“I think everyone agrees that the day and the event together were meaningful and intended by God.”
Pastors Doug Kamstra (left) and Juan Vasquez.
That is how elder Paul Triemstra of Milwood Christian Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, Mich. summed up a worship service with both the Milwood congregation and Upper Room Church, the Hispanic congregation that shares Milwood’s facility.
The worship was especially significant, Triemstra noted, because the service was conducted in both Spanish and English and occurred on Pentecost Sunday with “everyone hearing the Word in their own language.”
For approximately two years the two congregations worshiped separately in the same building, but in an effort to participate more with other churches in their community, Milwood’s Vision Committee suggested such a combined worship service.
Milwood’s worship director Wes Gunst and interim pastor Doug Kamstra organized the service with Upper Room’s pastor Juan Vasquez. On Pentecost, with the Holy Spirit powerfully present, the two congregations worshiped together in their shared love for Jesus Christ.
According to Triemstra, hearing audible “amens” throughout the service, observing and experiencing a very expressive and responsive worship style, and bringing offerings to the plates in the front of the sanctuary rather than placing them into plates passed down the pews all contributed to a broader perspective on worship.
The shared meal that followed the worship service did much to unite the two groups as well. As Triemstra put it, “I think community has been built up”—unity within diversity.”