A Moment for Mission
"How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings." —Psalm 36:7, NRSV
The music school of Anawim, a community center in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, teaches young people music to empower themselves and their families. According to Casa del Pueblo's pastor, Lilian "Luky" Cotto, the music school has increased participants' confidence, and the students' grades have improved.
Cotto said the music school "has been a blessing for teens, children and their parents." Anawim is a program of Casa del Pueblo, the Latino ministry of Lehman United Methodist Church. Music classes include guitar, cajón drums and piano. Parents are invited to be involved in their children's music lessons, as well as the center's liturgical dance and folkloric classes. "The parents want to learn for themselves," Cotto said, "but also want to learn in order to help their children … in whatever project we do."
Anawim, named for a Hebrew word meaning "the poor of Jahve," also provides services specifically for adults. Parents learn how to make healthy meals for their children, and families are offered meals three times a week. A psychotherapist and immigration attorney are available.
The center helps people study for the process of becoming citizens. Parents take English-as-a-second-language classes to improve their job qualifications and financial situations. These services are important to Cotto who believes working with the "disadvantaged, the ones who hardly have any voice, the immigrant community" is the right place for her.
Today is Human Relations Day, a time to recognize the right of all God's children to realize their potential as human beings in relationship with one another. It's a day to celebrate life-changing ministries and the committed people who make them happen.
Loving God, thank you for your steadfast love. Encourage us to offer refuge to your children, our sisters and brothers, who long for mercy and understanding. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Second Sunday after Epiphany – Holy God who gives and then gives more: it's the offering time again. We pass the plate and place a gift of money to sustain the mission of your church, here and around the world. We are reminded that we have other gifts as well, not noted on our bank statements or balance sheets. You have given each of us spiritual gifts, not to make us rich but to make the world richer, more compassionate and more just, because we were here. Open our eyes to those gifts, and where and when you would have us use them.In the Savior's name, we pray. Amen. (1 Corinthians 12:1-11)
In addition to overseeing Anawim, a community center in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, Lilian "Luky" Cotto performs pastoral duties for United Methodist-related Casa del Pueblo. "I do what needs to be done in our community for the families that need my services," she says. The church has worship every Sunday, and small groups meet in surrounding neighborhoods throughout the week.
Last year, Anawim celebrated its 10th anniversary. It has been part of Casa del Pueblo for two years. The Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference supports Anawim spiritually and financially.
As the center embarks on its second decade of service, staff and supporters have plentiful reasons to look forward. In September 2018, they started a GED class conducted in Spanish with the local school district. The congregation includes two couples and several children who want to become pastors. "God is good," Cotto says.
Today is Human Relations Day. Your gifts reach out to God's children and offer refuge through ministries like Anawim and Casa del Pueblo. Thank you!