Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Language Partnerships Take Off

It's all about relationship. Learning the basics of a new language. Getting acquainted with people of a different culture. Sharing your own culture. At La Vela Latino Center for Spiritual Care, our mission is to build community that transcends grammar, pronunciation and stereotypes. We bring together Spanish-speaking Latinos with English-speaking non-Latinos, neither of whom is fluent in the other language, and the fun begins. Both are teacher and student. Both bring gifts and needs. Both are transformed in the giving and receiving, as author Jean Varnier notes in his book, Spiritual Journeys:

I sense that a new spirituality is being born in the church today, flowing from the wounded hearts of the weak and broken who are crying out for friendship. This friendship is also a source of healing for those who answer their cry.

The relationships we build are the vehicles to extend another form of service: spiritual accompaniment to Latino immigrants in our area. This cadre of volunteers supports chaplain and pastor Kristina Johnson and former monk, Cesar Prada, who offer pastoral care, in Spanish, to local immigrants. The volunteers also provide transportation, childcare and assistance to Latinos who attend Monday evening exchange classes and mental health support groups run by the Mental Health Association in Greensboro.

Our language partnership exchange program takes place on Monday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at First Lutheran Church (corner of Holden and Friendly.) We also hold potluck suppers, worship opportunities, candlelight vigils, youth ministry and cultural broker trainings.

How would YOU like to be a part of La Vela? Tell us: 336-202-1627 or contact us by email (see below.)

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