New Utrecht Church Launches Immigrant Initiative
Just in time for the “Day of the Dead” commemoration on November 2nd, an outreach team from New Utrecht has kicked off the second season of its congregationally supported ESL along with Bible study, immigrant rights meetings and basic Spanish literacy classes. Evangelist Jose Reanda of the Evangelical Church of Guatemala, an old friend and frequent visitor at New Utrecht has come to serve as an immigrant in residence, providing much needed cultural competency and grassroots perspective to serving the needs of the more than 5000 Guatemalans who are not residents of the Bensonhurst – Dyker Beach communities. He has been joined by ESL teacher Laura Chiara and outreach team members Vincent La Marca, Pat Capuano, Tina Muir, Carol Dickert and Michele Paradies. The outreach initiative has taken on the name “Sol de Justicia” (Sun of Righteousness). Bensonhurst, a community dubbed the “neighborhood of nations” by an October 2007 New York Times article, is among the most diverse cultural communities in New York City. New Utrecht currently hosts a Russian speaking ministry as part of the mission of the church to be open to new immigrant neighbors and their need to worship and come together as one community in their native tongue.