Ceremonia de Inauguración del Centro de Transformación Social de León de Judá

A propósito de Misiones

Boston, MA- La celebración de inauguración oficial del Centro de Transformación Social de León de Judá, se dio a conocer martes 16 de marzo del 2010, de 11:00 AM a 12 PM en el mismo edificio, localizado en el 62 de Northampton Street, Boston, Massachusetts. >>> VER VIDEO <<< (en ingles).

El Centro de Transformación Social fue establecido por la Congregación León de Judá en el 2010 para cumplir su visión de educar, servir y preparar a las familias, jóvenes e individuos de todo Massachusetts, a través de una variedad de programas designados para infundir esperanza en nuestra comunidad.

“Nos da un placer el por fin poder abrir este gran recurso a nuestra comunidad. Este nuevo edificio ha sido concebido como un lugar para llevar a cabo nuestra misión de ser una congregación transformadora en la ciudad de Boston. Esperamos con anhelo los muchos años de servicio, por medio de nuestros programas que operarán desde nuestro Centro de Transformación Social”. Dijo Roberto Miranda, Pastor de la Congregación León de Judá.

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning to everybody. We welcome you once again into Congregation Lion of Judah as we celebrate the ribbon cutting for our Social Transformation Center. We want to welcome all those elected officials that are with us, all of our colleague pastors, neighbors, funders and all of those who are part of our family here in Lion of Judah. And all the different ministries and services that we do, we welcome all of you. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us and to celebrate this moment that is so important and so significant for us as a life of the church. And without any further notice I would like to welcome our pastor, Dr Roberto Miranda, to come up as well and give some words of welcome to all of us.

Good morning everyone. Blessings to you all. I just wanted to take a very brief preliminary moment to thank you all for coming. We are so aware that you are taking precious time from your ministries, social involvements and politically important energies and dedicating all of that to us and to our desire to celebrate and to thank God for the blessing of our new Social Transformation Center. Just want to take a moment, later on I’ll have an opportunity to share a couple comments, to thank you and to express our delight to have each of you here. We do not take this honor likely and we thank God for each of you, for all the creativity and the benevolence, let’s put it that way, that is represented here today. So, thank you for coming and we have brief program. We are so aware that many of you have to leave soon so we’re just thankful that you have taken the time to be here. But we do hope to somehow add to your life through brief comments that we are going to make, just a kind of reminiscing of what God has done throughout these years of building and preparing. So, thank you for coming and again our joy and our honor to have you here.

Thank you pastor Miranda. My brothers, as you may know of course, this is a ministry that will be extended to our community, the Social Transformation Center is going to be offering so many services for people here around the community. But we also acknowledge that this is a faith based kind of initiative as well, and because we are church we want to take a time also to give a word of invocation and for that I would like to invite our beloved Gideon, Bishop Gideon Thomson to come up and bless us with a word of invocation.

Let’s stand together. Our Father we thank you most of all for the power of your presence. You’ve taught that where two or three gather together in your name, there you are in our midst. And we don’t have to pray you up and down, you already here. And you are here, Lord, in this vision that you’ve given this pastor and this people, and Lord we thank you for the vision of transformation, the desire to take the Gospel into a community and see it transformed. We thank you for that vision. We know that without it people perish and we thank you Lord, for the vision of instilling love and hope because of our faith into this community. We thank you Lord, for the vision of establishing an educational resource center in this building and ……for facilitating integration of Boston emigrates and for …… empowering Latino youth to make healthy choices and lead productive lives. And the many other ministries of hope and transformation that will be taking place, operating out of this facility. Lord, we give you glory, we know that vision doesn’t come from us, it comes from you. You said that in the last days you’ll pour out your spirit upon all flesh and that sons and daughters would prophesy, all men would dream dreams and young men receive visions. And Lord, we thank you that because of the power and the anointing of your Holy Spirit, you have infused this ministry with vision, and we are so glad to be connected to Roberto Miranda and with Lion of Judah, Lord, we thank you for the vision of this church that is a part of your church, a church Lord, that spans the globe, the body of Christ we are so glad to be connected. Thank you Lord for the unity. Thank you Father for this vision. Thank you Father for this building that will be used to your glory to transform this region of the Kingdom, in Jesus name, amen.

Amen. Thank you pastor Thomson. You may be seated, please. At this moment I would like to invite pastor Sam Acevedo, he’s going to be giving us some remarks as well with regards with everything that will be taking place. So, pastor Sam would you like, please come up here to the front.

I told Bishop Thomson and several other clergy who are here, gosh, with all this clergy, maybe we should have a huge prayer meeting. And some of you non clergy kind of took a wind of that, how long is this going to be today? So, in an effort deliberately to keep my remarks brief I’ve prepared some remarks. So permit me to read from this, please.

It’s good to be among friends. And because I’m among friends I need not go into details as to what the Boston high educational resource center is or what we do. Many of you are familiar with our work. We are a faith based program under the covering, in fact, the ministry an extension of the Congregation Lion of Judah created to propel primarily Latino youth and their families towards college and then to succeed in college, break the cycle of poverty and do great things in their community. And we do it through a free AST program that many of you are aware you, that serves about 150 students a year from 32 Boston public schools, we do it through our city passage one and one mentoring program, through our passport program, a cohort of 20 juniors and 20 seniors who complete and intensive two year college curriculum that for the first time is being offered inside a Boston public school this year, at the …. Quincy Upper School this spring. And through programs aimed at adults, such as the ESO program that serves 150 primarily Latinos each year from throughout our community, many of them new Bostononians, and we do it well. 100% of our passport graduates have gone on to college and 9 out of 10 of them are graduating from college. All total over 900 young people who have passed through our doors now through these doors have gone on to college.

I do not get many opportunities however to explain why we do this. Why do the people of …., And I think I could speak for the ministries here today as well, Alpha and Vale Esperar, and the other ministries that are not in this program, why do we do what we do? At a breakfast 9 years ago I once remarked to Mayor Menina that the people who worked at the Boston HERC do not work for me, they work for God and it is this motivation that explains the power behind social transformation as practiced in this center. HERC, like this building that is now its home straddles a world between the utterly holy, the noble and unspeakably beautiful glory of God, complete with his anointing and his power, represented by this sanctuary that you are all gracing with your presence, and this community, a community with generations afflicted by layers of pain represented by lack, lack of education, lack of opportunity, and a preponderance of poverty and laws and institutions that leave hordes outside looking in and there is no vision among them as Bishop Thomson prayed earlier. No vision that things could be different, no clue. And God has called us, all of us, HERC, Alpha, Vale esperar, God has called us to them.

We do this for God. The people who work here receive their inspiration for the heartbeat of God and their instructions from the wind of the spirit. And we believe that the Lord is saying to us today, I’ve heard your prayers, I’ve seen your sacrifice and I’m giving you a home, a place where I will dwell so that from here you may continue to build the broken walls of this city and the broken hearts of its people and in this way you will bring me glory. We do it for God. And we do it for Gabriela Betanzas who is an incarnation of this mission. Gabriela, born in the Dominican Republic, a student of Boston Magnet School will be the first in her family to go to college, and when she does, everything will change. Neither Gabriela nor the generations that follow her will be the same and we call that transformation. Please welcome Gabriela Betanzas.

My family started going to León de Judá when I was 7 or 8 years old. A few years later I began serving as an usher and being so young I did not fully understand the true meaning of what I was doing. As I got older I was able to see more and more how serving as an usher meant not only serving others but serving God. This is something that carries over to other areas of my life. I was talking to pastor Sam the other day, and something he said spoke to me. Coming to the United States from a foreign country and not knowing how to speak a word of English is difficult. Everything that you know cannot be verbalized because of a filter, language. This same filter also keeps you from fully understanding what is going on around you. As a first generation college student I didn’t truly know the language of colleges, what I should be looking for in a college, what the transition process looked like and how to really get there? Most if not all of the responsibility was mine. I had many resources available to me, but I was the one who had to take advantage of them. HERC, of course, was one of them.

Through the passport program I learned the language of colleges, the program provided me with the tools necessary to have a more successful college search and college application process. The passport program allowed me to acquire life scales, but most of all passport taught me how to better serve God. Something I realized as an usher is that I serve God through anything I do, and that includes having a fruitful education. By facilitating the college process the passport program has let me through the transition of serving God in high school to serving God in college for the next 40 years. This is why I am most grateful to passport for and I recognize how blessed I am to have had the opportunity to participate in passport through HERC.

This related to all my other blessings. I am blessed to be part of such a wonderful family. I’m blessed to be part of a church community at León de Judá. I’m blessed to be part of the 375th graduation class of the prestigious Boston Latin School. Most of all I’m blessed to be the daughter of the true and living God. My family, my friends, my school, my church, HERC and God all have provided me with support, and bring the next 4 years within me, I have everything I need to be successful. Amen.

Thank you Grabriela. As you may see transformation is a key part of our ministry here in Lion of Judah. It’s transformation that happens in so many way and so many venues. And one of those venues has to do also with Alpha, the agency that is established here in the church which offers different services to our immigrant community here in the city of Boston, and we even dare to say beyond Boston as well. So, here to speak on behalf of Alpha I would like to welcome the director of programs Damaris López.

Good morning. I would like to start by thanking all of our friends, allies, mentors and supporters for accepting the invitation and for being here. This is great. Agency Alpha was founded years ago as a desire to fulfill true fundamental values of this church, to create a transforming ministry and to get involved in the community. As a social ministry of Lion of Judah we work to integrate the immigrant community into our main society. Not only for our members to be active members in their communities but also for them to be able to reach their goals and dreams. As a matter of fact, Alpha stand in Spanish for ‘Alcanzando logros para hispanos ahora’, ‘Reaching goals for Latinos today’. And we do this through our branches of work: number one, education, such as citizenship and financial classes, worships, our weekly radio program and now informing and getting involved with the census.

Last year we graduated 80 students from our classes, from our financial classes, and a hundred students from our citizenship program, and all of them passed the interview. We have a hundred new citizens. Our second branch is the social service. We have a legal immigration department, the Alpha Immigrant Center, which will be accredited by the Board of Immigration this year, and whose director, Vilma Galvez, has more than 15 years of experience. We provide translation, interpreters, in all the public services.

Last year alone we were able to assist 4000 cases in this department. And something beautiful about this department is that it is not limited to the immigrant community from Latin America. We serve people from Nepal, from Russia, from Haiti, from Afghanistan. There is something funny, one of our clients is so thankful of the work that Vilma was doing and his family that he works for the Arabic paper here in Boston and he gave us, he placed an ad, free, every month in his newspaper, and it’s nice to see our names in Arabic. So, I got to say that, that was pretty nice.

And the third branch is the advocacy branch, where we advocate for a just and human immigration reform, by working with many organizations and institutions at the local estate and national level, many of which are represented here today.

Patricia Sobabaro, our executive director has travelled to different Latin American countries in order to have conversations with leaders about how to fix, how to find solutions for the immigration issue, not only here but across the world.

Today we have invited Ram and Nilan, I’m just going to ask you to please stand up, you don’t need come, Ram and Nilan, are from Nepal and they are living testimonies of our legal department service. Thank you. Thank you. They went through the citizenship process with us, were able to vote in the United States, and were able to be reunited with their kids. Now, one of their kids, their son I understand, is working as a translator in the International Institute in Boston. So they are already giving back to the community.

During these years of experience the Alpha team has understood that part of our call, besides of providing services to our community, is to represent the best values of our Christian faith in our community. We have learned to preach the Gospel through our actions and to be part of the challenging call of the church, here I refer to the church as a Church with a capital C, not only for Lion of Judah but the Church with a capital C, of letting the voice of the Church to be present and be heard at every single level in our society. Either by extending a hand, to give one who is need, or maybe by advocating for the one is being oppressed, or by working with those who represent our government to find solutions which are so much needed in our society.

As one of our mentors would say, we are learning to be agents of reconciliation. Something else, we have learned to celebrate these small victories and for that reason today we celebrate the fact that we have a new home. We’re excited. We will be able to provide a better environment for clients, to extent our services and of course to offer a better place for long meetings with our allies in the community. We know how long those meetings can be. You know we try to fix the world.

So, on behalf of the Alpha team I want to thank all of our friends and allies for teaching us. We have learned so much from you, from writing a press release to mobilizing hundreds and thousands of people. We want to thank the media for always covering our work and for echoing our service. We want to thank our governmental leaders for listening to our needs and for committing themselves to find solutions. We want to thank our financial supporters for really believing in us and for investing in our work. And we want to thank of course our pastors, our mentors, for always praying for us, for their words of encouragement and for keeping us in track. Thank you.

Thank you very much Damaris for those words. I think that another big part that see on this is that we reach our ministry to different generations. We reach out to adults, of first, second generation, but we also do a lot of work with young people as Gabriela was one of those examples. And another one of the programs that we have here is called Vale esperar, if I translate that it would be, It’s worth the wait. Am I translating right? Vale esperar is a program that focuses also on Latino youth, on providing them with options with living healthy lifestyle and to make good decisions in their lives. And in order to speak more on behalf of Vale esperar, we’d like to welcome Jasiel Fernández who is the director of Vale esperar.

Good morning. On behalf of people I work in Lion of Judah and the congregation Lion of Judah I really want to thank you for coming to share with us this really amazing occasion where we have this building that we can use to help a lot of good people from our church and people from our community. So thank you very much.

So, Vale esperar is basically a young empowerment movement, that’s how we call it. We want to help our young people specifically between the ages of 12 and 18 years old to learn the benefits of a healthy relationship and to then take that and transport it into healthy marriages by giving them the option of delaying sexual activity until they are married. So, it’s definitely a new concept for a lot of our young people given that our society is bombarding them with sexual content, and sexual images and everything that is sexual in their lives.

And so we are trying to provide them with the option of knowing that they have a choice, they have a choice and that they can make healthier choices towards their life and their future. Our motto is, the choices that you make now will affect you later. And we want to make sure that they know that, because throughout the lessons there is a lot going on and there’s a lot in the young people’s minds. And it’s good for them to know that they have a choice, that they can make a choice and they can delay sexual activity until they are married, and that that is the best choice for them. We also want them to learn what a healthy relationship looks like respect, boundaries and communication that is effective in and out of our boyfriend, girlfriend relationship, that they can bring to their jobs, to their interpersonal relationships anywhere they are. So, we’re really, really pumped about this program, basically the baby of the Social Transformation Center here, and we live through a grant from the community based abstinence education program from the Department of Health and Human Services and also Copani, Confraternidad de Pastores Hispanos de Nueva Inglaterra, and a network of churches and community organizations and leaders that help us do what we do.

We are right now in Boston, Providence island and we’re working to infiltrate the market in Hartford, Connecticut, with lots of churches there also that have accepted our message. We are also a parent training entity. We train parents to be able to communicate better with their youth. We also want to bring a component of capacity building for the churches and community organizations so that they can have this message, they can get the skills and their youth workers with their …… to train motto can keep this information and all the skills that we bring and then sustain that message for the generations that will come and also have the young people participating who will become the leaders that will then train other youth in this message and in this program. So, we are really excited about what’s happening with Vale esperar. So far we’ve trained over one thousand youth in the area of Boston and Rhode Island, we have trained over 300 parents, 3000 I hope soon, 300 parents and we have about 91 churches that are working with us right now. so, we’re really looking forward to a long, long track of success with Vale esperar and we ask you for your prayers, for your support, we want our young people to hear this message from all aspects of their community, both parents and community leaders with their peers and also from the people they see as raw models which are all of you. So please, please make sure that you give this message to our youth, talking with them and encouraging them to have dreams and hopes and that they can wait for a better future by delaying sexual activity until they are married. Thank you.

Part of our idea of transformation is rooted on this crucial believe that God wants to give an abundant life to everybody. And today we also have a testimony of a young woman who is an example of that precisely. And I have the privilege of presenting to you this young woman that I’ve worked with also in my life here in Lion of Judah, she is a graduate of the Boston Arts Academy, she is also a graduate of the passport program here in HERC and now she is studying at Berkley School of Music with a full scholarship. She is a great servant of God, she’s got a beautiful spirit and today she’s going to be delighting first the Lord and also all of us with a song that she’s going to be performing and she will be accompanied also by Miguel Perez, who is also another graduate of the Berkley School of Music. So with you I leave Cristina Rodríguez.

Brothers and sisters, God bless you. This is a great day and I feel the joy of the Lord right now just seeing everybody in this room, the leaders that God is bringing up in Boston and God put in my heart today to sing this song that’s called No Sacrifice by …… and I just encourage you guys to listen to the words and just put this new building and put this church, put it all in God’s hands. Amen.

Do you …. My life and not just the parts I want to

Do you ….. these dreams that I hold on to

your thoughts are higher than mine

your words are deeper than mine

your love is stronger than mine

this is no sacrifice, here’s my life.

Do you ….. the gifts, your love given me

How can I hold the treasures that you’ve …. For free

Because your thoughts are higher than mine

your words are deeper than mine

your love is stronger than mine

this is no sacrifice, here’s my life.

Do you ….. my future as long as it may last

Do you …. My present to you I give my past

Because your thoughts are higher than mine

your words are deeper than mine

your love is stronger than mine

this is no sacrifice, here’s my life.

Thank you Cristina again. One more time ladies and gentlemen, as we move into the most important part of this ceremony, I would like to invite one more time our pastor, Dr Roberto Miranda with the ending of this moment.

Maybe the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning, something like that. Let me just once more thank all of you for being here this morning and just register for those who came after my initial reading, our joy, delight, sense of honor, the fact that you have chosen to be here with us this morning.

A couple of thoughts that are jumping in my head. I’m trying to put them in the proper sequence. Number one, I’ll let you know a little secret, about 5 days ago in one of the last meeting that we had with this wonderful group of leaders, by the way, who has been putting this stuff together, and I’m so blessed to have a great team of dedicated men and women who really carry humanly speaking this church, and its work here in the community, we got together and I started panicking. Man of little faith that I am, I said, are they going to come? And I wasn’t sure whether you guys would show up because we had at that point had too many responses and so on, but here you are and I think my problem right now is that I’d to recognize and acknowledge so many of you individually, who honor us, bless us, support us, hold up our hands, tolerate us, encourage us, fund us, pray for us, work alongside us, and I know that I would make a big mess if I started doing that because I would not mention some very, very wonderful people, so please, just collectively know that as a church and myself as a senior pastor, we’re so aware of what each of you represents for our congregation and for this city, and we’re honored to have you here in this place this morning. Receive our blessing, receive our sense of welcome, appreciation, deep gratitude for all the wonderful things that you do and I’m just thankful to the Lord this morning that this congregation, this Latino congregation can be a part of this marvelous assemblage of gifting, talent, goodwill, rich energy and kindness and love towards our community, so thank you, receive that. And why don’t you give yourselves a one big applause in a good Pentecostal way. We bless you, I can’t give it to you, but receive it, it’s as if our congregation were applauding you and your presence here and the amazing work that you do here in this community.

As I heard these various leaders make their remarks, a thought came to my mind. There’s a wonderful chorus that evangelicals sing, I could sing of your love, I could sing of your love forever. Cantaré de tu amor por siempre, in Spanish. My problem was that there are so many thoughts that came rushing to my mind, so many memories of the journey that we have followed, that I could really take too much time to mention many of the things that came to my head, as I sat there.

But thankfully for you I will repress that impulse and I will be really brief, you know. We came to Boston about 13, 14 years ago to this city, to this place, after having been 15 years in the city of Cambridge. And what brought us here was a vision which we believe was from God, and a calling to better place ourselves more strategically locate ourselves in the midst of our Latino community and I will nuance that a little bit in a second, because of the fragile nature of so many of our people we just felt that for them to be able to make the shift from here in the major portion of Boston too, we were across the river in Cambridge for sedate, civil, quiet Cambridge was too much of a jump. And so we said, you know, if Mohamed doesn’t go to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohamed.

We wanted to serve our community, we wanted to be a blessing to our community. So we started praying and the Lord lead, really, in a very deliberate sort of way to this building which was a kitchen cabinet exhibit center, a very innoble beginning for what would become a place for worship and of service to the Kingdom of God, but we came here and bought this building in the end of 93, spent 3 years rehabbing it and renovating it and then moved in in 1997, December of 1997.

I swore that I would never again get involved in another renovation project for as long as I lived. Well, barely had we finished that one and the possibility of acquiring this property which we had been lusting for several years, that is the word really, became available. The building was an abandoned apartment building with an abandoned pharmacy in the bottom with several abandoned buildings all around us. And we prayed to the Lord that he would allow us to occupy that place, because even as we began the journey here we knew that God was going to bless us and open up other avenues.

We came here to serve our community, not just within the 4 walls and not just with the very rigid limited understanding of what ministry is, but really trying to amplify the understanding of love and service and of giving God’s message to a community that goes beyond just mere worship and raising a lot of dust within 4 walls, but really reaching out to the community, involving ourselves with it and sharing what God has given us, graciously and freely as we have been blessed by him.

So, we by multitude of divine interventions we were able to acquire that building. We didn’t have the money to rehab but we said, you know, God will provide. And so God has been good. It’s been a long journey.

And sometimes I’m inclined to think that this process of renovating all the buildings, and by the way, I’ve fallen in love with brick buildings, 19 century industrial buildings that incorporate so much the history of Boston, they are solid, noble structures that are still able to give so much. And I believe that the Lord over these years has allowed to work in these buildings with soi much labor, difficulty, effort, generosity on the part of so many people, and I’m inclined to think that we have been engaged not just in the material process of renovating all structures, but also there’s been a prophetic labor as well of rebuilding, reconstructing, which is a symbol of the reconstruction and the rebuilding of our communities, broken communities, dysfunctional areas of our communities that are so rich, so laden with potential and so capable of blessing our nation and yet somehow they are unable many times to yield the blessings and the potential, the riches that God has given us, given them.

And so as we work and labor physically to turn the structures into functional places for service and for worship, I believe that we have also been prophetically working out God’s desire to rebuild our communities and to turn them into fully, functional, rich contributing members of the larger community.

One of the things that has given us the light, is that we came here with the idea of serving the Latino community. We saw ourselves in a very limited way, as only capable of serving our community, really that was the sort of implicit paradigm that we were operating on, and yet as soon as we got here God opened opportunities to serve the African American community, the Muslim community, to work together with the Anglo European community and we began to establish some wonderful, enriching partnerships with African American churches, with the black ministry alliance, with intervarsity ministries oriented to campuses and campus crusade, with other social service agencies, nuestra comunidad, and other agencies that work here, secular agencies, and work hand in hand, acknowledging that they are a manifestation of the grace of God as well, as we are in a more perhaps evident way, but they also manifest the goodness of God as they work to build lives.

We are so aware of that, we’re not the only kid on the block, and we’re not the only thing in town. We are grateful for the capacity to work alongside all those wonderful social service agencies that enrich us. We have be able to partner with Mayor Meninos office and with many different elements of the political establishment here in Boston that I believe that we are one of the exceptional cities to have a City Hall that is like really engaged in a very powerful way with the community and you know, we bless our elected officials from the governor down to Mayor Meninos to all those who are here, we thank you for your presence here. We are delighted and honored and want you to know that you have our respect as well and our blessing and prayer, that the Lord might give you wisdom and energy and all the things that you need to carry out the work that I know that you want to carry out. So, we’re thankful for you as well.

And that’s given us great pleasure and we thank the Lord for that. These partnerships that you represent, so the Lord expanded our paradigm to show us, no, you don’t really have enough oil to light a bit of the Latino darkness, you can also light some of the other darkness that is impinging upon the city of Boston. So we’ve blessed by that and we’ve been blessed to have brothers and sisters of all color, ethnic groups, different religious convictions, working together with us and that has enriched us, has expanded us, challenged us, and I believe that a lot of wonderful things have come out of that. So, we bless the Lord for this partnership between the sacred and the secular, between the black and the Latino, and the Anglo European, between just the social service ministry and the philanthropies and federal government and between money that sometimes not used properly and that somehow can also be turned for the purpose of the Kingdom of God, that’s beautiful and you know, it’s been enriching for us and I know as a congregation we have been learning every day throughout this whole process.

I’m coming to the end. We have been working on this building for close to ten years since the moment that we acquired it. It’s been a journey, it’s been a saga, much labor. I’m thankful to the Lord for men like Mario Ulloa who, really the Lord took out of the woodwork and turned into a significant resource, a member of our congregation, subcontractors from our congregation and from the outside, who have seen the vision and said, you know, we’re going to work for you for peanuts in order to enable this vision.

I think of a Jewish 84 year old plumber who has worked with us and he sat on a milk crate while led apprentices so that he could charge us the minimum amount to do all the plumbing work in this building. He didn’t have to be here, but he gave what he could. That blessed us because he belongs to another tradition and yet he saw the goodness that could emanate from that building, so he decided to give his talent, saving us thousands and thousands of dollars. And I know that that meant to the Lord more than just the work that he gave, also that bridging of different groups and this mysterious working of goodness through God and through his congregation.

So, it’s been a long journey and you can see, I hope, through the building in a second the care that has gone into it. Thank the Lord for every ounce, every iota of energy that has gone into this building and all the unsung heroes, and literally blood that is behind the nice walls that you see, people banged their thumbs or fell every once in a while, scrape the knee, thankfully it wasn’t much more than that, but people have put in their life blood, their energy, their vision into this building. So it incarnates so much goodness and gives me great pleasure that out of it, I think, already it’s beginning to emerge all the great beauty that some of these young people here who were leading these area ministries hopefully reflect.

So, we are thankful to the Lord for that. And I’ll leave you with one image that came to my mind as I was sitting there, that perhaps summarizes the entire journey and the reasons and the ethos that is behind our efforts.

In scripture, in the Old Testament there is a narrative of Moses in the desert, in the journey of the Israelites into the promised land, and it says in that narrative, and relax, I won’t preach more than just two more minutes. It says in that narrative that as the people were journing towards the promised land, Amalec, which was a very hostile tribe which throughout the history has been interpreted by many as an incarnation of evil, of that which militates against life and against the purposes of God, demonic energy, that came behind the Israelites and started attacking through the fragile, the elderly and the young who were behind all the way back there, and starting wrecking havoc among the Israelites and tried to destroy them and prevent them from entering into the promised land.

And Moses was taken to a high mountain where he began to intercede and lift his hands before the Lord to invoke God’s intervention in Israel’s defense. And there on the ground, at the level of Amalec’s attack, was Joshua with the army waging battle and resisting against this demonic force that wanted to destroy the people of Israel and prevent them from entering into their calling and their inheritance.

And it says that, as Moses kept his arms raised before God Joshua, who was waging the battle at the material level, on the ground, prevailed against this demonic power and was able to keep it at bay and even begin to destroy it. And I’ve always been struck by this partnership between the spiritual and the material, both are necessary. Communities need places of worship, communities places that will invoke the blessing of God upon the city. Our battle, as Christians we believe, and also I think a lot of other traditions, is not merely against flesh or blood, is not merely against socio economic systems, against structures of injustice, against historic or political or material enemies, there is also more than that. I think that in this world as people of the spirit we believe that there are powers and forces much more powerful than we and with a lot more experience and insight that we have, demonically oriented but indeed very knowledgeable and we cannot prevail against that power which is what contaminates the super structure of society and so places of worship and of invoking God’s good, benevolence are necessary and there need to be those places like Moses on the mountain with our hands raised praying and acknowledging with humility that we are but dust, that there are other powers that need to be brought in into the human realm.

But that’s not all: we need social service agencies, we need Joshuas, we need politicians getting their hands dirty, it’s a big challenge. We need young people from the church entering the political realm and entering the challenges that politics offer and the risks and the corrupting influences that come with that as well. But we need the men there, there’s no other place to go. We need that. We need as I said, the social service agencies, secular and faith oriented, working at those levels. We need business men and people who work in the health service field, we need doctors, we need all the gama of human gifting, working together some on the mountain, some on the level of Amalec, hand to hand combat. And these two energies need to cooperate and need to respect each other and work hand in hand, and learn how to respect each other because the temptation is for each one of to look towards the other and look with suspicion and that’s an inclination that we all have. I acknowledge it myself, but I’m in struggle and I’m intention and I keep praying and seeking illumination.

But the point is when as Moses kept his hands raised, his hands grew weary, his arms began to fall and it took a couple of his assistants to come and hold his hands the entire day until he was able to prevail completely and Joshua was able to destroy Amalec, and the people of God were able to then journey forward into their calling of blessing and abundance. You are people of understanding so I won’t belabor the metaphor. I think that God wants us working together, that team image of Moses being held up by his arms by his assistance is really what we need to do with each other. What Lion of Judah wants to do with the rest of the community, we’re not the only show on town, we gladfully confess that and thankfully. We want to be held up by your arms and we hopefully will hold up your arms and we will pray in the mountain and we will also struggle on the desert as well with Amalec. We’re all people of goodness and people of benevolence who are all seeking the goodness of the city, the blessing of the city.

So, this morning we celebrate the partnership that God has enabled, Lion of Judah and all of you, to retain and hopefully to cultivate the next few years. This place is just a resource, it’s a space, and spaces will acquire the form and the content of whatever goes into, we hope that that’s a good content, good energy. We’re thankful to the Lord that he has allowed to be a part of that.

So, we bless you all, we thank you for again being a part of our work together. I will ask Larry Mace, our dear Mayor Menino, was not able to make it, I think he is conquering his own monsters today and at the last minute he was not able to be here with us, but we bless him and we thank him for his work in the city, and Larry is a worthy representative of that joint venture of sacred and secular, he is a man of faith and has done a wonderful work in both dimensions, and is doing great work.

So, I think he is a fitting, fitting representative of this partnership this morning and we’re honored to have you and the city behind you, Larry, you’ve been a friend of our congregation and we thank you and Tony Barrows, and counselor Arroyo and so many others who are here representing the city. We thank the Lord for these elected officials that have blessed us throughout the years.

And brother, again, you have this challenge of helping us to cut this ribbon symbolically. It’s not a big undertaking. You don’t have to just rip it apart, I’m sure you’re very capable of doing that as your size suggests, but we do have some scissors to make it easier for you, ok? It’s just a symbolic way of saying, these doors are open to the community and to the Lord and the spirit and for whatever you may want to do. So, thank you for being here. I don’t know if you have a word.

Well, first of all, let’s give a rally of applause to Dr Miranda, to this church Lion of Judah. You know, it’s always difficult to follow a man of God, a preacher, I’ve learned long ago because I come from a line of ministers and that sort of thing, but I’m not, I’ve to state my thoughts now are not heavenly right now, my thought are more carnal. I know there’s some food to be had so we’re going to cut this short, I’ll say a few things and I’ll cut the ribbon and then we’re going to go to it, right. Ok?

Anyway, good morning from Mayor Menino and his staff, I’m so happy to be here today. I was just taking yesterday that, you know, if I had any…. I could be so more critical around things but after the last three days with the water, I truly believe there was s Noah and there was a flood, right? I mean, it had to be right? So, the Mayor is also experiencing flooding in his home, I’m experiencing the same thing in many of the folks at the City Hall, maybe some of you, but, I want to take one quick moment to announce to people that are here from the City Hall just to stand very quickly so I can acknowledge, so will you please stand Tony Barrows, ….., please stand, counselor please stand, elected officials, Evelyn, where’s Evelyn? I saw her earlier today. Evelyn please stand. Tremendous.

This is an important dedication and I was reminded of this last night. I was reading an article in the Atlantic monthly and the title of the article was “How a new jobless era would transform America”. It was written by …. Editor of the Atlantic Monthly, Don Beck. And in this article he talked about the lack of jobs and employment and how it will have a negative effect on our society in years to come, that you will not necessarily notice it today, but it will have potentially a destabilizing effect on our families, on our marriages, on our children, and the things that we hold dear. That is why a transformational center in this community grounded here is so important to the lives of the children and families who reside here. It is not a small matter that a transformation center is here to deal with the issues of education, if our children are not educated today and real education there is no chance for them. There are so many young people that I deal with, so many young men and women that I deal with who are completely, completely lost if not for some kind of intervention and transformation in their lives.

Doctor Mary Castells has written about, written a trilogy and it talks about the transformation of flows, it talks about the network society and I can go on and on about this step, and I teach urban studies, but let me tell you something. Every class that is done here, being substance abuse, being education, being community, being computer classes is making a difference. Those thousand young people who have come through those classes here in HERC, bring them back if you can, bring them back to help transform this community. It is a big, big deal.

So I want to thank you so much for inviting me today, you’ll probably say, oh my God he works for the Mayor. I do, the Mayor has…….. we tend to follow him, and again I want to get to the real part that is dedication, cut the ribbons and again, I want to thank you so much Dr Miranda for having us, and again, I want to thank so much for the people who have come out here today to support you and all the work that you do. Thank you so much.

Actually, it’s real gold so we’ve got to be very careful. So why don’t you stand for a moment and wish blessing as Larry cuts this ribbon and just, give it a quick shot there.

I want to say one thing. The……

Amen, amen. Praise God, amen. We just, thank you and now I’m going to ask pastor Sergio Perez of Copani to come by and give us one final word of prayer and dedication to the Lord of this beautiful center and we do hope that at the end of this moment many of you, if not all of you, will have a moment just to come by, enjoy some snacks, a little bit of time together and we also have some tours available for any of you who might be able to stay and just show you the various floors of the building and already some of the things that are happening there. We’ll try to be very quick and informative. We’d love to be able to show off this beautiful structure that we give God the glory for and we dedicate to him.

So, pastor Perez, who is vice president of the Fraternity of the fellowship of Latino pastors of New England, to just give a word of prayer.

Thank you. It’s a great privilege to be here with Dr Roberto Miranda, Lion of Judah, all the leadership and all of you and I learned this from a minister and businessman, he says that a good deal, a good business, a good businessman always asks when he’s doing a great deal, I know what’s for me on that deal, but I’m also interesting in knowing what’s for you. And we have won this first hand, how this church and your leadership has in a very sacrificial way and unconditional way rendering the service to God and to the community. But this is what is for the leadership, this is what is from God to the church and all those people who believe in serving the community. It is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen to lose the chains of injustice and unite the course of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke. It is not to share your food with the hungry, and to provide the poor wonderer with shelter. When you see the naked you clothe him and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood. Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear, then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call and the Lord will answer, you will cry for help and he will say, here I am. And if you spend yourself on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the moon day. The Lord will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame, you will be like a well watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Father God we welcome your presence to the social transformation center. We welcome you Holy Spirit, fill this place every room, every office, every corner, every hallway, every floor, fill it with your presence, meet the needs of the people, you are the only who can bring true satisfaction and accomplishment to every life. We thank you for the instruments that you are using, we all give you the honor and the glory and we welcome your presence from here and for ever. May your glory shine upon this place in the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. Amen.

Ladies and gentlemen you are all welcomed now to please pass by to our Social transformation Center building and again, remember that there will be tours that will be guided in case that you want to pass by and get to know more of the building, there were will be staff there to guide you. So please by all means, take your time, go on to this other side of the building. We have some refreshments as well for you so you are all welcome to come and share this moment with us.



BUEN DIA NO SE SI ESTOY SEGURO SI EL PASTOR sergio perez nacio en guatemala me gustaria saberlo si alguien me puede dar esa in formacion. gracias. No se si es de una familia cristiana que vivio en la zona 11 colonia toledo eso para mi seria una gran sorpresa y felicidad. mi correo es sadelcid@yahoo.com

segio del cid perez

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