Brother, Sister, Let me Serve You
– Witness of Diakonia in my Congregation
– by Xuming Sun
As my course of ELCA Diakonia reaches its midpoint, I recall how my congregation is faithful in serving God and people at Trinity Lutheran Church at Middle Village, Queens.
First of all, the Trinity Church has a history of 150 years. It has been serving the community since the day it started for mostly German immigrants. Today, there are members at 80, 90 years old who their whole lives have attended the church with all family events in their memories. There are a few families who have stayed in the church for generations. Of course today we are a very welcoming and diverse church with members originally from as far as the Caribbean and Asia. Moreover, people you see every Sunday at Trinity are not the entire congregation. There is almost another half of the congregation who are people either weak or sick at home or at senior centers but closely bound with the church. Through our monthly journal “Trinity Times”, all articles written and shared from members of the congregation reach to those invisible ones beyond the parish hall. Every Tuesday, Pastor Longan and a few members voluntarily go to a Senior Center nearby (Dry Harbor Nursing Home) to give a full worship service, without any compensation. And it has lasted for 30 years.
In the congregation, there are also various fellowships. One of them is a quilt-knitting team with several members gathering weekly to make quilts sent to Africa for HIV/AIDS children. One team called “Soup Kitchen” applies a special fund to cook for hundreds of hungry people monthly for years. We also have very active boy scouts helping the church accomplish lots of tasks and raising funds. All of these lasting for years. Every Sunday, we have the most inclusive choir singing and spreading God’s wonderful love. The choir welcomes all, even if you have difficulty reading and singing or standing, but as long as you want you are welcomed to join in to sing. It is wonderful that we have a very good singer/player who is a Jewish among us. He also composed a song, “A Jew in a Church on Sunday”.
Several teachers voluntarily lead Sunday school. All kids are engaged at children sermon time which actually is a good time to let adults to grow together with the kids. In addition, the most inspiring members are those disabled ones sitting and worshipping at the hall no matter under what weather conditions or health conditions. Their life stories are our forever inspiration.
I have been in the church for 10 yrs. Today I am one of the lay ministers rotating on Sunday altars. I sing in the choir as well as constantly writing for the Trinity Times. Often I am sad whenever I see members either moved away or forever leaving us. But I as well as others keep growing our spirits under each other’s service. A beautiful hymn echoes the passage in John’s Gospel [Chapter 13 and 14] where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet and announces his commandment “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever”:
Brother, sister, let me serve you,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.
Brother, Sister, Let me Serve You