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Multi-ethnic church holds first in-person service amid pandemic

Posted at 11:26 PM, Sep 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 23:33:03-04

MILWAUKEE — UFlourish Church marked a big milestone on Sunday in its young history -- a service with people in the pews.

Pastor Kurt Owens was ready to open his doors when the pandemic hit last year, forcing services online for a year and a half.

According to Owens, UFlourish is one-of-a-kind in Milwaukee.

"I can't find another church in the history of Wisconsin where a black and white pastor have come together to start a church," he said.

As a multi-ethnic church, his goal, along with co-planter Ronaldo Ghenov, is to promote integration within the church and beyond.

"We don't think we're inventing anything. We're looking back and trying to be faithful to what Jesus always called us to be," said Ghenov.

Both Owens and Ghenov say, the gospel was always multi-ethnic, but at some point, people lost sight of God's vision for his creations.

According to pew research, a vast majority of churchgoers attend service where 80 percent of attendees are the same race.

Uflourish says their congregation is roughly 50 percent black and 50 percent white.

Lekeisha Roberts is a Milwaukee transplant.

"Coming here was a big shock to see how segregated the city and churches were," she said. "So the fact that Pastor Renaldo and Pastor Kurt have come together to unite the body is such a good thing for the city of Milwaukee."

Valerie Perry, a friend of the Ghenovs, said she'd love to see a church like this where her family lives near Philadelphia.

"Sometimes, Sunday morning is the most segregated morning. So it's really neat to see the multi-colored faces," said Perry.

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