When church and cultures meet

When church and different cultures meet, it is then that Christians get a true glimpse of the Kingdom of God. This past Sunday, October 25, St. James (also know as Iglesia Episcopal de Santiago), Oakland, had another gratifying time — sharing the gifts of the local community with others.

In the morning members of St. James started with worship as well as diaconal work of service. Canon Stefani Schatz participated in the Spanish speaking Mass and afterwards gathered with the leaders from the church to talk about leadership and ministry. At the same time, in the church kitchen lunches were being prepared for Sacred Space, a ministry that serves the homeless in Oakland. During morning Mass, Dessordi Leite, the priest-in-charge, announced with joy that the Alameda County Food Bank is recommending St. James Food Pantry to take on the feeding programs for the City of Oakland. This is an honor after three successful years of distributing food through the St. James feeding ministry.

In the afternoon, St. James / Santiago received brothers and sisters from across the diocese and together worked on understanding the importance of the Days of the Dead celebrations for communities that are culturally diverse. The work was developed in the form of workshops where people built symbols and imagery for ofrendas (altars of the dead).

The participants came from different cultural backgrounds, all with an interest to learn about one particular popular devotion that is becoming relevant for many California residents. There were adults, young people, and children in attendance and working together; Latinos, Native Americans, Afro-Americans, Mexican-Americans and Anglo descendants conversing in their different languages through the day. It is truly a contemporary feast of Pentecost.

Additional photos are available on Google Photos.

Photos: Melissa Ridlon, Sam Dessordi; used by permission.