Numerous new communities of faith have begun in Iowa, worshipping God in their native languages from Spanish to Chuukese and more.
A “Pentecost group” of leaders from many of these communities of faith met last Friday and Saturday in Des Moines for a discussion about ministry partnerships. They coined the name for themselves based on the Pentecost story from Acts 2, when people gathered from all over the world to worship God.
One of their hopes for the day was to discover their unity in diversity by the Holy Spirit. They witnessed to this experience by sharing prayers, songs, and scriptures in many languages throughout the weekend.
They discovered new relationships among people from many different parts of the world who have settled in Iowa. A group from the Micronesian island of Chuuk now worships in Atlantic, for example. Immigrants from Burundi and the Congo are among the Africans that have settled in some of our Iowa cities. At least two groups of Burmese refugees from Myanmar worship regularly in Marshalltown and Columbus Junction.
Participants were led by Dave Odom and Cheryl Stokes from the Faith and Leadership educational program at the Duke University Divinity School. Several Iowa Conference groups provided funds from apportionment gifts to make this gathering possible, including the Commission on Religion and Race.