Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Celebrating Diversity

When you drive up to St. Anselm's of Canterbury in Garden Grove, you notice that there is something different on the Church sign(s). One church, many languages -- indeed, celebrating diversity is the theme!

The parish created a visioning team to interview members of the parish (the English speaking part of the congregation) to discern where the Spirit is moving among them. Why the English speaking part of the congregation? This group has been the core of the congregation since the inception of this church. The Spanish speaking part of the congregation is overseen by the Rector as well, but the Vietnamese and Korean speaking congregations have different Pastors and indeed different names.

Questions were asked of the congregation: What do we love about St. Anselm's? What are our strengths? What are our challenges? What can be improved? The team interviewed every member of the English speaking service, and the results and recommendations were presented tonight. Frank, open discussion ensued. Members of this parish are not afraid to speak the truth in love. Love, love is the key. The Rector, Fr. Wilfredo Benitez listened with an open heart and an open mind -- and a heart full of love.

Diversity works when we can speak the truth to each other in love, and when we can listen to each other with open hearts and minds. If we don't love one another, diversity cannot exist.

I wish my schedule permitted me to be with the people of St. Anselm's this Sunday as the results of the visioning process are unveiled (I won't spoil the surprise here). Needless to say I was very impressed with the visioning team, Fr. Wilfredo, and their commitment to this Parish!

I wonder how hearts will be stirred on Sunday....and how diversity will continued to be celebrated in this place commited to celebrating diversity.


  1. This is so moving to read about. Differences can seem so much less a barrier between us when we can speak about them openly.


  2. Thanks for sharing this. It was a true gift to have you with us. Please keep us in your prayers as we seek to become a viable 21st century parish. BTW, our Vietnamese ministry also goes by the name of St. Anselm's, along with the English and Latino congregations. The Korean Episcopal ministry goes by the name of Resurrection, but in many ways has integrated with the parish, and it seems we've arrived at a formula that works. It's all about LOVE at the end of the day, that's the God glue that binds us, and God willing, will move us forward.

    Blessings and Grace,