by Peter Huang
The Gathering is a space for Asian Pacific American spirituality based in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. This Eastertide and Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’ve kicked into high gear with AAPI Alive!, a celebration of AAPI voices.
At the center of AAPI Alive! is an online devotional guide that features music, prose and poetry, visual art, and video, and we invite everyone to explore and use it and join the celebration through the Feast of Pentecost.
AAPI Alive! is particularly meaningful because the voices and presence of AAPI have often been absent or even excluded in our churches. It’s not uncommon to hear stories about AAPI loving The Episcopal Church and all that we stand for but also feeling invisible or needing to check our ethnicity at the door.
This project is one part of The Gathering’s greater vision. Recently, The Gathering was awarded a Becoming Beloved Community grant to help nurture stronger connections between The Episcopal Church and AAPI communities. In February, we hosted a Bystander Intervention Training and Seminar online for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to help equip people and churches to better respond to hate incidents toward AAPI. We are also hosting listening sessions with local churches to help develop partnerships with local AAPI communities and organizations.
Launched in 2017, The Gathering has offered programs to bring together AAPI and has provided opportunities for non-AAPI friends and allies to more deeply engage the diverse AAPI community. For many AAPI Christians, The Gathering has been a refreshing oasis where one can become more fully alive as a person of faith and a person of color.
Through panel conversations and worship services, we’ve explored topics such as:
- Love My Neighbor, Stand Against Hate: Bystander Intervention Training & Workshop
- Remembering the 1871 Los Angeles Chinese Massacre: Presentation and Discussion
- Celebrating Art & Spirituality as Asian Pacific Americans
- Your Liberation Is Our Liberation: Why Black Lives Matter to AAPI Christians
- Being Asian Pacific American in the Age of the Coronavirus
- Pilgrimage to Manzanar National Monument
- Beyond Inclusion: A Panel Conversation on Being Asian American, LGBTQx, and Christian
Our hope as a ministry has always been to provide deeper connection through storytelling in various forms, such as panel conversations and discussions, film screenings, and music offerings.
For AAPIs, storytelling around our experiences of joy and pain has built a greater sense of solidarity. Our stories have also engaged friends and allies in meaningful ways beyond the usual avenues of food (although our in-person gatherings are known for their culinary goodness!).
Our greatest joy has been to see AAPI siblings becoming fully alive in a space where they can be unapologetically themselves and lead with all of who they are—their gifts and talents, cultural sensibilities, and sense of humor.
Find out more about The Gathering and AAPI Alive! – and get help making stronger connections to the AAPI communities in your midst—at aapialive.org, thegatheringedla.org, and bit.ly/TheGatheringYouTube, or email email@example.com.
Peter Huang is Taiwanese-Japanese and has a co-vocational call as a licensed marriage and family therapist and priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, where he co-founded The Gathering.