Churches to hold joint service on Williams Island

IDLEWILD –Williams Island in Idlewild will be alive with music this weekend, but also will invite local residents in for a joint church service.

The service, which will take place on the last day of the festival, was organized by the Historic First Baptist Church of Idlewild and the Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church of Idlewild.

“It will be another way to being the community together as one,” said the Rev. Winston L. Welch, who heads the Historic First Baptist Church. “It doesn’t matter your denominations, races or creeds; just come out and let it go.”

Welch worked with the Rev. Edward C. Harris, of Tabernacle, to bring a joint service to the island this year. It will take place at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 13, and invites both community members and vacationers to attend the service. Dress is casual and attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs, as seating is limited.

Both the Historic First Baptist Church and Tabernacle have held joint events before.

“We have done a lot of fellowship together in the past. We bring down the walls of religion and come together to praise God,” Welch said. “We get together in a nondenominational setting, and are together as one.”

This year, the service will take place at the end of the Idlewild Music Festival, which will open on Friday, July 11 with a gospel night.

He hopes the service will attract those who have come to Idlewild for the festival.

“For those just visiting, they look at Idlewild as a resort community but God is not on vacation,” Welch said. “This is a time to come together, in unified service and just worship.”

The last time the church held a joint service on the island was 2012. Welch said around 500 people attended the service then. The churches plan to make the joint service an annual event on the island.

“We’re going to have a hallelujah good time,” Welch said. “We’re looking forward to it.”