Celebrating diversity—in Glenwood, Illinois

TasteOfReconcilation72Where do sweet potato pie, Ukrainian kasha, Swedish meatballs, Italian ice, southern cornbread, Chinese eggrolls, and store-bought cupcakes blend in delicious harmony? Where do opera sopranos, gospel choirs, Korean soloists, and children’s choruses mix in harmonious diversity? Where do worshippers join hearts, lift hands, and rub shoulders with smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes? At the annual Taste of Reconciliation hosted by Living Springs Community Church in Glenwood, Illinois.

Living Springs is my church, and each year approximately 500 people descend upon the grounds for a celebration similar to the Taste of Chicago, but with a deeper purpose. Each Taste of Reconciliation is a festivity of different types of food, different types of people, different types of music—all in celebration of the God who is Father to the entire human family. The event is an oasis of hope and fun in an area where racial conflicts are often one wrong glance away from flaring up.

Pastor Chris Spoor is the former senior pastor at Living Springs. Semi-retired now, he continues to serve in a variety of roles, and the Taste of Reconciliation remains an event he is highly involved with. In preparation for this year’s Taste, Pastor Chris sent a letter to other local pastors, saying:

“Throughout my years as a pastor in the Illiana area, I have had many conversations with church leaders struggling to discern how best to serve in neighborhoods that are ‘changing.’ Let me invite you to an event that will renew your hope, enlarge your vision, and refresh your soul—the Taste of Reconciliation, hosted by Living Springs Community Church.”

If you are in the Glenwood area (it’s south of Chicago, Illinois) on Sunday evening, July 26, 2009, stop in at the Taste of Reconciliation. Beginning at 5:00pm you’ll be able to sample foods from 20–30 different cultures—Dutch food and soul food, yes, but also Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Greek, Mediterranean, Ukrainian, Argentine, Polish, Korean, Swedish, and American dishes.

Stick around for the worship service that begins at 6:00pm, a service that reflects the promise of Revelation 7:9. Choirs, soloists, praise teams, readers, dancers, and preachers from different cultures will all lead us in heartfelt praise—some expressions familiar, some less so, but all God-focused.

To view photos and videos of the Taste of Reconciliation from years past, visit www.tasteofreconciliation.com. Or contact me directly for more information. Post a comment to this blog, or use any of the links below.

Hope to see you at the Taste!