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Gathering as one body in Christ

Student Ministries and United Cultures of Bethel partner for event about faith and culture.

By Emma Melling

Colored table runners in stripes of blue and green cover the circular tables in The Underground. White string lights run around the room and markers and slips of paper rest on the tabletops. A sampling of the Bethel community gathers in this space to reflect on one question: how does culture shape how we experience God?

One Body, an event co-hosted by Student Ministries and United Cultures of Bethel on Nov. 13, focused on what it means for culture to impact faith and what it looks like for Christians of different cultures to interact with each other in ways that reflect the body of Christ.

As the event began, members of Student Ministries led the group in worship. Interspersed with songs of praise were Bible verses that were read in different languages, including Karan, English, Hmong and Spanish. After this time of worship and reflection, the event panelists, who spoke on faith and culture, introduced themselves and shared parts of their stories. The panel included Sanctuary Covenant pastor Edrin Williams, freshman Mari Torres, communications professor Scott Sochay, career specialist Ann Vu Ngo, freshman Sam Nguyen and musician Dan Adler.

“All these parts making up one body means that we’re no good ourselves,” Vu Ngo said during the panel discussion. Her words were softly spoken, almost whispered as Vu Ngo shared the importance of living as one body in Christ Jesus, no matter what culture individuals may come from.

This idea is reflected in the passage 1 Corinthians 12:18-27. Freshman Mari Torres talked about what these verses mean to her.

“We all have different functions in the body of Christ,” Torres said. “When we think of the body of Christ, there’s not just one dominant function, one dominant race.”

Pastor Edrin Williams talked about how sometimes individuals get the wrong idea about living in unity. He shared his thoughts calmly, meditatively, as though they were old friends of his.

“Sometimes we can say ‘unity’ and have something else in mind, like ‘uniformity,’” Williams said.

With the panelists all coming from different faith and cultural backgrounds, their words were a representation of the diversity and unity that they advocated for. Vu Ngo shared how this unity can impact Christ-followers.

“We’re better when we are around people who are different that us.”

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