Community in Diversity

Author: Pastor Gerry Lopez
March 08, 2018

Just over six years ago I arrived to Sligo Church to begin my ministry as the Children and Family Ministries Pastor. I quickly discovered Sligo is a melting pot of diversity with so many different countries and cultures coming together in worship and community. 
A growing group at Sligo Church is our Spanish speaking members, many of whom have joined along with their families. As a Spanish speaking pastor, I must admit that I enjoy conversing with them in my native tongue. Joking around, comparing different Latin foods, sharing stories of our culture, upbringings and many other commonalities. As this group began to increase in size, it became apparent that there needed to be a way to integrate them into the church to further develop a sense of community. In speaking with them, I realized that many of them wanted to be involved as an active part of the worship and in the church. Many had played active roles in the churches they attended prior to coming to Sligo and worshiped in Spanish. So the question was, how do they do that in a church that is English speaking? The quick answer was to try and translate the worship service so they could join in on the spiritual feeding, but finding a team of translators was not as easy as thought. Then a clear idea popped up, which was to start a Spanish speaking Sabbath School class - but who would teach and lead the class? Who would be willing to take on such an endeavor? The interest to have a Spanish speaking class was certainly there - and needed - but who would be willing to take on the role? Then I met brother Edwin Martinez who was enthusiastically searching for a way he could get connected and begin helping in church. At this time I took the opportunity to ask him if he would be willing to help me with the Sabbath school class. His eyes lit up and he graciously accepted to help because it provided him with an opportunity to serve. At this time we have a thriving Spanish speaking Sabbath School class that began with about 10 members and at times has surged to 20. 
A couple of weeks ago, brother Martinez came to me and shared with me that the Spanish speakng Sabbath School class wanted to have a fellowship breakfast on Sabbath morning with Hispanic food and warm fellowship. The purpose was to build relationships and bring the group closer. We agreed to the idea and last Sabbath we came together and had a wonderful time. We talked, laughed, and enjoyed our fellowship together. It was certainly a wonderful experience and it definitely brought the group closer together and as a result, we decided to come up with additional plans to do more. They also desire to be active in ministry opportunities at Sligo and to be part of the greater church community. I look forward to seeing this new group grow and be actively involved in the wonderful diverse church we now call our family. 
This is only one story in a church of 3,000 stories. I can’t wait to worship in heaven with a diverse group of saints, I hope you are as well.


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