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Buechel UMC Christmas Eve service a melting pot of races, cultures, languages

The Kentucky Annual Conference sent a representative to our Christmas Eve service and he wrote this article:

LOUISVILLE – Buechel UMC’s congregation and pastors believe worship should include everyone – all races, nationalities, languages – coming together to praise and glorify Christ. Just the way heaven will look.

A little slice of heaven was on display Monday night at the church, as nearly 100 people gathered for a multicultural candlelight Christmas Eve service, with the church’s Anglo, Hispanic and African members – and anyone else who walked through the church doors – coming together to celebrate Christ’s birth.

Special music was offered in English, Spanish, Swahili and French. The hour long service was almost all laity-led, with only a short meditation by Senior Pastor Katie Lloyd.

Pastor Jose Gonzalez, who oversees the Hispanic worship, sat in the control booth for most of the service, providing Spanish translation. Pastor Kevin Uyisenga, a native of the African nation of Rwanda, was available to translate into Swahili.

After Communion, the service culminated with a candlelight singing of “Silent Night,” with congregants given the opportunity to sing in one of four languages. It was a powerful moment.

Afterward, Rev. Lloyd told the congregation to look around at the different people – who really didn’t look all that different from one another bathed in the light of the candles. Remember that unity when things get difficult later, she urged the congregation.

“The goal is to do that more,” Rev. Lloyd said of the multicultural gathering. She has been senior pastor at Buechel since July, but the church’s multicultural emphasis isn’t new, she said in an interview last week. The church is located in a working-class neighborhood of southeast Louisville but draws from various parts of the city.

“We really see our vision as not the English-speaking church that hosts other congregations, but a church to be a house of prayer for all nations,” Rev. Lloyd said.

“We are grateful to be in this position,” said Rev. Uyisenga, who has been at Buechel since 2015 and became an assistant pastor at the church in 2017.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work to get folks to understand the message and the vision of this church,” he said.

“It’s a beautiful thing.”

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