The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
“Having a Spanish service helps me to remember my roots and share it with my kids.”
Ana Becerra, mission developer at Cristo Rey, can still remember the time a member of the congregation said these words to her. “Families from El Salvador, Mexico, and Ecuador have found a place to worship without leaving behind who we are,” Becerra explains.
Cristo Rey is a new mission start worshiping out of Christ the King, New Brighton. Made up of Spanish speaking individuals and recent immigrants, members find relief in the good news of the Bible. "Our history is so similar to the immigrants in the Bible," Becerra tells me. “Worshiping in our mother tongue covers the hole in our hearts from having so many loved ones miles away – we praise the Lord in our language and it brings healing.”
But in addition to being their own congregation, Cristo Rey is also an affirming part of the community at Christ the King. The two congregations come together for joint services and events, including a Las Posadas Christmas Pageant and making piñatas at the annual block party.
The partnership between the two congregations is mutual, offering sustainability and empowerment to both. “Cristo Rey is a movement of the Holy Spirit offering renewal to the entire [Christ the King] congregation, nudging us to catch the vision and accompanying us in our decisive (if cautious) steps towards becoming a multicultural congregation,” the Rev. Peter Hanson affirms.
Both congregations have been strengthened by the partnership. “Without leaving who we are behind," Becerra reflects, "we also find out that we are not so different.”