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Chapel Hill Joins Hands to Celebrate Historic Anniversary

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CHAPEL HILL — Chapel Hill's oldest church celebrated a historic anniversary Sunday by literally reaching out to other Franklin Street congregations.

Church bells chimed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Chapel of the Cross, while a human chain formed from hundreds of hands stretched for miles from the church, near the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, all the way to Carrboro.

"It was a chance for every church on Franklin Street to participate in some unity and togetherness," said Kenneth Stines, a participant in the celebration.

Around 1,200 members of six different congregations joined the display of faith to celebrate the milestone.

"This event is a statement of faith and unity across racial lines, across denomination lines and stretching from a 150-year-old to a 134-year-old church," said Rev. Stephen Stanley of Chapel of the Cross.

Church members also celebrated the 134th anniversary of St. Paul A.M.E., a predominantly minority congregation on West Franklin Street. The two churches have been sister parishes for four years.

"It was a special occasion on this day in Chapel Hill that traffic was stopped for something other than a football or basketball game win or loss," said Rev. John Byrd of St. Paul A.M.E.

Organizers hope this event will extend beyond the outstretched hands that lined Franklin Street Sunday.

They encourage members from all congregations to cross racial and religious lines, and work together for a better community. ,Kelly Gardner


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