“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”

-Martin Luther King Jr. (Strength to Love, Harper & Row, 1963, p. 14)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Supia, Colombia, Part 3

The Union Misionera Church building in Supia sits straight along a small inclined street in a busy section of town.  Most of the building is comprised of worship sanctuary of about 30 by 40 feet with small classrooms, restrooms and a very nice, recently finished, kitchen all in the back.  But the Union Misionera de Supia congregation is not the building, it is all about it's people who are engaging the world around them.  In fact, even the building is clearly designed to serve the people which is seen in the little fish storefront connected to the building (in the picture right, we are standing in the shop door).  One of the ministries of the church is in the area of micro-business.  They are keenly aware of the need to be about developing opportunities to sustain families.

The congreation's biggest entrepreneurial endeavor to date is an investment in one family's fish business.  This family farms fish for eating and for aquariums.  The family has grown to the point of operating a number of sites where they farm the fish, a restaurant where they serve fried fish (very delicious), and the little store selling fish and aquariums.  They are starting to handle tropical birds also.

There is a clear sense of pride on the face of Pastor Jhon Fredy when he speaks of the people of the church and their involvements in the community.  From the award-winning coffee farmer, to the young man who came into the church after serving in the military, they each have a story and their pastor is not shy about telling it.

In the back end of a Land Cruiser we rode around the mountain side community of Supia visiting fincas, eating and hearing the stories of the beautiful people of Union Misionera de Supia.  We were accompanied at each stop by a farm truck loaded in back with the young adults of the congregation.  It is clear to me that while these folks enjoy their gatherings for worship, however, the true stuff of the church is in how they are living in the world.

On the first day of our visit Jhon Fredy took us to meet the town's mayor, a kind-faced, older catholic man who was very willing to tell us about his role and responsibilities.  Actually, he spent a lot of the time apologizing for what he has not yet been able to do since he is struggling to bring some integrity to  finishing someone else's term.  As the conversation in the mayor's office was concluding, Jhon Fredy asked me to offer a prayer for the mayor, and I did.  I have to wonder, if the shoe was on the other foot, and he were visiting my congregation, would I take him to meet and pray for Mayor Kauffman?

Our visit with the mayor of Supia indicates the expected scope of ministry for Jhon Fredy and his congregation.  Because of Jhon Fredy and his congregation's lobbying with the mayor and city council, the town now celebrates an annual day of peace complete with a peace parade (Pan y Paz) which coincides with United Nations International Day of Peace.  Might it be that we in North America have, in our lust for separation of church and state, forfeited our voice?


Barbara said...

I am your biggest fan.

Barbara said...

I am still your biggest fan.