Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Monolithic Family Prides Itself on Diversity

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Wilkes-Barre, PA (Reuters) – Few residents of this Lehigh Valley town consider their part of the Keystone State a bastion of diversity, but the extended Brewster family revels in the differences among its many members.

Kevin Brewster, 45, was raised Methodist, but had no problem marrying Katherine Brown, an Episcopalian by upbringing, in 1993. Katherine’s brother George left the fold completely as a teenager and considers himself an agnostic, but can occasionally be persuaded to attend Lutheran services with his wife and children.

“We love how much variety we have in our family,” gushed Pearl Brewster, Kevin’s mother, in a recent interview. The sixty-eight-year-old widow described her own childhood, in which the backyard barbecues on Sunday afternoons were known far and wide as a place to meet Christians of all Protestant stripes. “As far back as I can remember, Mom and Dad were active in the community, always trying to welcome in lots of different kinds of people to our church, to show them how to be like us,” she recalled.

Kevin and his sister Marcia 41, now Marcia Collins, promote further diversity in their children’s development by sending their combined six children to three different Sunday schools. “Last year we had a moment of intense satisfaction when all three schools united to protest the planned opening of a mosque downtown,” said Marcia’s husband Neil, 42. “We were really, really gratified to see that our kids and their cousins could be a part of several different communities at once, and that they could so easily bridge those communities to defend democratic values we all hold dear.”

Charles Brewster is Kevin and Katherine’s oldest, an active sixteen-year-old with interests as varied as X-Box and Playstation. He and his group of sundry friends all attend Columbus High School, though his friends’ interest differ markedly from his own: one prefers softball; another football; a third and fourth, all things MTV. Despite these vast gaps, the five of these diverse white male middle-class Christians have found common ground in rituals such as intimidating the only two African-American students in the school.

Pastor Gregory Phillips, whose church the Brewsters attend, has been pleasantly surprised by the amount of openness his congregants display to those different from themselves. “I try to instill a desire to invite all into the arms of the Lord, no matter what kind of Christian they might be,” he said. “I had no way of knowing just how well my  lessons would resonate with the people in the pews, but I’m very happy to see everyone taking them to heart.”

“Why, just a week ago little [eight-year-old] Marissa [Brewster] came to me all excited about the opportunity to meet new people at a traveling show coming to town this weekend,” he continued, referring to an Israeli dance troupe scheduled to make a stop in Wilkes-Barre on a nationwide tour. “She can’t wait to see with her own eyes the horns growing out of their heads.”

Written by Thag

March 15, 2012 at 7:52 pm

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