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Lutheran church opens doors to Latino followers | Worship

 

Last updated 7/13/2016 at Noon

Arhiana Shek, the new pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, is reaching out to Spanish-speaking followers of Christ.

“Hola, la paz de Cristo,” may not be the first thing you would typically hear in a Lutheran church, but it is shared from the heart by the new pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Everett.

The Rev. Arhiana Shek has recently accepted a call to serve in a new and innovative outreach there.

Shek serves both the largely Scandinavian members of the congregation and their bold new partnership with the ELCA denomination as they reach out to the Spanish-speaking members of the community.

Raised in Colombia, she is glad to be here and to share her faith and first language.

She has been trained for specialized ministry as a mission developer and evenly divides her time between the traditional congregation and the new outreach project.

Shek has already begun developing relationships with local partners at Lutheran Community Service’s Familias Unidas and the Hand in Hand organization on Casino Road.

Up until a few generations ago, Lutherans in the United States have had a reputation for being ethnically steeped in the culture of Northern Europe.

There are names like Lundgren, Olsen, Anderson and Johansson in the church directory. We like to name our children “Kari” and “Bjorn.”

The people at Faith Lutheran, however, are trying something new. The have made themselves available as a kind of home base for a new congregation to develop.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” said Pete Kinch, former mayor of Everett and member of the church. “We hope it goes well.”

The Apostle Paul’s letter to the small congregation in Galatia so long ago, reads in part, “for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

The commitment of the members at Faith Lutheran Church is impressive.

There are no guarantees that this experiment will yield the desired outcome. There is no assurance that it will all work out with a feast of both lefse and tortillas served at a table shared between Scandinavians and Latino neighbors.

And yet, it is a compelling dream. God seems to be at work drawing people together in ways that would not have been possible before Shek’s arrival three months ago.

One thing seems clear, as the good news of God’s love for all people is celebrated by both Spanish- and English-speaking sisters and brothers in Christ, the church’s future is being reshaped, re-energized and rediscovered.

Whatever comes of this, all people of faith are enriched when culture, language and prayers are shared.

Shek will preach at Our Savior’s on Sunday, Aug. 14. It will be a chance to hear more about her work and the missional intentions of the people at Faith Lutheran Church.

David Parks is the lead pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Everett. The church is at 215 Mukilteo Blvd. For more information, go to http://www.oslc-everett.com.

 

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