It’s no accident that the Rev. Jack Lynch and the people of San Jorge, Central Falls chose the first Sunday in Advent as the day they would become San Jorge, Pawtucket. When 92 members of the Spanish-speaking congregation gathered for their first worship service at the building they will now share with St. Luke’s, Pawtucket, they were focused not on the building they were leaving behind in Central Falls, but on new opportunities and ministry ahead. “Yo voy a empezar algo nuevo, y ya he empezado a hacerlo,” read the congregation’s Facebook page. “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)
“We have more visibility in a community that is growing more diverse while continuing to serve Central Falls,” Lynch said of the move to the building at 670 Weeden Street in Pawtucket. “It is a real opportunity for evangelism.”
Last year diocesan leaders, in concert with the leaders of San Jorge, determined that the building in Central Falls where San Jorge had worshipped for decades could not adequately be repaired. Collaboration with St. Luke’s, Pawtucket, located less than a mile away, ensued, and on Sunday, the leaders of St. Luke’s welcomed the people of San Jorge warmly, with good spirits and extra signage in Spanish. The congregation includes people of 14 different nationalities, including many immigrants from Central and South America and a number of second- and third-generation Americans.
“We are excited to work with other Episcopalians in the community,” Lynch said. “Together, we can explore new ways of doing things together in a part of Rhode Island that is changing rapidly.”
Although Lynch describes response to the new location as “very, very positive,” he knows that maintaining the congregation’s longstanding holiday traditions will be even more important this year. On Saturday at 7 p.m., San Jorge will host La Fiesta de las Velitas, a traditional Colombian celebration of the Virgin Mary’s conception. The evening will include worship and a reception with hot chocolate and sweet bread, and everyone is welcome to attend.