Building Our Unity

Building Our Unity

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Throughout its history, the Church has had to navigate what to do when two different groups are brought together in faith. Christianity has never been a faith that was tied to just one place or one culture; its very nature is outwardly focused, enveloping many different peoples and traditions. This certainly adds to the richness of the faith, but at the same time poses many challenges. An encounter between peoples from different backgrounds can be filled with tensions and difficulties, and much care must be taken in seeing those differences not as sources of division, but forces of unity.

The Latino Ministry Team and I are constantly strategizing and working on plans to foster unity between members from the Sunday gatherings and members from the Wednesday gatherings. One of the goals is to create more of a crossover among the two cultures by such things as having Rev. Penny lead worship on Wednesdays as often as possible—just as I sometimes lead on Sundays. Our hope is that this would model a positive crossing over into each other’s cultures as we both lead the two gatherings to be more and more united.

Another hope for building unity is bringing both gatherings together as often as possible. One great example of this happened on Shrove Tuesday, March 5th, thanks to all the hard work CYF did by hosting and organizing the event. Twenty-nine adults and youngsters from the Wednesday gatherings joined more than seventy adults and youngsters from the Sunday gatherings to eat pancakes, do arts and crafts, and make new friends.

We are also working on having bilingual services whenever we can. We experimented with this for our second year on Ash Wednesday. Forty-one members from the Wednesday gatherings and over thirty from the Sunday gatherings prayed, took communion, received ashes, and sang songs, in both Spanish and English. We hope to continue offering times to gather bilingually.

My prayer is that as we go forward, both cultures and services will frequently share the same space and get to know each other more deeply, and that we remember that we are a church of unity. The desire of the Latino Ministry Team—and mine—is that we may be one and that we are working always for greater unity in our church in the midst of all the diversity. This is not an easy task and is one that requires much prayer and preparation, but knowing that this is healthy for the life of the church, we can walk forward with great faith and hope that the opportunities God provides will outweigh any obstacles that could deter us.

Thanks to each one of you for all you do to help this church become the beloved community we all desire.

Peace and blessings!

Jorge Bautista