Fiesta in the Church’s Neighborhood2 min read

At a time when so many churches are struggling and losing members, Pan de Vida, Detroit rises as a shiny exception. The Southwest Detroit church is one of the fastest growing in our Synod, according to Rev. Tyler Cronkright of neighboring Family of God, Detroit. Rev. Ricardo Granado and Pan de Vida have found many ways to engage the community to help the church not only grow, but thrive. Their latest community event was the Hispanic Heritage Festival which took place on Sunday, October 1, on the premises of St. Stephen Lutheran Church—which is also where Pan de Vida congregates.

The celebration, which had people coming and going in an open-house style, was free to the public. Approximately 500 people from the inner-city neighborhood got a taste of Latin America. There was dancing, activities for kids, and of course the authentic Latin American cuisine. From empanadas to tamales to ceviche to gorditas, people got the chance try favorite foods from Peru, Columbia, Honduras, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and many other places.

Rev. Granado was happy to see how successful the first-time festival turned out and has been excited by the way the church is growing—he has presided over four baptisms and five confirmations so far in his first year at the church. “It is a precious group of brothers and sisters here at Pan de Vida and I am very happy with this, both with the collaboration of these brothers and sisters and with what has been taking place,” said Rev. Granado. “We’re very happy and very thankful to God for this.”

Community involvement has been a staple of what is propelling Pan de Vida to flourish. They’ve had a Trunk or Treat last October and will have another this October. They also held a VBS which brought several children from the neighborhood to hear about God’s love. At the Hispanic Heritage Festival, the congregation took prayer requests and will follow up to check in with those in need.

Rev. Granado feels blessed to see how all the effort is paying off. “There’s a lot of work behind it,” said Granado. “When you see the turnout and how the congregation works together to try to make it work, it’s very rewarding and you see God’s work in it.”

Video by Jeff Heisner/Michigan District, LCMS and photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS

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Jeffrey Heisner is the video journalist and digital media director for the Michigan District, LCMS.

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Rev. Gregory Lorenz - October 5, 2023

Praise God for Rev. Granado and his love for pastoral care and outreach! Many thanks to Rev. Eddie Morales for his care for the congregation in the vacancy also! Blessings to the members of Pan de Vida who are awesome and joyful servants of the Lord! I pray for continued growth as you share the love of Jesus with the SW Detroit community.

Kathy Schiemann - October 11, 2023

Wonderful photos of a wonderful looking event in southwest Detroit!! God’s blessings to Rev. Granada and Rev. Morales and the members at Pan de Vida Lutheran Church.