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Lent with Neighbors


Several lake area people worshipped at a different church this Lenten season. They weren’t church shopping for a new home; they were just getting to know their neighbors. 

This is the second year that Harper Chapel UMC and Faithbridge UMC in Osage Beach got together with Lake Ozark Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to worship together at noon every Wednesday between Ash Wednesday and Easter. The host church and the pastor changed each week, with the pastor not preaching the week his church was hosting. 

On Wednesday, April 6, Harper Chapel was hosted. Worship featured a full choir and a handbell choir. 

“We have a lot of retirees, so being able to do this mid-week wasn’t too difficult,” Rev. Eric Schmidt of Harper Chapel said. 

This year they preached on the six genres of Psalms. Rev. Andy Blacksher concluded with the sermon on Psalm 23. Following worship, the congregants get together in the fellowship hall for a potluck lunch. 

“It’s been neat to see how in the first week, most people were eating with others from their own church, but as time went on, there was more mixing between churches each week,” Blacksher said. 

The Lake of the Ozarks area is a unique place in Missouri. There are half a dozen United Methodist Churches within a couple of miles of the water and a few farther out that still consider themselves to be in the lake area. It’s just divided with civic boundaries, with the shoreline comprised of several different small towns. 

During the gathering, people were discussing their election results from voting the day before, and many of the people had different ballot issues and candidates, including people who attended the same church. 

The Wednesday service was in addition to other Lenten activities. Harper Chapel had an evening service on Maundy Thursday, and Faithbridge had an evening service on Good Friday. Schmidt also has his own tradition of following Easter Sunday with Holy Humor Sunday.