Vietnamese Gospel Mennonite Church pastor Hien Truong welcomed those gathered, explaining, “Vietnamese New Year is a marking of springtime. It’s a time of new growth and a special time of asking forgiveness and moving into new ways of building relationships.” While planned by a team from the four congregations, the gathered worship took on a Vietnamese flair with scripture blessings distributed to adults and traditional li xi gifts ($2 bills in red envelopes) for children. Afterward, the congregations enjoyed a carry-in meal that was held together around Vietnamese New Year foods.
According to Rose Bender, pastor at Whitehall Mennonite who also helped plan the gathered worship, “The worship service was such a joyous occasion for me because of the great diversity of God’s kingdom that was represented. It was a foreshadowing of heaven—all nations, all tribes—declaring God’s glory! . . . I am so excited to see what God is doing in the Lehigh Valley—and encouraged by four small congregations coming together and proclaiming God’s bounty as we face a new year.”