A Dallas church known for its diverse congregation celebrated its multicultural membership yesterday by hosting a parade of nations service along with cultural entertainment as a form of embracing individuals that hail from different backgrounds yet worship at the same church.
The diversity found within Spring Valley Methodist Church, pastored by an African American woman, Rev. Clara Reed, is often times reflected in their services including their worship music and fellowship activities. However, the openness found among members is a rare scene and one that is not displayed throughout most churches.
"Most churches I've belonged to are one color," said Norma Warner, a member at Spring Valley, reports DallasNews.com. "We're a congregation of immigrants."
According to a 2008 Pew Research Center study, only 7 percent of American churches are racially integrated and at Spring Valley, Sunday's service resembled that statistic through the displays of various cultures represented by its members.
Spring Valley has members of European and West African descent as well as many Latin American worshippers. In addition, their church holds Spanish language services in which members from Central and South America and the Caribbean attend each week.
During the service, many wore traditional clothing and costumes as they waved flags while the church organist played the national anthems of the 23 nations being represented.
In addition to the folklore displays, congregants enjoyed cultural meals while children acted out a West African story and they listened to a member sing from Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro.
"You feel pride. Like they're accepting you as you are. It's a big family. Everyone looks out for people," said Melissa Fierro, a member at Spring Valley.
Fierro, who attends the church's Spanish-language service, also said the church has become increasingly closer since Reed arrived as senior pastor last month.