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November 26, 2013
Pastor hopes to restore interfaith group

The pastor of the First Baptist Church of Tooele says he would like to restore the old Tooele Ministerial Alliance to full activity by the first of next year.

The Tooele Ministerial Alliance, a local interfaith group supported mainly by four local Protestant churches, met on a more-or-less monthly basis for more than 20 years, said Jon McCartney, of the First Baptist Church of Tooele.

The group was responsible for arranging joint worship services—including a Thanksgiving service that was popular with locals for a number of years—as well as charitable projects. In fact, the group was instrumental in getting Tooele’s Community Resource Center off the ground, McCartney said.

However, the group hasn’t met regularly for the last four or five years.

“That’s probably fairly typical—most things put together by groups, the energy comes and goes,” he said. “There was no conscious decision. I just woke up one day and thought, ‘Hmm, we’re not doing as much together as we used to.’”

The alliance was formerly led by pastors from the New Life Christian Fellowship, the Tooele First Assembly of God, and McCartney’s congregation, with contributions from numerous other denominations through the years. At one point, there may have been as many as a dozen churches represented, McCartney said.

Then life happened, the Great Recession hit and the participating churches busied themselves with their own inter-congregation concerns. The community has changed dramatically just in the last few years, McCartney said, and pastors have come and gone. As the community demographics have shifted, some churches closed, replaced by new congregations.

However, McCartney said he feels that the lingering effects of those same changes are the reasons why a renewed alliance is needed. The alliance would allow all the community’s congregations to pool their resources and address the need he sees on a daily basis.

“Things are getting worse in our society,” he said. “As things continue to spiral down, we see more clients every week in our food pantry.”

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