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Churches in Nashville give thanks — in two languages

Spanish-speaking congregation hosts faithfully fun, bilingual devotional on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.

Handshakes and hugs at the Grandview Church of Christ. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)

Happy Thanksgiving.

In the few minutes while our green bean casserole bakes in the oven, I’m posting a few photos from last night’s devotional at the Iglesia de Cristo en Grandview (Grandview Church of Christ) in Nashville, Tenn. Members of this Spanish-speaking congregation hosted members of their sister congregation across town, the Brentwood Hills Church of Christ, for the pre-Thanksgiving devo. 

Inside Story | Erik Tryggestad

Earlier this year, I attended a bilingual worship service for both congregations, hosted at Brentwood Hills’ building. Our coverage of the event, which featured guest speaker Dan Rodriguez from Pepperdine University in California, kicked off our One Nación Under God series. 

It was great to visit Grandview and see some familiar faces — from both congregations. We sang that “Ha-la-la-la-la-la-le-lu-jah” song (“Shake somebody’s hand, shake a hand next to ya'”) in English and Spanish, and there was much cross-cultural hand-shaking and hugging. 

Walt Leaver, minister for the Brentwood Hills church, talked about the fruit of the spirit as Roberto Santiago, who ministers for the Grandview congregation, translated for the Spanish speakers. 

“We function as one church with Brentwood Hills,” Santiago told me when I interviewed him for the series. The church is under the leadership of Brentwood Hills’ elders, who appointed two Spanish-speaking members to serve as deacons with the Grandview church.

The highlight of the devo, for me, was three skits performed (in English) by the Grandview church’s youth group. I love to see kids getting involved and having fun. At the end of the service, we sang “There’s a Stirring” in English and Spanish. 

Cup stackers illustrate the parable of the wise and foolish builders at the Grandview Church of Christ. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)

I’ve been to a lot of Wednesday night devos on the night before Thanksgiving. Often, they have a “thrown together” feel. Turnout tends to be low. Nowadays, many churches cancel services entirely.

This one was great. There seems to be a certain amount of chaos inherent in bilingual ministry — but it’s a glorious, sincere, God-honoring kind of chaos, I think. Divine dissonance. It works.

Youths at the Grandview Church of Christ illustrate the story of the 10 lepers. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)

One grateful recipient returns to say thanks as youths illustrate the story of the 10 lepers. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)

Filed under: Headlines - Secondary Inside Story One Nación Under God

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