Saturday, April 4
Presbytery of Donegal
Think of it as a “collaboratory”—three different cultures discovering together what it means to worship side by side in the same building.
An aging Anglo congregation, Bethany Church in Lancaster, was struggling with shrinking membership and funds. Yet it had a spacious building ina promising neighborhood and had discovered the blessing of partnershipby creating a nest for an Oromo Ethiopian fellowship.
The two congregations had found a few opportunities to join for worship or meals and were building connections amid their diversity. And when Donegal’s Latino fellowship, Iglesia Resurrección, needed a new home, the vision expanded.
Bethany again opened its heart for another group to come to live with them. How would this work? There are three languages, three worship styles, three kinds of music, three cuisines. Open hearts and flexible leadership helped resolve concerns about worship schedules and space. The staff includes a part-time covenant pastor for the Anglos, a commissioned ruling elder for the Latinos, and a newly installed Oromo pastor.
Mutual planning enables the groups to live together in harmony. They come together for World Communion, Advent, and Pentecost, when praise, prayer, and the Word flow out in three languages. Food from each group gives shared meals a mix of wonderful flavors, and deepening relationships enhance this wonderfully diverse group of fellow disciples.
God’s blessings continue to unfold in this amazing configuration at Bethany Church, one of 52 congregations in the Presbytery of Donegal.
—Nan Best, commissioned ruling elder and equipper for vital congregations, Presbytery of Donegal
Let us join in prayer for
Rev. Dr. Erin S. Cox-Holmes, executive presbyter
Rev. Dr. William J. Netting, stated clerk emeritus
Rev. Dr. Michael R. Wilson, associate stated clerk
CRE Nan Best, equipper for vital congregations
Susan Harner, business administrator
Christine A. Wells, executive administrative assistant
Ruling Elder Amy Wade, director, Camp Donegal
Rev. Daniel Snyder, coach for emerging ministries
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Steven Falk, PMA
Michael Fallon, BOP
Let us pray
Creator God, we give thanks for opportunities to embrace the diversities among humankind. May this collaboratory be a place where the community finds your unconditional love. Let their light shine with your grace. Amen.