Local Church Embraces Hispanic Heritage

Oct 12, 2017

Credit Tech. Sgt. Steven R. Doty / Creative Commons

A church in downtown Peoria is highlighting cultural contributions of the Hispanic community. First United Methodist Church’s Mariachi Night block party includes live performances and local food vendors.

Communications Director Isai Garcia says it’s an opportunity to celebrate diversity and build bridges in Peoria.

“These sorts of events, they offer little stepping stones for people to get one step closer together. If you come from a different part of this town, you’re still a part of this town.”

For Doug Grogan, director of music ministry, it’s about togetherness.

“Mariachi music, I think, speaks to joy and community,” Grogan said. “Last year, we had very young children, to a couple in their 80s, who danced for the entire two hours who were not Latino.”

He says they're bringing back the Chicago-based group Mariachi Monumental . 

Pastor Adrian Garcia sings Cancion Mixteca (play audio version of this story to listen).
Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Grogan says this year, they’ve also invited El Jimador, Panaderia Ortiz and El Zarape to set up food carts.

The church's "Mariachi Night" also aims to provide healing.

“In the middle of everything that’s happening around our community and the nation, it’s a time of a little joy, in the middle of all sadness and fears," Pastor Adrian Garcia said. 

Pastor Garcia says the celebration offers a break from what’s felt like a torrent of bad news: earthquakes in Mexico, hurricanes along the coast, and 800,000 so-called “dreamers” uncertain about their futures.    

The free event at 116 NE Perry Ave. is Sunday, from 4-6 PM.