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My guide to church hopping in Elba

For the past seven Sundays, I have had the opportunity to visit different churches around Elba. Attending these various churches has been eye opening. The visits have created opportunities to build relationships as I joined several different congregations.

So how exactly do you church hop? You just pick one and walk in!

I was challenged by this internship to step out of my comfort zone and meet people where they are. That included attending churches of a different faith or race. I wanted to have a unique experience while in Elba, and church hopping has been the biggest adventure.

I would be lying if I said I was not nervous or uncomfortable leading up to the beginning of each service. But all my nervousness evaporated with all the smiling faces and welcoming hugs I received everywhere I went.

All seven congregations I have worshiped with have been nothing short of welcoming and caring. The church members made me feel right at home. I was blessed to be prayed over many times as I continued my work in Elba. I will take that love and encouragement with me after my summer here ends.

I started my first Sunday in Elba at Covenant Community Church, the home church of my host family. I was greeted with kindness and smiles.

As the weeks continued, I was welcomed by other congregations. After services, I enjoyed meals with several church members I met. I enjoyed meals with members of Elba Church of Christ, the First Baptist Church and Elba United Methodist.

By visiting area churches, I learned that there is a passion for serving others and loving one another throughout the community no matter the race or religious background.

Last week, I attended Harris Temple Church of God in Christ. It is an African American church on the west side of Elba. I had never attended African American church before. The members were so happy I was there, and it was clear that they did not see the color of my skin but truly appreciated I chose to be with them that Sunday.

A few weeks ago, I was invited by a fellow Food Bank volunteer to attend services at the Elba Assembly of God. It was obvious that this church is passionate about giving back to the community by their support of the Food Bank.

I have certainly been blessed to get to know fellow believers and be encouraged by their servant hearts.  The people who make up these churches have a special place in my heart. They have touched my life more than they know.

Mrs. Fay Goodson, a member of Elba Church of Christ, has been a blessing to me since the very beginning of my time in Elba. I first met her at the Food Bank where she volunteers weekly. Her kind heart has touched my life as she continuously shows the love of Christ to others.

My most recent friend made during a church visit is Ms. Francis, a member of the Elba Zion Missionary Baptist Church. She greeted me at the door with the warmest hug and guided me through the service. She told me I was a blessing and prayed over me during the service. Ms. Francis showed me that no matter what color we may be on the outside, we are all free to worship together.

To Covenant Community Church, Elba Church of Christ, First Baptist Church of Elba, Elba United Methodist Church, Elba First Assembly of God, Harris Temple Church of God in Christ, and Elba Zion Missionary Baptist, I am truly grateful for your hospitality in welcoming me into your church family.

I appreciate the love and support of the area churches over these last seven weeks, and I am looking forward to two more church visits in Elba.  Next Sunday, I will be attending Greater New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, and my last Sunday will be spent at Westside Baptist Church.