This past spring, I was standing on the bridge to Mexico when I realized I did not have my passport! For just a moment, I felt this sense of rising panic… But then I remembered I was in fact a U.S. citizen, and I was standing on the bridge with a border patrol agent who was escorting me while I filmed our country’s Southern border. Then I wondered to myself, “How did I ever find myself here?”
The answer began four years ago, when my wife and I set out on a journey to explore the American Spirit. We began by returning to our own Appalachian roots. Then we examined native cultures and black history. Through these trips, we have discovered how many different groups of people have helped shaped the American Spirit, and how the American Spirit has helped shaped their lives.
In 2019, we took a journey into our nation’s Hispanic heritage. We traveled to San Antonio to learn about Spanish Texas. From there, we headed south to Laredo to experience the southern border. After Customs and Border Patrol allowed me to re-enter the country, we came back to Hamilton Ohio to see a Midwestern Hispanic community. Along the way, we learned about our country’s Hispanic ancestors. We also learned the word “Hispanic” does not really do justice to the variety of cultures with Spanish histories.
This February, we are going to tell the story of our trip. As we do, we will consider the many walls – both spiritual and physical – that have been built between groups of people across America, and reflect on biblical laws regarding how to treat people who are different from us. So come with us on our journey to explore The American Spirit: Walls.
February Worship: History Month Center Your Life around History
● Bible Readings
○ February 2: Psalm 137:1-6 (8-9) Catholic Conquest
○ February 9 : Leviticus 19:33-34 Manifest Destiny
○ February 16: Matthew 10:40-42 The Land of Our Ancestors
○ February 23: Hebrews 13:1-3 The Making of Walls
● Faith & Life: #BREAKtheWALLS
○ Cross the lines of color in your home, church and community.
● Documentary Screening Sunday: February 23
○ 9:30 a.m.: The Making of Walls
○ 11:00 a.m.: Screening Walls
○ NOON: Panel Discussion on Walls
Ryan began his pastoral ministry at Maize Manor United Methodist Church in 2014 after serving at the Church of the Messiah in Westerville, Ohio. He lives in Columbus with his wife, Mariellyn, and five children. Visit the Staff Page to learn more about Pastor Ryan.