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Festival of Churches Celebrates Diversity and Inclusion

The fifth annual Festival of Churches was an occasion to celebrate diversity and inclusion in Christian Reformed churches and ministries in Holland, Mich. Around 350 people, representing 19 churches, attended the classis-wide worship service on February 26.

Residents of My Brother’s House and My Sister’s House offer a song of praise.

Photo by Steve Lotkhamnga

The event is an “opportunity to experience an expression of worship arts from various cultural backgrounds and to hear testimonies that involve situations of inclusion,” said Jeff Meyer, pastor of Crosswinds Community CRC and chair of the classis’s Diversity Team.

The event also focuses on inclusion of people with disabilities. “The aim is to celebrate inclusion as that’s experienced in local churches,” he said.

A wide range of worship expressions were part of the service. Ruben Rodriguez of Imagine Fellowship CRC shared a hip-hop rap. Traditional Cambodian and Laotian dances were performed by youth from Cambodian Fellowship CRC and Lao CRC.

Residents of My Brother’s House and My Sister’s House, CRC-supported group homes for adults with developmental disabilities, provided music and also participated in the praise band.

Two women shared personal testimonies dealing with inclusion and cultural differences. Maria Guevara (through a translator) expressed her gratitude for the hospitality she and her family have experienced at Faith CRC since immigrating from Latin America.

Kim Hanson, of Bravo Community (Fennville) CRC, shared about the racial prejudice she witnessed growing up in Kentucky, where some of her relatives were members of the Ku Klux Klan. In spite of this, because of her grandmother, Hanson learned to value diversity.

Michelle Engbers, of Faith CRC, enjoyed the event. “It was a great reminder that God created us all different, and our differences beautifully reflect our Creator in our worship.”

After the service, people enjoyed fellowship, sampled ethnic foods, and explored table displays about a variety of local diversity-related ministries.

“This is an important event for the entire CRC faith community,” said Angela Taylor-Perry, pastor of reconciliation at Faith CRC. “The Holland Classis Diversity Team is in a position to provide profound leadership towards helping [people] become agents for change.”

About the Author

Susan Vanden Berg is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Holland, Michigan.

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