Noel Castellanos leaned into a great presentation at North Park on March 1st, delivering a very personal and engaging overview of Christian community development.
He reminded us that we are called to care about the widow, the orphan and the stranger. We don’t want people living in the margins of society to feel left out, unwelcome, or unfit to join in. Instead, said Noel, Jesus put those at the margins at the centre of ministry, and made that the “departure point” of mission to the entire world.
Noel drew a parallel to Jesus’ arrival as a Galilean Jew – on the outskirts of accepted society: born of a scandalous birth and from an area referred to as a “circle of sinners”. Noel also drew on his own upbringing as a Mexican American, born in the south of Texas, but often made to feel – like many immigrants – as “less than 100% human”.
Noel’s personal story helped to frame his passion for community development, and he made it clear that it is “us” who need to change – to help the poor today, and to find new and better ways to do that.