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Letter: International Festival a great celebration

By Jim Krapf, Worthington

This year participants in Worthington’s International Festival had the opportunity to compare the immigration experiences of European ancestors with those of current immigrants. Catalysts for the discussion were excerpts from “The Letters of a German American Farmer.”

Values and concerns about our community’s diversity were expressed. Values identified were the enrichment of varied foods, music and perspectives, the inspiration of people overcoming hardships, providing a safe home and preparation of our children to be successful in a globalized world. Concerns included language barriers, economic issues, prejudicial attitudes and isolating in the comfort of our own kind which prevents expanding trust and harmony.

The festival was more than entertainment; it was an affirmation of the unique contribution of varying ethnic cultures. My thanks to all those who supported, organized and participated in the International Festival.

I am also grateful that this summer several local pastors are reading and discussing “Bridging the Diversity Gap.” The author Alvin Sanders urges going beyond a secular tolerance to a spiritual reconciliation. He would affirm the uniqueness of ethnic cultures while healing the hurts of racial brokenness. The Church is called to be both an instrument and an example of God’s multicultural Kingdom.

Pope Francis in his book “The Joy of the Gospel” declares that cultural diversity is not a threat to Church unity. He writes, “It is the Holy Spirit who brings forth a rich variety of gifts, while at the same time creating a unity which is never uniformity, but a multifaceted and inviting harmony.”

Those who want to add to the health of our community are invited to an event called “Harmony in Our Home” from 1 to 4 p.m. July 27 in Ludlow Park. You will have the opportunity to hear music from several ethnic church groups and to share stories and to pray for one another.

Worthington is a special place. Those who join with others in enriching our faith in an inclusive God make it so.