What I’ve learned from Sister Parish

by Nancy Wiens

This June, I am energized thinking about a loving community that is coming together from coast to coast to raise funds to support Sister Parish, Inc.


Tierra Nueva Dos members visit St. Joan of Arc in 2015.

In fact, it is the concept of community that hooked me on this organization so many years ago. Here’s what my Sister Parish experiences have taught me about creating a global  community:

  • Think of no one as “them”
  • Talk to strangers
  • Notice the workings of power and privilege in your culture
  • Visit people, places and cultures – not tourist attractions
  • Learn people’s history
  • Watch films with subtitles
  • Understand the global economy in terms of people, land and water
  • Question military/corporate connections
  • Honor indigenous cultures
  • Choose curiosity over certainty
  • Think South, Central and North – there are many Americans
  • Assume that many others share your dreams
  • Know that no one is silent though many are not heard – Work to change this

With thanks to the Syracuse Cultural Workers for their “How to Build Global Community” poster.

Why Sister Parish?  My husband, Rick, and I love this organization because it builds relationships across borders. We have been involved with Sister Parish for many years through St. Joan of Arc Church, which is engaged in a 22-year hermanamiento  (sister parish relationship) with Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Tierra Nueva Dos, Guatemala.  We have visited each other many times, stayed in each others’  homes and experienced our Guatemalan friends’ incredible friendship, faith, hospitality, hope, love and commitment to family.


Tierra Nueva Dos members visit St. Joan of Arc in 2015.

Also, Sister Parish is aligned with our values of justice and peace-building. In Sister Parish, we build community by journeying together in mutual respect, dignity and understanding.  Both Rick and I believe in Sister Parish and support it in many ways. Rick is past chair of the Sister Parish committee at St. Joan of Arc Church and I participate on the national board of Sister Parish, Inc., the umbrella organization that fosters and enables these church-to-church relationships.

The way I look at and interact with the world has been transformed because of Sister Parish. It is why I’m contributing to the future success of the organization by participating in the ‘$16K in 2016’ Year of Encounter fundraising campaign. Thanks to all the devoted and caring Sister Parish community members who are joining me!


Tierra Nueva Dos members visit St. Joan of Arc in 2015.

About sisterparishinc

Building community across borders.
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