Super Salsa Sunday 2011: a story of reconciliation

Al Villarreal (center) led a Living Springs worship team in Latino-style praise and worship for the Super Salsa Sunday celebration service.

There are times when I forget what a rarity it is to belong to a church that is multi-cultural. I take it for granted. I forget that for the most part, Martin Luther King’s observation about Sunday morning segregation is still true. Most churches are black or white or brown or yellow. Not and.

Even at Living Springs, we can never assume that we have “achieved” multi-culturalism. There are always new cultures to include, new people to welcome, new divisions that threaten to make us hypocrites. Reconciliation is a lifelong journey—and a recurring celebration.


On Sunday morning, May 1, Living Springs celebrated Super Salsa Sunday. As Jamieson Clay says in the video below, this was not a token effort but an intentional embracing of a heritage we genuinely value. And I consider it a real blessing to be part of a church family that is willing to try—knowing we might not get it right, realizing we might accidentally offend someone, risking our own comfort in the hopes of reaching someone else.

For example, on Super Salsa Sunday we opened our worship service by singing:

Señor eres fiel y tu misericordia es eterna
Señor eres fiel y tu misericordia es eterna
Gente de toda lengua y nación
De generación a generación
Te adoramos hoy
Aleluya , aleluya…

Most people walking in to the service that day did not understand the words they saw projected on the screen. Did that stop them from singing? No! Quite a few of them knew enough Spanish to sing along pretty well—although the timing of some of the syllables proved to be a challenge. Others stumbled through as best they could, laughing at themselves as they tripped over unfamiliar pronunciations. Some simply sang along in English because they recognized the music. (The song was “Lord, You Are Good,” by Israel Houghton.) And a few chose not to sing, but they clapped along with the beat, smiling the whole time. It was fun.


All of the songs we sang that morning were familiar in both Spanish and English, and the more we sang, the easier it became to simply get lost in the praise without worrying about the pronunciation. It was a glorious, harmonious, wondrous, joyful noise.

Pastor Pedro Aviles, of Trinity Christian College and Grace & Peace Fellowship, brought us a message from God’s Word, and he expressed appreciation for Living Springs’ vision statement:

To become a Spirit-filled, multi-cultural church that radically blesses our community and beyond.

Pastor Pedro affirmed that the priorities revealed in that vision statement are correct—we must be filled with the Spirit first. Only as we are reconciled with God do we have any hope of reconciling with each other, and that hope of reconciliation is the foundational blessing we offer our communities and our world. It was a good message.


Video of the entire service is available from Living Springs. (Ask for the May 1, 2011, service.) The short video below is simply a compilation of reactions from some of the people who attended Super Salsa Sunday 2011:

What do you think? What does Living Springs need to do to ensure that Super Salsa Sundays (and other celebration events) remain an expression of reconciliation rather than tokenism? What dangers, mistakes, and possible offenses do we need to be aware of?

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2 thoughts on “Super Salsa Sunday 2011: a story of reconciliation”

  1. I applaud your Church’s efforts. This doesn’t just happen. You have to be intentional about it.
    We think we are doing good by sponsoring Spanish language churches or Korean churches or others like that. That’s not a bad thing but it’s when we rub elbows with each other that we find common ground and understanding.

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