Protestants and Catholics come together for Kalamazoo United gathering
KALAMAZOO, Mich. —
On the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, religious leaders in Kalamazoo are trying to heal the divide among Christian groups.
Under the same roof, praying the same prayers, Protestants and Catholics joined hands in celebrating their common creed and shared faith.
"To bring people together, to pray together and focus on the fact that we all believe in Jesus as our Lord and savior, and that's what we want to celebrate,” Bishop Paul Bradley of the Diocese of Kalamazoo said.
Thousands of worshipers showed up to praise their common god and reach their hand across the aisle.
In the year 1517, Catholic priest Martin Luther had fundamental disagreements with the Catholic church. When he was ignored, then excommunicated by the catholic church, he decided to start his own church.
"We've seen the negative impact of that, the division, and quite honestly some animosity between the two branches of Christianity," Pastor Jeff Wenke of the Bridge Church said.
But, Luther's new branch of Christianity shared most of Catholicism's beliefs. That's what Wenke wants Christians to realize.
"I hope this event opens up a new doorway of understanding and appreciation for both sides to appreciate one another," Wenke said.
The goal: working together to help Kalamazoo's Christians better live their faith.
"One of the outcomes of this event is to have Catholics and Protestants serve side-by-side, in our city, in the name of Jesus," Wenke said.