stone spacestone space's Journal
...I am too afraid of you to stand under the same tent with you.
If you defend George Zimmerman's murder of Treyvon Martin, then I am too afraid of you to stand under the same tent with you.
If you support the deportations of my friends and family, then I am too afraid of you to stand in the same tent as you.
And if you mock and ridicule our fears after the bloodiest election in Iowa's history, then I am too disgusted with you to stand under the same tent as you.
Preparing The Way: Hispanic Ministry And Community Transformation In Marshalltown, Iowa
Anne C. Woodrick
Department of Sociology ,Anthropology, and Criminology
University of Northern Iowa
ABSTRACT: Recent anthropological studies of new immigrant destination communities recognize Marshalltown, Iowa, as one of the unusually successful U.S. towns in its accommodation of recent Latino immigrants. This paper examines the crucial role that Rev.John Allen of Elim Lutheran Church played in establishing the foundation for a Latino community identity and forging an integrated and diverse Marshalltown community. One person, with a vision and passion for his work and respect and empathy for others, made the difference. However, Hispanic ministry can never be static, and over time others more effectively built upon Allens foundation. Hispanic ministry is a process that must evolve in order to effectively respond to changing social, cultural, and advocacy needs of the immigrants it serves.
The Rev. John Allen, pastor of Elim Lutheran Church (E.L.C.A.)in Marshalltown, Iowa, and his family were enjoying a Chinese dinner in Wong s Restaurant a few weeks before Christmas. Their after-dinner conversation engaged a couple of young Latino men who were bussing tables. Until this moment Allen had not really had a chance to speak with some of the Latino newcomers who had been arriving in Marshalltown during the past year. An inquisitive Allen discovered that none of the men had plans to celebrate Christmas in church. The Latinos explained that they wished to attend mass, but wanted to participate in a Spanish mass. All worship services in local churches were in English. In response to their dilemma, Allen invited them and any other Latinos to a Spanish mass at Elim on Christmas Day afternoon.
On Christmas Day, 1990, Rev. John Allen, assisted by a translator, celebrated a Spanish Christmas liturgy for 15 Latinos, and began an 18-month Hispanic ministry in Marshalltown. The Latino congregation grew to more than 250 registered families. A choir was formed. Baptisms and First Communions were performed. Padre Juan, as John Allen was affectionately called, and the mostly Mexican immigrants worked together to create a dynamic Latino congregation. Many Elim parishioners were supportive and appreciative of the new ministry.
However, the Elim Hispanic ministry also had its challenges. A few vocal individuals were not supportive of Allens ministry to the Mexicans. Catholics worshipping in a Lutheran church raised concerns among Anglo-Lutherans and Catholics alike. And the expanding Latino congregation expressed to the Elim Church Council their desire that a Spanish-speaking priest be hired by the local Catholic Church.
In July 1992, the Archdiocese of Dubuque appointed Father Paul Ouderkirk as the Hispanic Minister of St. Marys Catholic Church in Marshalltown. This was the ﬁrst Hispanic ministry appointment in the Archdiocese. That summer John Allen accepted a call to a church in Wisconsin and was to leave town in early August. The two clergy overlapped a month in Marshalltown. Father Paul attended the Spanish masses held at Elim, and the priests worked together to plan Padre Juan's ﬁnal Spanish worship service. On a Sunday afternoon in late July, Rev. John Allen began his last Spanish mass at Elim. Immediately following the benediction, Padre Juan and Father Paul, dressed in full vestments, the entire Latino congregation, the choir and guitar players, and the statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe processed from Elim down the sidewalks of Marshalltown to St. Marys Catholic Church. In the basement of St. Marys Rev. John Allen passed his Hispanic ministry to Father Paul and bade goodbye to his Latino friends.
...religious, moral, and political blunder of Biblical proportions.
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