Faith Lutheran Church (of Everett) pastor Arhiana Shek (left) conducts a Bible study in Spanish with members Martha Schutten (center) and Fran Ulloa at Ulloa’s home in Lynnwood on Jan. 16. Although all the women speak and read English, studying in their first language, from a Spanish Bible, is a way to ensure they are understanding the intended meaning. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Faith Lutheran Church (of Everett) pastor Arhiana Shek (left) conducts a Bible study in Spanish with members Martha Schutten (center) and Fran Ulloa at Ulloa’s home in Lynnwood on Jan. 16. Although all the women speak and read English, studying in their first language, from a Spanish Bible, is a way to ensure they are understanding the intended meaning. (Dan Bates / The Herald)

Everett church starts parallel ministry for Spanish speakers

Faith Lutheran seeks to offer fellowship, service opportunities to immigrants

EVERETT — Faith Lutheran Church in Everett is starting a new ministry for Spanish speakers.

The goal is to build a second faith community that will work closely with the existing congregation, said the Rev. Arhiana Shek. They are calling the ministry “Vecinos,” the Spanish word for neighbors.

These days, neighbors aren’t just the people on the same block, Shek said.

“They might be 1 mile from you or 10,000 miles from you,” she said.

Someday, she’d love to see Vecinos offer separate worship services in Spanish. They still will come together for gatherings and service projects with Faith Lutheran’s English-speaking congregation.

“It would be side by side,” she said. “The building will be shared. The pastor will be shared.”

Shek, 36, is bilingual. She was born in the U.S. to Colombian parents. She was raised in Colombia and returned here for college. She moved to Everett in May 2016, for her second church placement as a pastor.

The dots connected. Faith Lutheran was looking to build its Spanish programming. Shek saw an opportunity to honor her roots and both her cultures. She also is part of Everett Faith In Action, a group of pastors who meet to talk about issues surrounding homelessness.

Smaller congregations — such as the one at Faith Lutheran — have a lot of energy for good works, Shek said. At the same time, they have neighbors who are immigrants, some of whom are away from extended family and looking for a sense of community.

So far with Vecinos, Shek mainly is meeting with people in their homes for Bible study.

Martha Schutten, 64, of Everett, learned of Shek while taking English language classes at Faith Lutheran. She has been using Spanish, her native language, not just for Bible study but also to help with Vecinos by planning activities and inviting others into the ministry.

“For me, it is very important because I am Latina, and to have a better understanding of God’s word,” Schutten said.

A Vecinos potluck is coming up, and more events are likely to follow.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

Learn more

Vecinos, or Neighbors, is a new faith community focused on Spanish speakers. It is closely affiliated with Faith Lutheran Church at 6708 Cady Road in Everett. A Vecinos meet-and-greet potluck is planned for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 26. Everyone is invited to bring their favorite dish to share as they get to know their neighbors. For more information, or to get involved, call 425-353-4758.

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