Mis Quince Años

Okay, so if you are a pastor in Texas perhaps this is commonplace to you.

For me it was something totally new. Perhaps I missed the day in seminary when we covered the Quinceñera service?

It was quite an honor for me to be invited to help our Associate Pastor, Edgar Palacios, preside over the Quinceñera (fifteenth birthday, for those of you who have forgotten your High School Spanish) of Susana Reyes, daughter of one of the families in our congregation.

Truth be told, it made me feel again the regret I always do when I attend a bar mitzvah . . . that we Baptists don’t have something, some rite of passage to celebrate the fast-approaching adulthood of children in our congregations.

It was a joy to see Susana so radiant, to hear her hopes for her future, to listen to her parents talk about the joy she had brought to their lives and to pray for her, that her life would embody every promise it could see right at this moment.

(The experience also made me think of The Red Tent, which is a book everyone should read . . . but that is another blog entry.)

One of the very special things about this experience was that my children were also invited to participate (see how lovely they look?), and the look of concentration on Sam’s face as he carefully hoisted his rose to be part of the canopy Susana walked through was priceless . . . along with Hannah’s careful tending of her dress (which matched with all the other girls’) and Hayden’s introduction to a cumberbund (“Hey Mom, what is this thing??!?”).

More than anything, though, I have to say the honor of being part of something so very important in the lives of a family in our church, even though I do not share their cultural traditions, became for me a moment of grace.

On this difficult journey at Calvary to meld cultures and create a place where everyone feels they can worship God, it’s not too often we embrace each other like this. Thank you, Reyes family, and happy Quinceñera Susana!

7 Comments on “Mis Quince Años

  1. Really cool, Amy! I met Mrs. Palacios in D.C. in 2003 at a conference of Every Church a Peace Church (http://www.ecapc.org/) hosted by Church of the Savior, and I met Rev. Palacios in August 2004 in L.A. at the 90th anniversary celebration of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, which I was attending with Gary Percesepe of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America.

    I haven’t seen a Quincenera since growing up in Florida. Are the Reyes any relation to Albert Reyes of the University of the Americas? Or, maybe it is a common name?

  2. What a lovely young lady, and bravo for her. And yes your children look lovely. I grew up in Fla, but I sure didn’t learn anything about it then. And no, I don’t remember seminary teaching it either. But it is a different day and age, multicultural, and we are all learning new things.

    I love The Red Tent.

    And you know I don’t think confirmation even matches this or the bar or bat mitzvahs.(Having attended a few of those.)

  3. What a lovely looking family and a beautiful girl. So cool that you got to participate.

  4. Hi Amy

    That is a wonderful Quinceñera service. It is my first time in seeing this. Every body what dress to a t. The love and care for one another was to thick you can cut with a knife.

    Her mother and father are very nice people. I got to know them so they as me to join. Before I heard about this. WoW!!! Some cake, song and a family get togather. Well didn’t know about the Quinceñera service. And for being Summer I came in with my shorts and a sports shirt on. The first person I saw was Susana in her big pink dress on. First thing on my mind. NO!!! I forget to ask how to dress. I saw Amy and Edgar and told me come on in. Yes but I whated to get under the pew. After haveing two other roll of film. Taken some great picture of the service. It was and honer to be there. Thank you for saying it ok. And next time ask how to dress next time.

    Also we all got to gether and had a wonderful diner together as a family.

    You’re Friend

  5. Thanks for your leadership in enabling us to embrace our Latino/a friends. This event meant a great deal to those of us who have watched Susana grow up at Calvary, as we have also watched the growth of Lation/a “project” as well. This wonderful event was a symbolic moment that showed the reality and the promise of what we are becoming. Rick

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