a poem by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen, Denmark

Jubilee Year for Cross-Cultural Center
(September 26, 2010 on her 15th year of life and service)

Fifteen years ago you were born
naked, clothed simply and humbly -
a child of hope for the church
to welcome strangers on the road.

Fifteen years ago you were conceived
a vision of light in the human mind
awakening human hearts to unleash
God’s gifts of compassion, love and mercy.

Within fifteen years you have grown
No longer naked and fragile child
But a confident youth grounded on
your conceived identity and purpose.

Within fifteen years you have built up skills
visiting refugees, strangers or foreigners,
writing their stories, giving them voice
in print, dialogues and conferences.

You have managed to gather churches, fellowships,
mission societies,groups and leaders of other religious
affinities, government authorities to rally around
the cause of the strangers and the unwanted.

Within fifteen years you have raised the flag
for solidarity, acceptance and tolerance
enabling us to taste food of strangers in our tongue
opening our ears to their language, history and songs
making us see the product of their creative hands.

For fifteen years you have opened the church of Christ
beyond her rigid walls, reminding the God who hears
the cries of the afflicted, extending her hands of hospitality
enriched by the life and cultures in multi-ethnic beauty.

Congratulations for being a channel of God’s grace
in Denmark and in the world
Congratulations, you employees, volunteers, supporters
Congratulations to all Danes and new Danes!

This year is our year,
our Jubilee Year for Tværkulturelt Center,
our Thanksgiving Day for having been a beacon of hope
for refugees, immigrants and strangers,
a whispering conscience to churches
to be the Samaritans in our own context and time.

Thanks for stopping by on the road in life
for seeing the need and offering your generous hand
Thanks for accepting, moulding,and welcoming
healing, reconciling and for letting us be.
Thanks for being a channel of God’s love and mercy.

Elizabeth Padillo Olesen
(this poem, forwarded to the leader of the Tværkulturelt Center, Birthe Munck-Fairwood, read by the author during the jubilee worship celebration on Sunday at Skt. Andreas Church in Copenhagen, the 26th of September, 2010.)

Faith, Church Life and Ministry

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