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Friends and Family Day at Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship

Posted: September 25, 2009 9:41 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
"Better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away."
- Proverbs 27:10b

Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship has become that neighbor nearby for many who left a faraway brother in Chicago, Los Angeles or other United States cities.

Christian Fellowship extended an invitation on Sunday to friends and family of current members as a means of taking in spiritual orphans.

Some may be hesitant to visit a predominantly African-American church because of an unspoken fear that an Easter-hat-wearing, white-gloved woman may suddenly do a round-off back handspring down the aisle.

But the following words will hopefully paint an objective picture of the multi-cultural worship experience that is offered every week in a hidden storefront behind a hamburger stand on Sierra Highway and Soledad Canyon Road.

Christian Fellowship has found its niche in the hearts of many transplants to this valley.

As I sit in the unassuming yet pristine sanctuary, what is most apparent is the sense of family that is present.

These people are not just individual Christians who go to church together.

This sanctuary is full of people, once strangers, who have been adopted into the Christian Fellowship family as a brother or sister, son or daughter, mother or father.

I was reminded of this as I sat behind Nate Govan, a deacon, for whom I have made dinner care packages, while his wife, Alyse, visited family on the East Coast. Alyse was a mother to me when I needed one.

On Sunday, I noted that she has become a mother to Erinn Horton, an Alabama transplant who came to Valencia a year ago to attend California Institute of the Arts. The two even paired up for the church's Mother Daughter Tea.

Although "I'll pray for you" has become the Christian version of "Let's do lunch," this biblical obligation is practiced regularly during church service.

With the musical backdrop of a smooth jazz, joyful noise from the musicians, Pastor Julius Harper invites us to break up into groups of two or three, with a fatherly caution to pray without pretense or intellectual superiority.

The colloquialism would be to "keep it real" as we go before the Lord.

The lively choir was directed by Fredrick Millner, who led the congregation to worship in a way that must have rocked the house in the '70s, because on this Sunday the "roof was definitely on fire."

As they sang a final selection, Aja Rodriguez, a young stay-at-home mom, whispered to me, "Both Betty (Brown) and the lady standing next to her (in the choir) delivered both my babies."

Her comment is another reminder of the intimacy that is the essence of this local church body; a quality that may often be lost in a large church.

Pastor Harper raises the bar with his spirit-led preaching and teaching. Emotional, yet logical, his style embraces passionate preaching without becoming light on scriptural content.

This Sunday, he urges us to not be spiritually constipated (my wording), but to be a conduit for Christ.

Referencing the book of Acts, Pastor Harper challenges us to allow God to work in our lives so that we are more than just a "Sunday go to meetin' Christian."

Harper's wheelchair-bound, special-needs daughter is a constant reminder of how fragile we all are, but when we are in true Christian fellowship with one another, we are like "a cord of three strands" that "is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12b).

Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship meets at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sundays at 18541 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Wednesday Bible classes are at 7:30 p.m.

Alysia J. P. Sims is a member of Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship. Her guest column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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