Reflections from First Presbyterian Church (Mt. Vernon, NY)

One God and Father of us all

“There is one body and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, One faith and one baptism, One God and Father of us all, who is over all, and through all, and in all”  Ephesians 4:4-6

On Tuesday evening, May 28, 2012 Pastor Marcio Periero and I sat in a healing service at First Presbyterian Church, Mt. Vernon. We were listening to a Brazilian speaker as he proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Portuguese language.  The interpreter was bilingual and she interpreted in English for those of us who could not understand Portuguese.  I took a quick look around the sanctuary because I wanted to see how those who had gathered were receiving the message in both languages.

What I saw was heartwarming! Members of the Brazilian congregation, New Life and members of the predominately Caribbean congregation of First Presbyterian were worshipping, singing, praying, listening, and saying “Amen” together.

From the onset of our meeting Pastor Marcio Periero, a dynamic, 40 something, on fire, energetic, completely sold out to Christ, Pastor of the Pentecostal New Life Church that nest in the FPC building, and I have desired to find various and creative ways that both congregations can worship and fellowship together. Although the two of us never used words like cross cultural or diversity, we knew that part of the challenge  of bringing the two congregations together was that our congregations were diverse, generationally, ethnically and even in some of our doctrinal beliefs.

Even still, the leadership of both churches has tried to model our desire to be connected by attending each other’s regularly scheduled services, speaking at training events, and sharing special meals together. Both of us have testified to the above scripture, that we all serve “One God, Father of us all” and we saw no reason why the two congregations could not gather  together  for times of fellowship, prayer and worship.

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So after a year of sharing, for two nights, May 28-29, 2012 our congregations came together. In a healing service where members of both congregations came forward for prayers for healing and anointing with oil, Pastor Marcio and I had the honor of praying for members of our congregations with no regard to the color of skin, ethnicity, or the name of the church from which they came.  I believe that in the bi-lingual, cross cultural worship experience, the Spirit of God truly made us one in the Spirit as we came to together to worship our One God, Father of us all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.

Grace abounds,

Rev. Betty

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