Helping African Nationals grow in their faith

Helping African Nationals grow in their faith

July 30, 2018

News From the Congregational Excellence Team

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids is on the cutting edge of new church development in Iowa. They are responding to the growing population of African National immigrants in their community.
 
Under the leadership of Pastor Daniel Niyonzima, the church is helping the African Nationals in their community grow in their faith and retain their heritage while becoming American citizens. Worship in the native languages of Swahili and Kirundi on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons are at the heart of their many ministries with this emerging community of faith. 
 
Three words help the leaders and members of the congregation remember who God has created them to be. Their mission is to be a people GATHERED, FORMED, and SENT by God's Grace. These words also articulate their discipleship pathway—how they help new people and established members alike deepen and live out their faith in God through Jesus Christ. 
 
They further define God’s calling on their ministry in their vision statement: 
 St. Paul's United Methodist Church is a Christ-centered community with rich traditions moving forward into a bold future where: 
  • GATHERED  All people are welcomed and valued with generous hospitality so all can enjoy deeper, more authentic relationships with God and each other.
  • FORMED  Spiritual journeys are shaped by the embrace of God through scripture, sacraments, prayer, and small groups.
  • SENT  We work in loving partnerships with others using the gifts God gives for the healing of the world.
They continue to challenge one another to grow in their mission and service not simply in the church but also in the community. This summer, for instance, they are studying their hospitality practices on Sunday mornings to recognize how they are extending an extravagant welcome to all visitors, guests, and new members who join them for worship and to identify ways they can make their welcome even stronger.