written by Francisco Herrera, a ThM student at LSTC
The events held for the Pero Multicultural Center* this past week (both the ‘Cacophony!’ benefit for the Center as well as the lecture/conversation on ‘Leading Multicultural Congregations’) were powerful for me in two primary ways. Firstly, because my work for the Pero Center has been some of the most grounding and rewarding work in all my years in seminary (I received my M.Div. from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2012) because having the church reflect the full spectrum of languages, cultures, musics, etc… has been at the solar plexus of my theological longings for many years. I came to Christ in a Lutheran Church in Geneva, Switzerland, but it was a church where the 200 some-odd people spoke over 40 different languages and came from almost as many countries. This kind of vitality not only showed me the true and global pull of the Gospel, but also exposed me to a dizzying array of music, dance, theological thought that one can find in the Christian church if you just look over your shoulder, around the door.
The other reason why my work for the center is so rewarding is because I LOVE being ‘in between.’ When you’re in between, you have the tension as well as the delight of seeing more than one side of culture and being moved by more than one side of culture. This has not only enriched the way I look at my life, but also given me a rather exhilarating chance to act as a bridge between different communities – and I am often called upon to translate (both linguistically and figuratively) between cultures. And it is in putting these two experiences together that the Pero Center has become so precious to me as I continue to follow the call in ways that show me how I can best be of service to the Church and the Gospel, as well as all the brothers and all the sisters I meet along the way.
*The Pero Multicultural Center’s hope and purpose is to bring together laity, students, theologians, and others to discuss and develop strategies that address basic questions and issues related to being a multicultural church. The goal of the Center is to be a resource for the whole church: local congregations, synods, seminary communities, and the churchwide expression. Click here to find out more about the Pero Multicultural Center at LSTC!