Organizers speak during the LYNC Multicultural Celebration BBQ at First UMC Charlotte on April 28, 2024. Photo by Alyssa Fisher (Cal-Pac) for WJ communications.

By Alyssa Fisher, WJ Communications

On Sunday, April 29, a vibrant spirit of community and multiculturalism filled the plaza outside of First United Methodist Church of Charlotte as the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) hosted a barbecue luncheon and community gathering following the Sunday worship service.

The event, which drew attendees from diverse backgrounds, celebrated unity and love for our neighbors both near and far. From the salsa beats of Navbori Sexteto to the dance performances by Saoco Dance Company, the atmosphere was full of joy and camaraderie. Eddy Kbrera, affectionately known as “con K,” added to the musical tapestry of the day that had attendees dancing throughout the courtyard or as they lined up for refreshments.

LYNC, comprised of 15 affiliated organizations and individual volunteers, is dedicated to spreading love and compassion within our local community and beyond. It brings together those working for justice around the world, providing the opportunity to learn from and support one another. Throughout the General Conference and beyond, LYNC has been at the forefront of organizing events promoting inclusivity, understanding, and comfort through visiting therapy dogs at their outpost at the Hilton Garden Inn and throughout Charlotte.

During the gathering, speakers highlighted the multicultural efforts of the denomination, emphasizing the importance of embracing diversity and fostering an environment of acceptance and mutual respect. Rev. Jamie Michaels, witness coordinator for LYNC, shared that the event “modeled the powerful work and joy that can come out of true coalition and solidarity work.” Among the speakers were Bishops Minerva Carcaño, Juan de Dios Pena, and Julius Trimble, along with representatives of the Interethnic Strategic Development Group (IESDG) such as Rev. Tony Love, Rev. Scort Christy, Rev. Dr. Zaki L. Zaki, and Diego Torres.

The event also welcomed Rev. Lysette Perez, President of MARCHA, Rev. Neal Christie, Co-convener of LYNC, Rev. Jack Amick, Global Migration Director for UMCOR, and Cristian Schlick, UMCOR Missionary for Global Migration, who echoed the sentiment of unity and love that LYNC promotes. Michaels expressed gratitude as the event surpassed expectations, serving approximately 400 people from many countries during the luncheon. Rev. Perez shared that “If the world is our parish, we need to be United Methodists serving the people around the world. In la casa de Dios, there are no national boundaries. The home of God is for all people, and as children of God, we must work for a world where all people from every nation can thrive.” 

LYNC organizations include: Affirmation, Association of Ministers with Disabilities UMC, Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), Fossil Free UMC, Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), Metodistas Asociados Representando la Causa Hispano-Americanos (MARCHA), Native American International Caucus (NAIC), New Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM), Pacific Islanders Caucus of United Methodists (PINCUM), Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), United Methodist Congress of the Deaf, United Methodist Creation Justice Movement, United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR), United Methodist Queer Clergy Caucus, and Western Methodist Justice Movement (WMJM).

The LYNC Global Relationships Team depends entirely upon donations for its work. You can give at https://www.lyncoalition.org/donate

 

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