Frances Brower is not a Catholic, but was saved in a Catholic Church. She does not speak Spanish, but lives in a Hispanic town. She has never attended a Posada Christmas celebration, but she is organizing one for the community this year. She is not a member of a local church, but rather a member of all Christian churches.
Brower is the President in Ministry of The Spirit and the Bride Kingdome Coalition, a Lindsay-based ministry that is trying to bridge the language barrier between English and Spanish Christians, bring all denominations together in Christ and to collectively reach out to the community to include them in Christian fellowship.
“Our ministry wants to bring unity to all churches from Catholicism to charismatic,” she said. “We want to focus on things all Christians believe – to feed the poor, cloth the naked and spread the Word.”
Brower said the ministry began in January 2010 at her home on the outskirts of Lindsay out of a desire to bring the community together. The coalition has held several events, including a Harvest Festival on Halloween, a Kingdom Celebration earlier in the year and this Friday, will hold its first Posada event in Lindsay. The event is being organized through the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce and McDermont Field House, which donated the use of the facility for the Christmas event.
“Eighty-five percent of Lindsay is Mexican and this is a very important tradition in their culture,” Brower said. “If we want to bring Lindsay together we have to start understanding the differences in our traditions.”
For those not familiar, Posada (which in Spanish means “lodging”) is a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter in Bethlehem. Traditionally the head of the procession, which will be Lindsay Chamber of Commerce Director Virginia Loya, will hold a candle inside a paper lampshade to lead the way for Mary and Joseph. The procession at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21 at Lindsay City Hall and stop at eight businesses signifying multiple inns where Mary and Joseph were told there was no room available. At each location, the processions sings songs at each of the eight businesses in downtown before arriving at its final location at the McDermont Field House, signifying the “innkeepers” who allowed the couple to stay in the manger. The indoor soccer field at McDermont will serve as the site for the living Nativity scene, where the procession will kneel and pray.
The Posada dates back to the early contact between the Spanish and the Aztecs. It is believed the tradition was started by early friars who combined Spanish Catholicism with the December Aztec celebration of the birth of Huitzilopochtli. In many versions of the celebration, the Posada is actually Las Posadas, which is held each evening for the nine nights leading up to Christmas Eve representing the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. Brower said the entire processional and Nativity prayers will be held in Spanish, but that shouldn’t discourage non-Spanish speakers from attending.
“Mary and Joseph and their search for shelter is the same in any language and denominations for Christians across the world,” Brower said.
During the celebration, Brower said there will be free coffee, hot chocolate and cookes. The event will also be selling tamales and pozole, a traditional Mexican stew usually made with hominy kernels and pork or chicken. The event is being sponsored by La Maquina 103.1 FM, so there will be live bands, prize giveaways and free gifts for children during the indoor market on the basketball courts at McDermont.
For more information on the event, call Virginia Loya at 559-333-1994 or Frances Brower at 559-303-3917.