Hope Ministerial Association plans Sunday eclipse-themed service

Pastor Dennis Chasteen will deliver the message at Sunday’s special eclipse service in Hope.

Pastor Andy Kilps understands that Monday’s coming total solar eclipse is totally a big deal.

But he’ll tell you what’s a bigger deal: the one he sees as the creator of that natural phenomenon. And his spiritual peers among the area clergy share that viewpoint.

“We believe that God is the creator of all things,” said Kilps, pastor of Hope Moravian Church. “So therefore, we believe that this special miracle in the sky on April 8 is a part of his awesome work.”

So the Hope Ministerial Association has planned an Eclipse Community Worship Service at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Hope Town Square on Main Street. The gathering is open to all.

Kilps has called the planned ecumenical service “a great way to unite in faith while celebrating the eclipse.” Pastor Dennis Chasteen of Hope First Baptist is presenting a message on “the light that shines into the darkness, the light that shines beyond the darkness, and the light that leads out of darkness,” as he put it.

The service’s music will reflect much of that same theme with worship leader Dale Sechrest and the Peace Band: Mark Neafus, Mark Fisher, Tony Garrison, Dick Marshall and Lee Marshall. Sechrest regularly leads worship on Sundays at Hope Moravian Church. Plus, he and his band once played for The Cross of Hope outreach gatherings in Hope a number of years ago.

Song selections this Sunday include the gospel classic “I Saw the Light,” “Great Things” and the ever-popular modern worship anthem “How Great is Our God” that includes the Scriptural line “he wraps himself in light, and darkness tried to hide.”

Sechrest figures the music should serve as a solid reminder of God’s identity.

“He is that light that always conquers the darkness,” Sechrest said. “Darkness never prevails against him.”

Kilps mentioned that he’s uncertain how many people to expect for the service. But he and other members of the ministerial association saw it as a logical step given the overall attention of the eclipse.

“We just thought that, with all the other community (eclipse) events going on, it would be a good idea to have a community worship service,” Kilps said.

He fully understands that darkness and light are perennial themes running throughout Christianity and nearly every other faith.

“At this service, we will preach that the darkness that we experience in life is only temporary,” Kilps said.

Sechrest is fascinated with people’s fascination with all things eclipse.

“I find it very interesting that people are so attracted to all this,” he said. “I wonder if, with all the negativity in the world today, they simply are needing something to bring us together.”