Updated: May 7
When I accepted the invitation to write a blog for Gloria Dei’s web page, I decided to write my first entry using the church’s promotional card that I edited and had deigned, entitled, We Celebrate Community, Diversity, Justice and Peace. I created the text for the card believing that these four virtues were the Biblical values the GD church seeks to promote in the world.
We are a multilingual congregation. This is one of the first things a visitor to a GD worship service notices – prior to the Coronavirus lockdown. This is one reason my wife, Gwen, and I decided become part of Gloria Dei church. I feel I am closer to the kingdom of God when in the midst of people of different races, languages, and cultures. : “You are no longer strangers and aliens but citizens and members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:19)
We accompany immigrants. Gloria Dei church has a major ministry for immigrants carried out by Keila Rodriguez, who accompanies immigrants in court, and finds immigration lawyers, who provide legal help for those threatened by deportation, who very often provide legal help pro bono (free). One story sticks in my mind.
A Chinese immigrant imprisoned in the privately owned Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, RI, was very ill. His cell mate begged the prison authority to provide him medical help, but they did nothing. The immigrant died!
“Do not mistreat aliens or oppress them for you were aliens in Egypt.” (Exodus 22:21)
We support workers in their struggle. A recently renovated hotel near the church spoke to Pastor Santiago about jobs they could offer members of the church, which the pastor was glad to tell the people about. But then the workers began to report about unsafe working conditions, unhealthy long hours and low wages. The Gloria Dei Church offered the workers space where they could meet to organize a union. “You serve your own interests and oppress all your workers.” (Isaiah 58:3)
We stand with activists for peace. There is an ecumenical group of 20-25 people that has been gathering since the Vietnam War in a church In Kingston at 7:30 AM for Communion, prayer, discussion of the Gospel and breakfast. Gwen and I were part of this group until we moved to Riverside. The group now meets virtually at 8:00 AM, Tuesdays.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
This card was made for giving to people, but in these days of social distancing, you can obtain copies and email them to friends and others. Would someone volunteer to have the correct time of the virtual service put on the card?
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