by Anne Hall
Last summer several of us on our Sanctuary team heard a wonderful speaker, Rev. Alexandria Salvatierra, speak to the community-based Sanctuary Coalition. She spoke about the importance of broadly defining how we provide sanctuary to those in need within our community. While she recognized the importance of the traditional, physical sanctuary in our churches, she also spoke about the other needs of many members in our Hispanic community and how we might accompany them during this time. This message sparked our program “Breaking Bread Together”, where members of our church are now getting to know more closely families of The Family Center/La Familia.
Patricia Olson and I are members of our Sanctuary team, and we met with Lorena Mendoza from La Familia to find out how we could begin to get to know the families she works with. We all agreed that it was best to start small–with ten members of Foothills to meet and share food and stories with ten La Familia families. On Saturday afternoon, November 18th, ten people from Foothills, including Rev. Sean, went to The Family Center/La Familia where we met ten families and their children. After a brief welcome from Lorena and Sean, we broke into small, very informal conversation groups.
In her opening remarks, Lorena mentioned the work we were doing with Sanctuary in our church. Later, there were many questions about our program in the small groups. The three women in my group really wanted to share how difficult their life as women had been in Guatemala and how much they appreciated their life in Fort Collins.
At the end of our time together, both the people from Foothills and from La Familia said how much they wanted these conversations to continue. Our plan is to schedule our next get together in mid-January at The Family Center/La Familia in the hope that our work of accompaniment will grow and flourish.
If you would like to know more about this partnership and perhaps join us on this journey, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. or call 970-282-3829.