One Church, Three Languages

The Brazilian Church of Christ here in northern New Jersey had a Hispanic Christian woman named Clara visiting off and on for a few years. While most Spanish-speakers seem to have a hard time understanding Portuguese, Clara seemed to “get” most of what was said. A year and a half ago the Brazilian church opened it’s building up to a group of Hispanics, including Clara, to start a church. The Hispanic believers, meeting on the second floor, now outnumber the Brazilians who meet for worship on the first floor. The first Sunday of every month we hold a joint service, normally with the message in Spanish and the hymns and other parts of worship in a mix of one language or the other. Clara is pretty happy with developments, I think.

Most of the children of the Brazilians were born in the United States, and all of them speak English more fluently than the Portuguese of their parents. Though I deeply value the language and customs of Brazil, the Way of Christ is more important. My Sunday School with the preteens is almost entirely in English. Christiane and I are talking about starting a youth group this Fall, and I think most of what we do will be in English. This way, the kids will understand fully what we are discussing, and they will be able to invite friends. I’m hoping at the same time to convince one of the Brazilian women to begin offering Portuguese lessons for the Brazilians. I’ve already suggested that she charge something for it, and that we use the church building. Besides our kids, the children of Brazilian immigrants from the community could be benefited.

We are ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse, but we are one church that speaks three languages.

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