Three years ago, about 70 gathered on Sundays for worship in this mainly working-class, Sudanese-American congregation. Now we’re averaging 135 each week, and we’re a diverse mix of Sudanese- and Congolese-Americans alongside those from the neighborhood who have lived in this country longer. We speak English, Arabic, and Swahili, and our 30 or so children and youth often remind us that worship is for dancing as much as for praying! We maxed out Camp Stevens with 131 congregants (68 were under age 18) for our Labor Day parish retreat.
God blessed us with the Bakala family, whose nine members fled political persecution in the Congo in 2017. Constantin had been detained for 21 months since his arrival, forcing Annie and the kids to fend for themselves in San Diego. They became part of the St. Luke’s family, and we fought ICE to delay Constantin’s deportation in February and successfully obtained (with God’s help!) his parole in August to reunite him with his family. The experience reaffirmed the life-changing nature of our mission to cross lines of privilege and prejudice for God.
New Spaces for Grace
What does a year of construction make possible? In our thriving garden and outdoor cafe space, high school students learn urban farming and marketing; in our new commercial kitchen, refugee women learn culinary skills for better jobs; in our renovated parish hall, recovery groups and food distribution participants find nourishment; and in our courtyard, children of God experiencing homelessness enjoy a safe, dignified, and supportive place to be during the day – thanks to a host of donors and our partners, the International Rescue Committee and Uptown Community Services.
What we do here is not possible without your generous support – thank you for blessing us with your gifts of time, talent, treasure, and prayer. God has more in store for the millennials and unhoused of North Park and the Sudanese and Congolese refugee communities of San Diego. Walk beside us in the adventure ahead!
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