At the beginning of this year our director, Steve Thomas, was able to present in person a grant of $40,000 to Centro de Alabanza de Filadelfia congregation in Philadelphia, PA.
Centro de Alabanza, a member of Franconia Conference, is a community of faith in South Philadelphia, made up of mostly migrant families. With a weekly attendance of 120-130, this congregation has a rich diversity of members from Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, the United States, and Venezuela. As an intercultural congregation, their members not only worship together, but also care for one another across cultures as one community in Christ.
It began 12 years ago in a living room as a growth group and later started doing services in public with the Philadelphia Praise Center community. The congregation is located in a strategic place that allows them to develop several ministries with the community, such as collecting clothes and giving them to the most needy people. Centro has been developing an environment of community and brotherhood.
The congregation is unusually active in its life and work together—with worship services on Sundays and Tuesdays, Bible studies on Thursdays and Saturdays, women's service groups, weekly youth meetings, and focused outreach in their community. Their youth meet weekly for fellowship and study and frequently help lead worship and distribute food in the community. The church is also active with Instituto Bíblico Anabautista (Anabaptist Biblical Institute). A significant part of their ministry is providing a safe place amid drugs, gangs, violence, racism and anti-immigrant attitudes in their community and meeting the needs of immigrants in their neighborhoods.