A Note From Barry During Hispanic Heritage Month

By Barry Jones
In eLetter
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Last week, we began Hispanic Heritage Month here in the United States. As we enter this time of celebrating Hispanic and Latino culture, I want to share a key moment in my own learning regarding what it means to be a multiethnic church comprised of brothers and sisters in Christ from different cultural backgrounds.

A number of years ago, before I became the senior pastor at IBC, my dear friend Ephraim Figueroa was working on planting a Spanish speaking congregation here in the Irving area. His group was small but beautifully diverse, with participants from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia and more. As I was coaching Ephraim in his work, it became apparent that some of the challenges their fledgling church was facing were related to the fact that, though they shared a common language and many shared values, they came from very different cultural backgrounds and experiences. They represented the beautiful diversity of the Spanish speaking world.

Watching Ephraim lead his people in understanding, honoring and navigating their cultural differences was very instructive for me. I could see how we needed to (and must continue to) learn to do that on a larger scale with even more layers of cultural difference at IBC. It requires courage, sensitivity and grace from all involved. It involves Christlike love. But watching him pastor them was instrumental in God’s leading me to embrace the commitment to becoming a more fully multiethnic church at IBC. Their example has shaped who we are becoming.

This month, from September 15 through October 15, we honor the beautiful diversity of the Spanish speaking world reflected in over 60 million people in this country. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about the histories, cultures, experiences and perspectives of our Latino and Latina brothers, sisters and neighbors. And it’s a great reminder of the ongoing need to celebrate and uplift the voices, experiences and cultural values of the Hispanic community all year long, both in our church and our broader society.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Barry

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