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Black church to worship jointly with Bear Creek

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Posted: Friday, February 7, 2003 10:00 pm

Pastor Bill Cummins has always wanted to build congregation with several ethnic groups at Bear Creek Community Church in south Lodi.

"For whatever reason, that never happened," Cummins said. "I decided if I'm not going to have my bona fide ethnic church, I could bond with an already existing ethnic church."

Cummins did that two years ago, forming an unofficial partnership with his friend, Rufus Turner, pastor of Victory in Praise, a predominately black church in Stockton.

The two churches conduct joint services two or three times a year to unite two distinctly different cultures.

"Given the small number of African-Americans who live in Lodi, this is really a very unusual event in 'livable, lovable Lodi,' " Cummins said. "Bear Creek is the only church in Lodi that does this type of an event."

The two congregations will get together at 6 p.m. Sunday at Bear Creek, 11171 N. Lower Sacramento Road, north of Eight Mile Road.

"When it's at our church, we do the music part of it, and (Turner) does the preaching," Cummins said. "When it's at his church, he does the music, I do the preaching."

The idea to conduct joint services took place when Cummins and Turner were at a dinner together.

"It kind of evolved," Cummins said. "The joining of these two churches reflects how two very different churches can come together as one to reflect unity and oneness."

Turner was not available for comment Friday.

For more information, call 369-2202 or 951-9229.

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