Madison’s senior pastor, invited people to come forward to be anointed with oil on their foreheads and blessed with the words, “In the name of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit, press on.” Many worshipers lined up to participate.

“God loves to work with humility, and simply going up to someone with your hands open is an act of humility,” said Beelen.

For more coverage while synod is in session, including webcast, photos, discussion forum, reports, and more, visit the Synod 2011 website.

About the Author

Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who lives in the woods with her artist husband James and their five children in Hillsborough, North Carolina. They are members of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham.

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