The Spirituality of Diversity

In 1999 the Parish began a service for Spanish speakers. In 2008 the Parish was declared a Multicultural Church by the Diocese. In 2011 the Parish called the Rev. Jaime Case, their first bilingual priest, to be Rector of the Congregation. In 2015 the Parish was the site for placement of a Curate, a newly ordained priest, the Rev. Eliacin Rosario-Cruz, who is a Puerto Rican.

For a congregation to face up to the challenges of multicultural identity, it must have a 20% group of one particular ethnicity/language group/culture.* St. Luke’s and many other congregations have a scattering of people from many diverse backgrounds. One or two or less than 20% will not fully impact the consciousness of the Parish in such a way that causes the Parish to be self-conscious about being diverse.

Our average Sunday attendance in 2015 for all services is 243. Of that number, 96 attend the Spanish service that takes place at 1:00 pm, and so exceeds the 20% threshold that leads to fuller and richer engagement with the issue of the other.

SL2 began 2016 by coming together for Epiphany service on January 6, as English speaking and Spanish speaking members who walk in the same Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Again on January 10, we remembered our baptismal promises to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being in another bilingual, multicultural celebration. Such events are radical and prophetic.

The diversity in our community is a gift to be cherished. Our distinct and particular cultural make up add to the richness of our lives together as the members of the Body of Christ. What we have at SL2 is small piece of the larger expression of the Universal (catholic) Church.

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*”Thomas Pettigrew and Joan Martin argue that when minority groups reach 20% of an organizational population then the groups have reached a “critical mass.” They contend that when racial minorities are in numbers smaller than 20% they can be clustered into small low-status groups within the organization. But according to Pettigrew and Martin, 20% is a large enough percentage to allow minorities to be filtered throughout the organization. This observation legitimates the use of 20% as a cut off point (“Shaping the Organization Context for Black American Inclusion,” Journal of Social Issues 43 [1987]41-78,” quoted in George Yancey’s One Body on Spirit, p. 178).