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Reflection presented in Tertulia 2012: An Intimate, Transparent, Open & Honest Discussion About Sexism, Classism, Racism and ONA Issues.  This conversation was held by and for Council of Hispanic Ministries (CHM) New England Leaders.  The Topic was “I’m Hispanic, I’m UCC” 

Ephesians 2:19 (NIV, 1984) Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of God’s household…

Reflection Have you ever woken up as if out of a fog wondering who or what you are?  I had that experience recently.  A conversation from the night before had lingered in my mind and through my dreams, the gist of which was, how do you self-identify?  Because as we all know others see what they see, but it is important that we be grounded in the knowledge of who we really are.

As I awoke, I thought of that poem by Aurora Levins Morales[1], “Child of the Americas.”

I am a child of the Americas…

a child of many diaspora,

born into this continent at a crossroads…

I am Caribeña, island grown.

Spanish is in my flesh, the singing in my poetry, the flying gestures of my hands.

I am of Latinoamerica, rooted in the history of my continent: I speak from that body.

I am not african. Africa is in me, but I cannot return.

I am not taína. Taíno is in me, but there is no way back.

I am not european. Europe lives in me, but I have no home there.

I am new. History made me.

My first language was spanglish.

I was born at the crossroads and I am whole.

I remember reading this and thinking that’s me, but only parts of me.  There is more to me than my ethnic makeup.  According to the Bible, I am no longer on the outskirts looking in.  I am a member of GOD’s household.

I am a child of the diaspora, born into this religiosity at a crossroads…

I am roman catholic by inheritance and tradition; I am lutheran by baptism

And by my hearts choice and God’s leading, I am UCC.  I fit.

I am only me and I know that I am taina and african and european

they are not mutually exclusive they are intertwined and merged and united

I am only me and I know that (for me)

being ucc means I am christian, love GOD, and walk towards God’s purpose

they are not mutually exclusive or inclusive they are intertwined and merged some would say

united in and by Christ’s love.

Sometimes to grow we must acknowledge the change, the merging and realize that there is so much more to who we are than just race or creed or color of skin.  We are loved by an all-powerful GOD who knows who we really are.  And as members of GOD’s household, we are GOD’s children.  I am a child of God!

Prayer Creator, fill us with your love.  Continue to enlighten us as you strengthen our ties to each other.  Grant us a hunger to be one loving family united through your sacrifice, your grace, your peace-shalom-paz.  Amen.

[1] Aurora Levins Morales and Rosaro Morales, Getting Home Alive (Ann Arbor: Firebrand Books, 1986).

Elly is Minister of Discipleship at Manantial de Gracia “Spring of Grace” in New Britain, CT and a Cooperative MDiv student at Hartford Seminary.  She also serves on the Board for the Franklinton Center at Bricks in North Carolina.