BRIGHAM CITY — Nine churches met in unity Sunday in Rees Pioneer Park as they said goodbye to David Hiester, pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church, and celebrated their similarities.
“For us, it’s not all about our church program,” said Pastor Jim Catlin, of the Main Street Church of Brigham City. “It’s about Jesus. He’s really all to us.”
The event was sponsored by the Northern Utah Ministerial Association. There were 500 who met during the third annual event.
Besides Hiester’s and Catlin’s churches, the NUMA churches participating in Church in the Park were Community Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church of Brigham City, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, North Hills Christian Fellowship, St. Henry’s Catholic Church and Victory First Assembly of God.
Hiester offered what he called “The Gospel in Chairs” in his final sermon, as he demonstrated how people historically have turned away from God and God has turned himself toward them.
Hiester is leaving to oversee a church in Colorado.
“Let’s get a handle on who God is, what he’s done for all of us,” Hiester said in his sermon.
He talked about a brokenness within each person, which represented a futility to sin and death.
Speaking of humanity’s first parents, he talked about their state after they had eaten of the forbidden fruit.
“As they turned away in distrust, they are hiding in the bushes because they no longer know who He is,” he said.
But as he showed God facing man every time man turns away, he said, “God is the one who is providing for humanity something they can’t do for themselves.”
And the result of God’s amazing goodness is that humanity may have a new heart that beats inside them, he said.
And Hiester demonstrated, by laying one chair upon another chair, how God follows mankind even unto death as He died for them as Christ.
“When humanity dies and is separated from God, how does God respond to this?” he said. “He goes down into death and He meets us there even. This means that there is no place that we can go that God is not.”
Hiester said by turning to God, a person’s nature can be changed.
“We have been transformed,” Hiester said of those who have turned their hearts to God. “We are no longer the same people. … Your character, your nature, you are no longer the same person. God’s word says that you have been made pure, white, holy.”
Hiester said his prayer for all was for freedom.
“I pray that we would open ourselves up, that we would let Him in,” he said.
Area residents said they were happy to meet together in a common bond.
“There’s so many differences, and people focus on sprinkling or dunking and the differences when, basically, we are all Christ followers. We are all believers in Christ,” said Deborah K. Hansen of Brigham City.
“It’s important that we all get together and celebrate Christ as our Savior.”
“It’s great to be with the church, the whole body, of Brigham City,” said Linda Hansen, also of Brigham City, “It’s wonderful to have this spirit that is lifted up with this church.”
Pam Stuart traveled from Harrisville to sit with the two Hansen women.
She said, “I love the idea of worshiping in the park and the contemporary music.”