Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church


Rector's Corner

Our Lady of Guadalupe

  • The Rev. Dr. Bill Murray
  • Oct 30, 2019
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On April 11, 2019, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that our own Sandy Springs is the most diverse city in Georgia. Before I go too far down this path, I want to note that the rankings were done by WalletHub and combine five key areas: socioeconomic diversity, cultural diversity, economic diversity, household diversity, and religious diversity. Not only was Sandy Springs listed as the most diverse city in Georgia, we were the number 12 city in the country on this list.

The Holy Spirit always moves in mysterious ways. There are times when you can guess that God is at work and other times when you have no idea what is happening. For me, I often do not see what is happening until the end when it comes together. As I read the article in the AJC, was talking with the Diocese and the Wardens about the ministry of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and was working on our outreach offerings, I began to notice a movement in all of these areas that can only be understood as Spirit-inspired and led.

For decades, Holy Innocents’ has been active in Spanish-speaking ministries. Maidee Spencer started Horizons Atlanta, a summer program at the school designed to help kids. The majority of these youth come from Spanish-speaking homes. Howard and Janet Clark started an English as a Second Language (ESL) program to help tutor parents and children on our campus. This program was absorbed by LaAmistad which now tutors hundred of children and parents across the city. The Rev. Jackie Watt led the charge to create the Community Assistance Center (CAC), which helps families in need, many of whom are Spanish-speaking. Allen Wallace and Bill Bentz have led the preparation of a Thanksgiving meal at Lake Forest Elementary, a Title 1 school roughly 2 miles from our campus that is majority Spanish-speaking families. Thanks to their leadership and the help of many others, we serve an annual Thanksgiving dinner and have begun to get involved in that community as well. These four programs started by and continually supported by Holy Innocents’ are indicative of the many ministries in which we are involved that serve the Hispanic-Latino communities.

As the Wardens, Nicole Rash and Marc Howard, and I discussed how to respond to the interest of Father Brito and Our Lady of Guadalupe in coming to Holy Innocents’, we could only say, “Of course.” We have been preparing in ways large and small to have a ministry like this. We have been working to care for those in need in the Hispanic-Latino communities, and even offered a Spanish class last Spring for those doing this work. Inviting an Episcopal Mission to join us and bringing a Spanish-speaking community into our halls feels like a natural and God-filled way to continue our work and ministry.

This Sunday night, Father Brito and Our Lady of Guadalupe will join us at 5PM. It is the beginning of a shared ministry and community. Please pray for our church as we grow, pray for our new friends that they might feel at home, and pray for a shared sense of purpose in God. Come this Sunday night or any Sunday night at 5PM to worship with them. Come this Sunday night at 6:30PM to eat some chili and tamales, share some stories of God, and rejoice at how the Spirit can move among us!