Excerpts from the email of the Rev. Canon Ian Harper, Vicar of Ladywood: St John’s and St Peter’s Church Area Dean of Central Birmingham, United Kingdom to inspire your support:
To the beloved Pastor Reverend Karen Hernandez-Granzen and people of God at Westminster Presbyterian Church Trenton, New Jersey
I cannot begin to express the joy and sheer gratitude having worshipped with you albeit for one service back in October. The God of all people is LOVE and you all incarnate God’s amazing generous and inclusive love in Christ. The love of the gathered people at Trenton embraces you as soon as you walk through the door- a love expressed in the cultural and gender diversity and of generations worshipping learning and having fun together. This is truly AUTHENTIC and the work of the Holy Spirit.
I deliberately sought out Trenton as a church to visit as part of my sabbatical in the USA this autumn. I am an Anglican Priest pastoring a large inner city Parish in Birmingham UK in which we have over 20 nationalities worshipping together in the church where I am Vicar: St John’s and St Peter’s Ladywood. As a growing intercultural and intergenerational church seeking to bring hope to our divided communities especially since Brexit, I wanted to learn from you something about your faith journey and incarnational ministry and the ways it impacts the community.
I was familiar with Reverend Karen’s narrative in the book “Intercultural Ministry-Hope for a changing world.” And her chapter “the kin-dom coming in the joyful worship of the God of all people.” I strongly believe that God calls us to work together as the Body of Christ to bring mutually flourishing and shalom especially in inner urban neighbourhoods.
The section in Karen’s narrative “transforming into an intercultural worshipping community takes chronos and Kairos” really impacted on me on my visit. The church has just celebrated its 120th anniversary on 6th October- during the worship we saw a power point illustrating some of its outreach ministries and the testimonies of people whose lives have been changed and transformed through the presence and ministry of the church. It is so important we both celebrate and remember signs of the Kin-dom- Kairos breaking in on chronos! Our worship must continually reflect this and it was a joy to see the narratives of people who otherwise would have no voice or recognition, being heard, loved and valued! Gracias!
Ministry in such places as Trenton is costly, and the financial generosity of friends’ donors as well as the beloved community just cannot be underestimated. Churches like Trenton are a prophetic sign of hope to the “yet to be United Sates of America” [Maya Angelou] as we live out the Pentecost vision of the Kin-dom of God!
Muchisimas Gracias for prayerfully considering supporting Westminster’s vital Urban Intercultural, Open & Affirming, Social Justice, and Racial Reconciliation ministry!
Please make your tax deductible donation online by clicking below. Please make your tax deductible donation via checks to Westminster Presbyterian Church. Mail to: PO Box 3719, Trenton, NJ 08629. Your contribution will make sure that Westminster’s ministry and missional programs continue Seeking the Shalom of the City of Trenton and beyond! Suggested donations: $25 $50 $100 over $100