As I drove into the city limits of Montgomery, I began to reminisce about the small farm town I grew up in. There’s just this feeling about a place whose existence is so focused on crops and/or livestock.
As I wound my way through the small town streets, I really did not need the address dialed into my GPS. Like most every other hamlet of this ilk the town’s flow gravitates toward the hub, the park. Montgomery’s Memorial Park, with its baseball diamond, horseshoe pits and picnic tables, was certainly no exception.
The park was mainly vacant on this Sunday afternoon. That was until two women, a grown daughter and her mother, walked up to my car and said with a Spanish accent, “Are you the bishop?!”
In short order more and more people began to arrive, including a strong cadre of Southeastern Minnesota Episcopalians. And soon the sleepy park was transformed into a place of worship and fellowship.
For 20 years Episcopalians in this neck of the woods, through the faith community of La Misión el San José Obrero, have engaged God’s mission by using their gifts for ministry to provide hospitality to migrant workers at the local processing plant.
To accommodate the two twelve hour shifts there is a 3:30 pm worship followed by dinner for those who are about to begin their 12-hour shift and a 7:00 pm dinner followed by worship for those who have just finished working 12 hours.
“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one and another in showing honor…extend hospitality to the stranger.”
These are the words of encouragement to the faith community in Rome. Thanks to some very faithful folks it is also the very vibrant reality of San José Obrero!