NASHVILLE, TN — For four years, Pastor Howard Jones has served as senior pastor of two churches; Fairfield M. B. Church in Goodlettsville and Celebrate Life Community Church in Madison. On Sunday, October 29, 2017, the two churches held their official unified service. They are now combined as Fairfield M. B. Church.
And the congregation sang together praises to God, “Hallelujah!”
The Service was unified in every way; ministerial staff, choirs and other ministries. A highlight was a prayer of togetherness by the oldest active member of Fairfield, Mrs. Ruth Betty. Her words resonated a respect for history and a vision for the future. “Dear God, I am thankful for this opportunity for these two churches to join together for your service…that we grow together and work peacefully and give all the praise and honor to you.” As a symbol of togetherness, a special communion service was held to honor the Unity Service.”
The entire weekend was one of unity. On Saturday both churches combined for a Hallelujah Festival in Cayce Homes, a public housing development for low-income residents, which is a part of the MDHA system. This area has been riddled with violence during the last several months, and the goal of Fairfield & Celebrate Life was to bring hope, inspiration, a feeling of peace, food, new coats and a sense of spirituality to the residents. Members of both congregations showed much love to all the residents, through conversation, laughter, games, prayer and preaching.
Pastor Jones said, “It is clear to me that this community, like many others is full of people who have lost hope because of violence, neglect to the human spirit and feeling their voices are not heard. As we continue to move as one church from the walls of brick and mortar, we must first teach and preach true and unconditional love. “
Reports reveal that many youth and adults are void of love because they feel isolated and neglected in society, and even within their own homes, where the focus is simply day-to-day survival, regardless of income level.
“This festival was the best experience as a prelude to our formal Unity Service. The focus was love and togetherness,” said Pastor Jones.
Celebrate Life Community Church was established 16 years ago and Rev. Mary Carpenter was the founding pastor and only pastor before Pastor Jones took the helm in 2013. Celebrate Life brings about 100 members to the nearly 1300 member congregation at Fairfield and Rev. Carpenter, who recently served as Assistant Pastor of Celebrate Life, is delighted for the churches to combine.
“This is a time of new beginnings. We know that “We are Better and Stronger Together” to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ to advance the kingdom, said Rev. Carpenter.
When officials of Celebrate Life invited Pastor Jones to lead the congregation as senior pastor, some say, it was divine providence that the churches should combine.
“Celebrate Life does not lose the vision or the anointing which has graced this church, and we take the love of Christ with us on this journey,” she added.
Pastor Jones celebrated his 28th year as senior pastor of Fairfield in August of this year, now with the joining of the churches, there will be continued growth for service in the community. “We are stronger together and we grow and glow as one; unified for God’s service,” said Pastor Jones.
Garland Pierce, director of Christian Education for the AME Church said, “This move can serve as a model for smaller churches to join with others for internal strength and fortitude as well as stronger fiduciary responsibility. It provides striving instead of struggling.”
Pastor Jones previous schedule included peaching three worship services on Sundays and Bible Study twice a week, as well as meetings and other ministry activities. All of these services are now combined.
“It has been my hope that the two churches would join together and be one. I proudly say, as of Sunday, October 29, 2017, that goal has been realized,” said Pastor Jones.
“We can win souls for the church, unity in the community and the State Senate Seat, District 19,” he added.