On diversity…

January.16.2012

[Context: A group of 40 people were at camp this weekend from a church in the Milwaukee area. This is the conversation I had today before breakfast with the pastor’s wife, Linda. These moments in the dining hall before anyone else arrives tend to be amazing.]

Me: Good morning!

Linda: Good morning. How are you?

Me: I’m good. Just struggling to get this fire going. You and your husband just came in last night, right?

Linda: Yes. He feels it’s important to be in the pulpit, so we had to wait until service was over.

Me: Well, I’m sure the people here appreciate it. Not a lot of pastors would make that time after a full day on Sunday.

Linda: Oh, we enjoy it.

Me: How big is your church?

Linda: The building is about 3,800 square feet but our attendance is about 100 people soaking wet.

Me: Really? Considering the diversity of this group I thought it was a much larger church. Even in this group, it seems like you have every race, age and demographic covered.

Linda: We are really blessed. We have been at the church for 20 years now and when we first started we prayed that we would be a church of diversity.

Me: I think that one was answered. We have a lot of different groups come here, but usually they are all the same cultural background. I mean, in Wisconsin it’s mostly the same caucasian crowd every time, but occasionally we serve hispanic, korean and hmong groups as well. It is rare to see it all intermixed so completely like your group.

Linda: It wasn’t always this way. Over time we had a few families join that had adopted children of different races and it let visitors realize that this was a place where this was a part of who we are.

Me: That’s wonderful and kind of sad.

Linda: Sad?

Me: It’s sad that it means there are places they might not be a part of a church because they are different.

Linda: Yes. That’s why we were praying. [warm smile] We pray for your family often too. Your little kids are just precious but we know you probably sacrifice a lot by being out here.

Me: Thank you. That means a lot to me. Getting to visit with groups like yours is what keeps us going. I love that my kids get to see so many different people even though we live way out here.

[Conclusion: From there, she carried on with setting tables and I continued to struggle making a fire in the fireplace. I didn’t remember until later that it was Martin Luther King Day. It was good to hear that diversity can occur in a church not out of some false intention or feeling of obligation, but instead of a pastor’s earnest prayers to serve everyone with the love and grace of Christ. I need to have a heart like this whenever I have multiple groups at camp that I desire to see live and fellowship together during their time at this place.]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: