Worthy Christian News » Christian » Baptist, Jewish congregants share Passover Seder service
May 8, 2001
By Janice Backer
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (BP)--I can't believe I waited 41 years for this," exclaimed Frank Ingram, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Boynton Beach, Fla. about the Passover Seder his church celebrated with Kol Dodi Messianic Congregation on Palm Sunday.
Ken Alpren, pastor of the Jewish congregation presented "Messiah in the Passover" to more than 125 people. Alpren explained that the group participated in a traditional Seder, "But I correlated the Seder with New Testament passages and what Yeshua (Jesus) did.
"I have been a Baptist pastor for 19 years and this official, authentic Passover Seder was so Christ-centered, that I cannot understand how anyone could not see Jesus. It just deepens the meaning, because it pictures Jesus at every turn," Ingram told the Florida Baptist Witness.
The audience was a mix of non-believing Jews, Messianic Jews, non-Jewish Christians and friends and family. But the service was well received, even by the ten non-believing Jews.
"Non-believers were warmed towards the Gospel," he said, "And felt at ease at the very Jewish presentation. Several people prayed to Yeshua (Jesus) at the invitation," Alpren said.
Alpren, a native of the Philadelphia area, became a believer in Yeshua in April, 1972, when a Christian friend witnessed to him. He started searching and questioning. Until then his only encounter with Jesus was the album "Jesus Christ, Superstar."
After graduating from a Bible college in Maryland, he moved to Nashville, Tenn. It was there that he was approached by Chosen People Ministry to help plant Messianic congregations. He served as pastor of four congregations before coming to Palm Beach County to begin Kol Dodi in a home a year ago.
Kol Dodi, which is Hebrew for "voice of my beloved," began meeting at Westside recently. Although the membership is small, about 30, Alpren sees a great opportunity.
"Palm Beach County is one of the highest number in Jewish population; along with Dade and Broward, there are more than 700,000 Jews. Some people call it New York's Sixth Ward." He has plans to enlarge the congregation and start a school where the children will be taught about Jesus and learn Hebrew.
Ingram says this great number of Jewish people is a challenge for Baptists to reach out.
"Our church doors are open for the Kol Dodi congregation because I hope that Baptists will make reaching the Jewish community a priority. I do not have the knowledge, understanding that Ken has, but we can offer our building."
The Passover service is just one example of Alpren's outreach to the community. The congregation meets every Friday at Westside, and he conducts Bible studies in Stuart, Boca Raton and Boynton Beach.
Ingram plans for Westside to continue the Passover experience with Kol Dodi, "It is not just Jewish. It is biblical. Everything in the Seder points to Christ, the Messiah."
Baptist Press. Used with Permission.