U-C: What I See

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

New Immigrant Fellowships

Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend time with a gathering of the leaders of New Immigrant Fellowships from across the country. I confess that six months ago, I couldn’t have told you what a new immigrant fellowship was (although I probably could have guessed if someone had asked me). However, I’ve been learning that this is one of the most exciting things happening in our denomination.

There are hundreds of groups of Presbyterians from other countries who have banded together in their new communities here in the U.S. to begin bible studies and worship groups. Often, they begin with just a handful of people, and within a year or two they’ve grown to include dozens – sometimes hundreds – more members. This is, to my way of thinking, a pretty close approximation to the way the early church would have looked.

Often, as they grow, these fellowships are seeking homes in well-established Presbyterian churches. Where it works best, there has been lots of interaction between the two worshiping bodies, and the older, more established churches are finding new life.

I could sure see that life when I arrived at the conference in Atlanta last Friday night. As I arrived, the Africans had just finished dancing, the Pakistanis were dancing and singing up on stage, and the Brazilians had us all up – and pumped up – by the end of the night. These brothers and sisters from around the world are a new wind blowing in the Presbyterian Church.

If you haven’t already done so, find out if there’s one near you and ask if you could visit. I guarantee you’ll be welcomed with open arms, and this is one border that it is well worth crossing.

With dreams of a vibrant, multi-cultural church,