Calvary Baptist Church finds unity in diversity

Saturday, April 3, 2010

We greatly appreciated the pictures that accompanied the article on unified services for English and Spanish speakers at Calvary Baptist Church ["Seeking prayers that speak to all," Metro, March 28] that showed us worshiping together, old and young, male and female, and Anglo, African, Burmese and Latino American. However, the article did not paint an accurate picture of our church family.

Our English-speaking members see welcoming our Spanish-speaking members not as a burden but as a blessing for our community. Unfortunately, this article did not include the perspectives of English-speaking congregants who welcome the changes in our worship service as an expression of our commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some corrections: It was not "misery for all" nor did complaints rage when we added some Spanish in our worship service. While some of our members struggled with that change, the vast majority embraced this as a tangible way to welcome our newer Latino members. Some of our newest members (both Anglo and Latino) joined our church because of our diversity as expressed in the use of Spanish in worship.

In addition to worshiping as one congregation, we act as one community: Members of all backgrounds met in a recent series of neighborhood meetings, turned out more than 40-strong at the March 21 rally for immigration reform, journeyed to El Salvador and contributed to a long-standing scholarship for students from our sister churches there. And we have Latino members who have served on all church boards and on the church council.

Change is not always comfortable, but this church family integrated racially in the 1950s and never looked back. We called a woman as senior pastor in 2002.

This newest change is true to our understanding of what it means to be a Gospel people.

Amy Dale, Washington

The writer is moderator of Calvary Baptist Church.

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