Stephen Martin had heard that the world was at his doorstep.
But he had no idea how right that statement was until his church hosted the 13th Annual Cultural Diversity Day Aug. 9 which brought about 250 people from various ethnic backgrounds together for a meal and service.
“Maybe this is what Pentecost is all about,” Martin said he shared with a member of his congregation at First Baptist Church in Kernersville where he is senior pastor. “We’re rookies at this. It’s one of those things you kind of learn as you go along.”
Why rookies? Because the church started working to plant a Hispanic congregation only two years ago.
The work, Iglesia Cristiana Nueva Vision, along with the Pilot Mountain Baptist Association Woman’s Missionary Union, helped plan and host the event.
Many years have been spent “fostering relationships between groups,” said Evelyn York Benfield, multicultural consultant for the associational WMU.
“I think it makes us realize we have more sameness … we have more likenesses than differences,” she said.
It also answers specific needs and prayers within the faith community. One of the pastors mentioned a need for help with a medical clinic. A nurse in the audience responded to that need.
“We are always thinking about the call to go to the world,” said Martin. “In that one moment we were enlightened that the world is coming to us. Everybody loved it.”
Martin called it a “unique experience” from a worship standpoint and a “truly memorable” event from an ecumenical viewpoint.
Starting in November, the associational ethnic pastors and their wives will be invited to a lunch at the Winston-Salem Korean congregation’s new facility.
“This work has been long and hard,” said Benfield, but she has been inspired by the steadfastness of the people.
The Korean congregation has been around about two decades but just built a building last year. They were eager to get involved, said Benfield.