The tension and tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri has been in the news and on our minds a lot lately. So has the immigration issue.
On Sunday, Sep. 14, I had a definitely “un-Ferguson” experience. I was at what the St. Paul Thai Church calls “One Afternoon on the Lawn.” In addition to the Thai congregation, Hope Tabernacle, an African American congregation, worships in the building at 7424 Dixon.
So, what you have in one building are two minority faith communities—one composed of the descendants of slaves and the other including many recent immigrants—worshiping at different times in a building, the cornerstone of which reads, “1899, Deutsche Evangelische Lutheranische Kirche!” At that time the Germans were the immigrants, and when they prayed they spoke auf Deutsch.
Every once in awhile the two faith communities meet together to have a truly multicultural worship service. That’s what happened on Sep. 14. Because both congregations want to reach out and become better known to the neighborhood, they set up 70 chairs on the lawn outside the white stucco building. What impressed me was the obvious affection that many Thais and African Americans have for each other.
It didn’t happen overnight. To paraphrase an old joke, “How many pastors does it take to change two light bulbs?” Answer: “Only two but the light bulbs have to want to change, and changing them takes a long time.”
I’ll let these pictures taken by Itthaphon Duangnapha do the talking.