Maria de Guadalupe
“Cultural Celebration Beyond Religion”
Raised as a protestant in a Pentecostal church, our Lady of Guadalupe celebration was not one I attended. My father’s side of the family which is Catholic would often go to a festival, but I did not participate. My up-bring simply saw this expression of faith as a Catholic thing. My father would usually tell the story of how our Lady of Guadalupe. According to tradition, Mary appeared to Juan Diego, who was an Aztec convert to Christianity, on December 9 and again on December 12, 1531. She requested that a shrine to her be built on the spot where she appeared, Tepeyac Hill (now in a suburb of Mexico City). The bishop demanded a sign before he would approve construction of a church, however. Mary appeared a second time to Juan Diego and ordered him to collect roses. In a second audience with the bishop, Juan Diego opened his cloak, letting dozens of roses fall to the floor and revealing the image of Mary imprinted on the inside of the cloak—the image that is now venerated in the Basilica of Guadalupe. Our family in Mexico will attend the Basilica on December 12 and join thousands of people to honor her in gratitude for what she did for our indigenous brothers and sisters.
Our Lady of Guadalupe’s role in Mexican history is not limited to religious matters; she has played an important role in Mexican nationalism and identity. During a religious revival in Mexico in the late 19th century, preachers declared that the foundation of Mexico could be dated to the time of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, because she freed the people from idolatry and reconciled the Spanish and indigenous peoples in a common devotion.
In all the years I have been doing ministry among my Latino brothers and sisters I have come to understand how connected we all are to the story of Mary. Our celebration is in veneration of the one who is known as the mother of Jesus, who said ”Yes” to Holy Spirit and remained faithful through it all. It is our believe that Mary of Guadalupe saw and understood the oppression taken place at that time and took an active participation in the protection of the oppressed. As a mother protecting her child, Guadalupe continues to understand the struggles and oppression of the culture which I represent, Hispanics, caused by the evils of power.
Following the Mexica tradition and honoring the role that Maria de Guadalupe has in the expression of faith of our people, on the evening of December 11, Promise UCC would love to share this great celebration with you. We are a United Church of Christ, a multiracial and multi-language congregation which takes seriously the faith and traditions of the members and community. We are a progressive open and affirming community that welcomes all to participate and partake from the table of grace. This is a cultural experience with Mariachi band, Aztec dancers, procession, prayers and different expressions of faith which are unique to each individual. We invite fellow clergy to robe and join the procession and be a part of our bilingual service.
Now more than ever we invite our brothers and sisters to come in solidarity with our DACA dreamers, our immigrants, our Latino brothers, and sisters who are suffering the effects of the immigration system. After our service, we will share a meal in the fellowship hall with tamales and champurrado (Hot Mexican chocolate). Please join us and be a part of this celebration.
We will start gathering at 6:30 p.m. to start the procession at 7:00. For more information please free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asst. Pastor at Promise UCC
Submitted by Rev. Dr. Alberto Magana, Promise UCC, Dallas, TX
Immigration continues to increase. Immigrants come to our churches with something uniquely theirs: “Their culture.” The common thinking is that immigrants should learn the ways and adapt to the culture of the country they immigrate to; however, this does not necessarily happen. Culture is an integral part of the life of an individual. Therefore, once immigrants become a part of a congregation, the congregation becomes multicultural whether members recognize it or not.
A multicultural worship service is a combination of different languages, features, symbols, and cultural expressions. One chief characteristic of multicultural worship is variety of music, format, participants, style, visuals, and languages. Our world is becoming an increasingly interrelated community. Churches in metropolitan areas especially notice people from various countries and cultural backgrounds attending worship and becoming a part of the church community.
Whether or not we are big fans of diversity, the fact is we are experiencing more and more of it. And it comes in all forms: a greater range of entertainment options, a wider selection of foods at the supermarket, more car companies and models than ever before, more ethnic restaurants and the list goes on. Some people are enthusiastic about this increase in diversity. They see the richness of the difference as something that benefits us all. The mix of cultures and races and opinions provide opportunities to learn from others and grow together in understanding.
But others are not ready to party. Instead of finding reason for joy, some find reason for fear and insecurity and even hostility. Diversity has led to division: political, racial, gender, cultural and economic division. The Church is called to be a Christ-centered community of diversity. Its very life proclaims the power of God to overcome the divisions that set people against each other. The Church is to live as a people touched by God’s grace and no longer defined by the divisions that plague the world. Too often the divisions of the world are brought right into the church. Instead of reflecting the light of Christ, we mirror the broken world. Women are discriminated against, racial segregation persists and whenever an international conflict arises, those in the church are frequently uncritical cheerleaders for our nation’s side in the hostility. But on top of all that, the church has its own problems with diversity.
Differences in practice and opinion become occasions for distrust and fragmentation and at the end, people leave the church because they are unable to understand why some rituals and different practices needed to be celebrated. The United church of Christ is one of the denominations that allows us to incorporate cultural elements and traditions which are meaningful for the congregants. For us, respecting the differences and celebrating unity in diversity has been one of our strongest values and we should be so grateful for that beautiful gift.
I believe that God desires to have each one of us working together by allowing us to share our gifts and talents. We are all different, but we can be united because Jesus Christ bound us together as the beautiful family of God. Promise UCC in Dallas has witnessed what it means to have a diverse congregation. This Multicultural Celebration helped us to claim our own identity as individuals but also to recognize that we are different. It was a blessing to be able to incorporate into worship different cultural rituals which were meaningful for the congregants like dances, traditional customs, offerings, and symbols. We included elements from Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, African-American, Native American and Caucasian.
At Promise UCC we are making room for the words that Jesus prayed for His people saying, “I ask … that they may all be one … so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.” Differences are not going to just fade away in society or in church. So what can we do? What can we do to live with our differences in a way that honors Christ and is good for the church?
I invite you and invite myself, to recognize that there is sometimes more than one right way to think, to behave, to celebrate and to connect with our understanding of God. The choice is not always between right and wrong, white, brown, yellow or black. God is equally honored by vegetarians as by people who eat meat. Let us welcome one another and celebrate each person as a gifted human being who has been created by the same God. We need to recognize that no one of us, and no single group of people like us, can stand alone. We need each other to do what God calls us to do in this grieving world filled with hate, division and pain caused either by political disagreements or by natural disasters.
Multicultural worship is one alternative if a congregation wants to include immigrant people and their culture in its life. Multicultural worship is also an excellent opportunity for worshipers to bond together. To make successful multicultural worship happen, three basic elements require attention. They are language, cultural expressions, symbols and visuals. Without getting away from the guidelines of Worship, it is possible to have a meaningful multicultural worship services simply by keeping these elements in mind.
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Promise UCC is committed to building a team-ministry model investing in the lives of those around us and empower them to function more effectively within their strengths, gifts, and passion.
Let's recognize the hard work of all these congregants who are committed to the mission of Promise UCC!
Armando Huerta- Designer & Decorator
Debra Welch - Minister of Adult Faith Formation
Yadi Martinez - Associate Pastor
Don Simpson - Deacon
Evan - Music Director
Greg Ferguson - Hospitality
Jessie and Rosie Martinez- Stewards
Joseph Cummings - Designer & Web Master
Larry Griffin - Media Director
Marco Montoya - Assistant to the Music Director and Orchestrations
Maria Dolores Martinez - Hospitality
Thomas Soto - Director of Community Outreach
Jean Walker- Facebook Marketer
Jesus Flores - Deacon
Joe Perez - Hospitality
Joshua- Media Technician
Kaige Jackson - Lector
Kee Jackson - Volunteer Coordinator
Rodrigo Duran - LibrarianSergio Herrera - Choir
Uriel Padilla - Choir
Celebrating together the gift of "Diversity" as we worship in an intercultural world. This multicultural worship service was a combination of different languages (English, Spanish and Navajo), featured, symbols, and cultural distinctive with a variety of music, format, participants, style, and visuals. This worship experience shad the purpose to serve people who come from different countries and cultural backgrounds.
Join us to Celebrate together the gift of "Diversity" as we worship in an intercultural world. This multicultural worship service will be a combination of different languages (English, Spanish and Navajo), features, symbols, and cultural distintives with a variety of music, format, participants, style, visuals and languages. This worship experience seeks to serve people who come from different countries and cultural backgrounds. Te invitamos a celebrar juntos el "Domingo Intercultural" dando gracias a Dios por el Don de la Diversidad. En este mundo de division te invitamos a celebrar la "Unidad" reconociendo la diferencia cultural.
Join us to Celebrate together the gift of "Diversity" as we worship in an intercultural world. Te invitamos a celebrar juntos el "Domingo Intercultural" dando gracias a Dios por el Don de la Diversidad Cultural.
May God Bless our teachers, students, administrators, and families.
We hope you join us Sunday the 20th of August at 11 a.m. for a service dedicated to all those returning to school.
Te invitamosa nuestro servicio para la bendición de nuestros estudiantes y todos los que regresan a la escuela.
South Central Conference of the United Church of Christ
Submitted by Yadi Martinez, Promise UCC, Minister of Programming and Faith Formation
Promise United Church of Christ, an open an affirming congregation located in Dallas, TX, is committed to supporting the “Three Great Loaves” initiative, introduced by General Minister and President, John C. Dorhauer. The tenets of this initiative include, “…a call to the love of children, to the love of neighbor and to the love of creation.” One such mission project is the support of Navajo children in Tuba City, AZ. This city became a safe area for the Navajo people impacted by the 1966 Bennett Freeze act enacted by the government. The Bennet Freeze act was intended to settle a dispute between the Hopi and Navajo people by freezing the land in question. This act came with the unfortunate consequence that people living in Tuba City could not receive assistance, receive aid to repair their homes, have electricity, or running water. In 2009, President Obama lifted the freeze, yet neither change or assistance have come to those in the affected areas. The people of Promise UCC were made aware of the history, people, and needs in Tuba City, by our congregant, Kaige, a Navajo citizen himself.
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