Some Cary churches of different denominations have established close relationships with each other and developed a tradition of attending services in each other’s churches. Here is a brief history of how that worked:
Esther Ivey: In downtown Cary, the two white churches were the First Baptist Church and the First United Methodist Church. The Baptist church was on the corner of Chatham and West streets, and the Methodist church was at the same locality as today.
We had preaching only once a month at each church, on alternate Sundays. The Baptists would go to the Methodist church for their preaching, and the next Sunday it was reversed. Sunday school at each church was a weekly affair.
Our church always had a Christmas tree and a program. Every church member – children and adults – received a gift. A committee would buy the gifts in quantity, and they were wrapped especially for individuals. Then we had a Santa Claus just as near Christmas as we could manage, when the gifts were given out.
Marie Seeger: Years ago, First Baptist Church moved to Academy Street. Much later, in the summertime, the Baptist church and the Methodist church never had Bible school at the same time, so the children could go to both. All the children went to both churches for Bible school.
Mary Crowder: Between the Baptists and the Methodists, we would have a Thanksgiving service at each church in alternating years so we could attend one every year. The two churches did the same for revivals. Our church also had Sunday school parties and church picnics.
Clyde Evans Jr.: Our first African-American church was just behind Cary Elementary School, next to the Cary Colored School. The school burned down in 1936. Then our church moved from there down to Evans Road. Later, the name was changed to Cary First Christian Church.
Sallie Jones: I’m a member of Cary First Christian Church. Good Shepherd United Church of Christ started in our church. Good Shepherd is primarily a white church, and we are primarily a black church. We have some white members, and they have a few black members.
When they were just getting organized, our church allowed them to use our facilities until Good Shepherd built their own church on Maynard Road. Every fifth Sunday, our churches still meet together.
Carolyn Sampson: I am the president of the Martin Luther King Jr. task force of Cary. Dreamfest is one of my initiatives. It was created by two churches, Good Shepherd United Church of Christ, which is the white church, and Cary First Christian Church, which is the black church. Those two churches started the MLK celebration for the town of Cary.
I got involved with it in 1995, and at that time, the two churches had a relationship that they had developed over the years where, every fifth Sunday, one or the other congregation would go to the other’s church. A meal is always served afterward so that people can get to know one another. And they have also worked with each other in other kinds of ways.