Maggie Foote, shares her experience of growing a new community of faith in Forest Park and the wonder of inviting people to co-create a community walking in the way of Jesus and the questions that emerge through the process.
Recently, I went to the Christian bookstore around the corner from the Latino Ministry Center to buy some communion wafers, and as I was perusing the very limited Spanish language section of the store, I came across a small wooden plaque that said:
“Nuestra familia vamos a… amar y aceptar uno al otro; orar uno para el otro; decir la verdad uno al otro; ser amables uno con el otro; brindar alegría uno al otro; servir uno al otro; ser paciente uno con el otro; consolar uno al otro; perdonar uno al otro; ser generosos uno con el otro; honrar uno al otro.”
Which means: “In our family, we’re going to… love and accept one another; pray for one another; tell the truth to one another; be kind to one another; share joy with one another; serve one another; be patient with one another; console one another; forgive one another; be generous with one another; honor one another.”
I decided to buy it because we don’t have a lot of decor around the church, and certainly not too many things in Spanish apart from informational signs. Once, I bought it though, I didn’t really know what to do with it. Where should I put it? Should I host a conversation about what it says and if we agree to it? Am I taking this community thing too far? Do the members of the Latino Ministry really see themselves as a community, or am I trying to force it? So, I settled on just putting it on a table near the entrance of the building and just seeing what happened. No one mentioned it to me or said anything about if they liked it, or hated it for that matter. So I never brought it up and figured that maybe I would just put it in my office or something if it’s not speaking to our community.
That following weekend, some of the members got together to come in on a Saturday to clean up a little around the church in preparation for an upcoming worship service. When I returned to work that Monday, to my surprise, I found the plaque displayed in a place of honor on the bulletin board right inside the entrance to the church, and hung up around it were a few pictures of our community from the past year or so.
Things are changing at the Latino Ministry Center, the way that we see ourselves is changing, and we are starting to call on one another to begin to live up to the standards of Christian community. Will this plaque be our guiding light as we begin to respond to the call of the Spirit and live life together? Maybe. Maybe not. What’s important about this moment in our life as a church is that we are starting to ask that question. What does it look like to live as a people committed to following the way of Jesus as a community?