McCORDSVILLE — Men of various churches chattered among themselves this past Saturday morning while chowing down on plates of eggs, sausage and hashbrowns.
The Rev. Daniel Payton, pastor at McCordsville United Methodist Church, rose from his seat. He posed a question to the men, members of Fortville Christian Laymen’s Fellowship, who came from various denominational backgrounds.
“Who is the best football team?” Payton asked them. “What about the best basketball team? Who’s the best in the NBA?”
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The fellowship playfully debated for a moment. A few different opinions on the topics were offered. Payton smiled in reply.
“You see, even if we all don’t think alike, one thing we can agree to is that we should all love alike,” Payton said.
The Fortville Christian Laymen take these words to heart, said Larry Huston, the group’s president. On the second Saturday of every month, the group puts denominations aside to enjoy a meal together in a time of fellowship.
The group is made up of men representing several different Vernon Township churches, including Fortville Church of the Nazarene, Fortville and McCordsville United Methodist churches, Fortville Christian Church and St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.
Loving fellow believers in Christ is a universal call to all churches, Payton said. Their group aims to simply learn to love their neighbor and bring people to God, no matter which church they worship God in, he said.
And biscuits and gravy seemed like a good start, Payton said with a chuckle.
A meal brings people together in a way that other things can’t; sharing food and stories together is something Jesus did with his disciples to teach them about love and fellowship, Payton said. This group simply wants to follow suit, he said.
“It’s a way for us to be reminded that, yeah, we have some differences, and our churches may do things a little bit different. But whenever you get down to the basics of it, we’re the same, you know? We follow Christ together, and we’re called to share his love together.”
The organization provides a great outlet for Christian men to gather together in brotherhood, said member Don Waymire. Men’s fellowship is crucial to spiritual growth, but it is unfortunately fragmented in many modern churches, he said.
It’s a simple bonding experience for men from all cuts of the cloth, Waymire added. But being around brothers in Christ gives him a feeling hard to replicate outside the church.
The group collects monthly donations, which it uses to help county brothers and sisters in times of financial hardship, Huston said. It takes part in occasional service projects with Community Sharing, an organization that refers Vernon and Buck Creek township residents in need to the McCordsville United Methodist Church food pantry. Funds often go toward helping residents obtain food, clothing, medicine and gasoline to get to work, Huston said.
The fellowship began in 1964, and up to 70 men from churches all across the county would participate, said Art Whitaker, a founding member of the group. These days the group sees 20-30 at its gatherings, and members would love to have more men in Hancock County churches reach out and join them in breaking bread, he said.
“There’s no labels in heaven,” Whitaker said. “I haven’t been there, yet anyway, but I know.”
Men from the congregation of any Hancock County church interested in participating in the monthly Saturday breakfasts of Fortville Christian Laymen’s Fellowship or in Community Sharing can call President Larry Huston at 317-623-7072.