By Nancy Diaz
As I sat and listened to APCE’s 2022 Annual Event speaker talk about our personal cloud of witnesses, I remembered those who took part in my own faith formation, los ancianos de la iglesia, the elders of the church. These were hard working, blue-collared, many newly immigrated or second generation Mexican-Americans who found community in the body of Christ, la iglesia.
They took the time every week to teach us about Jesus. They were the ones who showed up every Sunday and volunteered as Sunday School teachers, Vacation Bible School directors, Confirmation facilitators, and camp chaperones. They were the ones who taught us the song, the corito, Unidos.
En tu Nombre unidos
(In Your name, unite)
Pues en este mundo paz y amor tendremos
Pues en este mundo paz y amor tendremos.
(Peace and love we’ll have in this world)
Unidos, siempre unidos
(United, always united)
Tomándonos de las manos
(taking one another by the hands)
Iremos por el mundo cantándole a Dios
(We’ll go through the world singing to God)
La gloria de Jesús al fin resplandecerá
(The glory of Jesus will shine)
Y todo el mundo sabrá que Tú eres Dios
(And the world will know You are God)
“United in Your Name,” the corito says. The ancianos de la iglesia were a community of informally trained priests who were bold enough to share the concrete faith they experienced daily in a new country–in a country where they had dual identities, a country who wasn’t always kind to them, but a country they loved, nonetheless. They reached out to sister churches to support, learn, and educate one another. They worked hard to send the youth of the church to camps and conferences, so we too would understand the importance of community in Christ.
Such community is essential for small churches such as San Pablo + Trinity PC. We are blessed to be in community with various groups: the Presbytery of New Covenant’s Youth Connection Council, the Intercultural Youth Conference hosted by MoRanch, and our BIPOC sister churches, to name a few. Each relationship–each community–brings the glory of Christ to shine brighter when we are united.
Reach out, participate, be a part of the larger community, after all, shouldn’t we all want to be included in someone’s cloud of witnesses?
Y todo el mundo sabrá que Tú eres Dios.
Grateful to this particular community for allowing the Latino/a voice be heard. The story of our upbringing in the faith sounds familiar and yet tenderhearted. Thank you for naming our cloud of witness the “brave priests” ,