Wayside Presbyterian Church — Erie, Pennsylvania
We are a 600-member church on the west side of Erie, a city with a diverse population including many immigrants and refugees. Wayside held a congregation-wide forum to discuss and listen and discern how the Spirit is leading us to create connections. One creative outcome was the Wayside Multicultural Diners Club. The club supports restaurants and food stores of people whose ethnicity, culture and religion are different from ours, and builds relationships by learning their stories. The club has dined at an African-American pub, a Bhutanese restaurant and with the Erie Turkish Cultural Center. We’ve expanded beyond church members to include participants in the One Table Multicultural and Interfaith Fellowship.
It’s an informal and easy way to break down walls and encourage conversation about how we may strengthen community as friends and neighbors. This is a first step in learning how we may exemplify and learn the compassion and hospitality Christ teaches as we make new friends and discover how to be better friends in Erie and in the world.
— James Bernhardt, pastor
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