New Easter Tradition Breaks Down Racial Barriers

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Eleven o'clock on Sunday mornings, even in 2006, can seem like the most segregated time in America, but not on this Easter Sunday at Kleman Plaza in Tallahassee.

Here both black and white were worshipping together as one congregation.

"While the races might be able to functionally live without each other, God did not intend for us to do so, that we know it or not," says Chuck Ryor, the pastor of Centerpoint Church of Tallahassee.

Two churches, Centerpoint, which is predominately white, and Door of Hope, a predominately black church, were worshipping together, at least on Easter Sunday.

"I think this is really great. I think it's really important with the racial climate in the city of Tallahassee for groups of people to get together and worship God," exclaimed Beverlyn Elliott, a member of Door of Hope Church.

"We're hoping that this yearly Easter celebration will be symbolic of the vision of these two churches to be, to break down the walls between black and white," added Brad Schmidt, the college director of Centerpoint Church.

Leaders of both churches say they would like to be more multi-racial, but that can take time.

"I think church is the last encounter to come along because people's worship experience is very real to them, their cultural experiences are very real to them and that's not to say that black do not like white or white do not like black, it's just that our cultural worshipping experiences are so different," explained Joe Elliott, the pastor of Door of Hope Church.

But the worshipping experience on this Easter Sunday, for these folks black and white, was the same. Both Centerpoint and Door of Hope are members of Presbyterian Church in America.