Six members of Faith Lutheran Church, West Fargo, are visiting their sister parish, Tierra Nueva Uno, in Chinautla, Guatemala April 22-28. Their partner church, Iglesia San Marco (St. Mark's Catholic Church) is celebrating the Feast of St. Mark during the time of the delegation visit. Those participating in the visit are Steven Nowicki, Maren Kramer, Jan Gatz, Eric Berge, Jan Titus, and Vicki Schmidt.
The Sister Parish, Inc. movement encourages long-term relationships of solidarity, rather than charity, where becoming involved in the day-to-day lives and culture of another people helps both cultures work toward a more just society for all. The relationships strive for an attitude of mutual trust, respect, honesty, and love. Relationships never begin with a project, but with the development of a sense of community between the two cultures. Shared hopes and dreams eventually lead to a common project that benefits the community, where needs are determined by the people living there.
The relationship between Tierra Nueva Uno and Faith Lutheran began in 2002. It has been a process of communication, openness and education, with visits from West Fargo to Guatemala and return visits to West Fargo, facilitated and paid for by the Faith sister parish group and church members. While in the Guatemalan community, the West Fargo delegation prepares and serves a sit-down dinner for 50-100 people. Donations are received for purchasing some of the food in Guatemala, and some of the foods are brought from the United States. The West Fargo group will share culture and customs with the community at the dinner.
The Feast of St. Mark will include special worship services, typical Guatemalan foods, and processions in the street with fireworks and many flowers. This festival is an annual highlight for the church and community.