"He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water." Isaiah 49:10

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hispanic Christian Leaders in Denver Pray Against Racism

By Francisco Miraval

Dozens of Hispanic Christian leaders, as well as Christian leaders from different ethnicities and nationalities, and more than 200 brothers and sisters from several local congregations, gathered on Monday, May 5, during the evening at a church in west Denver to pray in unity for God’s intervention against racism and to confess and ask God’s forgiveness for the racism and the discrimination that still exist among Latinos and inside the churches.

“Only when we put the Kingdom of God’s culture above our own culture and language, only when we recognize and confess our own sin of racism, and only when we ask God for His supernatural intervention, only then there will be a solution to the immigration crisis in our country,” said Pastor Arturo Vargas, of Centro Cristiano Amistad, and member of the advisory board of National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC).

The meeting began with a meditation brought by Pastor Mario Mencos, of Ministerios Internacionales El Shaddai, where the event took place. After reading selected verses from Isaiah 60, Mencos urged the congregation to realize “we have our responsibility to build the Kingdom.”

Then, Pastor Jude del Hierro, of Confluence Ministries, led the congregation in a time of worship. And Pastor Dennis Rivera, District Superintendent of the Central Latin American District of the Assemblies of God (headquartered in Denver) spoke about “the reasons why we are here tonight.”

Rivera emphasized the need to acknowledge racism for what it is, a sin, and to acknowledge that “we, as Hispanics and as Christians, should confess and repent from the racism in our community and in our churches.”

Rivera also explained that earlier that same day, Christian men and women from the United States and from Mexico, representing many different races, prayed together at the international bridge between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, under the leadership of Dr. Cindy Jacobs, as a symbolic act of asking God to put an end to racism.

Pastor Michael Walker, of Church in the City, in Denver, brought the message from the Word of God. Walker, born in a Jewish family (his grandfather was a rabbi), spoke about Galatians 3:28, reminding the congregation that “we are one in Jesus Christ.”

Walker shared his own experience of being discriminated against, first for being a Jew and later, after accepting Christ as his Lord and Savior, by the Jewish people. But, he said, “He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.” (Ephesians 2:14)

Pastor Vargas then led the congregation during a time of prayer and consecration, asking publicly forgiveness for racism, discrimination, and ungodly attitudes Hispanics and Christian Hispanic people show against people from other ethnicities and nationalities.

Vargas asked Pastor Joseph Nsabimbona, originally from Burundi (Africa), and assistant pastor at Church in the City, to come to the pulpit and asked him to forgive the discrimination from Hispanics to African and African American people.

“Hispanic leaders made history today. It is a humbling experience to be here today,” Nsabimbona said.

Vargas then asked for forgiveness form Pastor Scott Carranza, of Crossroads of the Rockies, representing the White people; from Pastor Rivera, representing Mexican-American people; and from Pastor Walker, representing the Jewish people.

After an intense time of consecration with the whole congregation kneeling at the altar, asking for God’s forgiveness and for His guidance for the future, Pastor Walker closed the service reciting in Hebrew the Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:22-27).

“Today has been a historic day for the people of God in Denver. Today, in unity, we have pierced the darkness,” Walker declared.

Such was the blessing and the movement of the Holy Spirit at the meeting, that local Hispanic Christian leaders are already working to organize similar events in the near future.

Francisco Miraval is the director of Hispanic Group of the US Christian Chamber of Commerce and a member of the NHCLC board.

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