Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?” Acts 2:5-8
Maria was a 9 year-old growing up in a colonia just outside of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. She spoke a few words in English. Katie was a rising senior at high school growing up in West U. She spoke a few words in Spanish. And somehow, working side-by-side on the same task, there was laughter and joy, connection and recognition. Most of us have had the experience of frustration with communication across difference. We cannot express ourselves the way we would like. We strain to make ourselves and our thoughts and intentions known to the other. Yet, we have probably also had sacred experiences of dialogue across difference when we have understood so much more than we thought we could – when we have wondered, “How is it that I am hearing this other person as if she is speaking my own language?”
These sorts of experiences of listening and communication across difference are what multicultural communities require to grow in love. So, I invite you to be part of an experiment that might just change the way you think about our Cathedral church.
This year, in the season after Pentecost, the Cathedral’s Latino Ministries and the Community Life Council invite you to try something that we have not done before here. On Wednesday nights, May 27 – June 24, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., youth and adults alike are invited to be part of a dialogue that pushes our diverse community into deeper communication. Whether you are a Spanish-speaker learning English, or an English-speaker learning Spanish, you are invited to sign up to be a part of the Pentecost Project. Over the course of five weeks, participants will come together in the Golding Chapel for bilingual worship at 6:00 pm, share a simple meal together, and engage in facilitated one-on-one and small group conversations to grow in their language skills and to form bonds with other members of our diverse Cathedral community. Members of the Costa Rica and San Antonio missions teams are especially encouraged to participate, but this intergenerational and intercultural opportunity is open to everyone.
The goal is not only language acquisition, although you will learn as you go. The goal is to gain confidence in your ability to open yourself up to connection with someone whose dominant language is different from your own. How often do we see our brothers and sisters in Christ at church and fail to greet them because we are afraid that we will fail to connect? Connection requires persistence and vulnerability. This will not be comfortable work, but it will be kingdom work.
Register through the Cathedral website or call The Rev. Eileen O’Brien by the Sunday of Pentecost, May 24.