Latino Ministries/Español

New Birth UMC births house churches, local pastors

By the Rev. Gordon Hendrickson
EPA Conference Coordinator of Congregational Development

It's amazing that our conference has the two largest United Methodist congregations in the Northeast Jurisdiction.  Both have the right DNA to grow in making disciples and transforming their communities and the world.  One is Anglo, Bethany in Wescosville-Allentown; the other is Latino, Nuevo Nacimiento, or New Birth UMC in Lebanon. Both have been identified nationally as having the necessary, fertile DNA to be learning centers for leaders of new church starts and existing churches that want to grow.

The Rev. Elena Ortiz is the dynamic pastor of Nuevo Nacimiento UMC. Congregational Development has come alongside them to help develop six new house churches in their community, led by local pastors in training. We are also partnering with them in a new church development initiative that also involves the United Methodist PATH-1 program and our next-door neighbor, the Susquehanna Conference.  

Moises Reyes, one of New Birth's (Nuevo Nacimiento)'s local pastors will serve the church as a pastor- intern for two years and then leave to plant a new Latino church in the Susquehanna Conference.  Moises felt God calling him and his family to go serve the Lord wherever this may be. He feels blessed with this collaborative ministry opportunity, and he knows God will provide. 

Latino Ministries Report to Annual Conference 2014

'Para alante en el nombre del Señor'

Latino Ministries Report to Annual Conference 2014

By Esdras Seda, EPA Conference Coordinator of Latino Ministries

This is year we are chartering a new direction in Latino Ministry to reach as many people as possible.  We began to notice how difficult it is to do this by ourselves.  Many ideas came to us, but the most prevailing was the fact that we--all of us--are the Body of Christ.  

So we began to announce a training for non-Latino churches that want to reach out to their growing Latino communities.  The response was great. We had seven churches represented in the training, which was held at Haws Avenue United Methodist Church in Norristown. This fall we will continue with the second phase of the training, and your church has not been to it you are welcome to attend.  We have information at the Latino Ministry table in the exhibits area. 

Immigrant Welcoming Communities

Immigrant Welcoming Communities is an invitation to a journey into a reciprocal missional experience alongside and among immigrant communities. The journey is open to all that wish to develop deeper, incarnational relationships among immigrant communities and who wish to engage in both mercy and justice. 

How Becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Community Works:

The journey toward becoming an Immigrant Welcoming Community is life-long, but starting takes only four months. Each month your class, UMW unit, Wesley Foundation, youth group, or entire congregation will commit to the following:

  • A learning event or action that can, and often should include participation from a nearby immigrant congregation or community group. These events can take place on Sunday mornings, or at other times that work for your community. There are often multiple options with each specific step and so more than one learning event or action can be planned for each month.
  • A time of reflection over what you learned from the event or action.
  • A time of planning for the next month's event or action as well as how to include other communities in your Immigrant Welcoming Community journey.

To download more details on How to Become an Immigrant Welcoming Community, click here.
For more information, contact Sol Cotto at scotto@umc-gbcs.org.

Check out who is an Immigrant Welcoming Community
If your church wants to be an Immigrant Welcoming Community, contact Sol Cotto at scotto@umc-gbcs.org.

Standing on the Side of Love

In many cities near the U.S. border nowadays protestors have been holding signs: "Not Our Children; Not Our Problem." They have been stopping buses that bring unaccompanied migrant children into their communities."

On July 31 hundreds of people of faith from more than 10 states gathered in Washington, D.C. to hold a different protest in front of the White House. Our signs read: "Standing on the Side of Love for Our Immigrant Families.

As people of faith we know that these are our children too. "Let these little ones come to me, and do not stop them," said Jesus Christ, "because to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:4)

Latino churches to celebrate Holy Convocation April 19

Clergy leaders of the EPA Conference Latino Commission--the Revs. Lydia Munoz, Brunilda Martinez, Esdras Seda, Irving Cotto, Luky Cotto and Alicia Julia-Stanley--pose with the Rev. Christopher Kurien, Connectional Ministries Director, after a recent meeting.  John Coleman photo

Latino members of the EPA Conference will consider and vote on a proposed new structure and strategy for the Latino Commission when they celebrate their fourth annual Holy Convocation Saturday, April 19, from 9:30 to 3 p.m., at Westchester UMC.  El Buen Samaritano UMC, which has worshiped at Westchester since 1999, will serve as host, led by its pastor, the Rev. Evodia Villalva. Bishop Peggy Johnson will preach at 11 a.m.

What happened and why during our arrest? A Reflection

By C. Sol Cotto
Director of Immigrant Welcoming Communities
General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church

On Presidents Day, Feb. 17, 31 United Methodist bishops, pastors and lay members were arrested in front of the White House, along with immigrants from the National Day Laborers Network and brothers and sisters from different faith groups, as we engaged in an act of civil disobedience.

Our purpose was to ask President Obama to stop deportations that have reached an unprecedented number during his administration: more than a thousand a day and approaching 2 million at the current rate.

Thousands of calls, letters with thousands of signatures, hunger strikes and acts of civil disobedience around the nation have not succeeded in stopping these deportations.

Meanwhile, families continue to be separated, as thousands of immigrants try to get proper documentation. Many have endured decades of delays in an immigration system that simply doesn’t work. We felt it was time to go to the steps of the White House, and Presidents Day seemed a good day to do it.

As our protest at the White House progressed, barricades went up, and our brothers and sisters were separated from us. But they continued to support us in prayer. The police cars approached us with sirens and warnings to disperse and leave the premises.

Prayer vigil fortifies detained immigrant's family


The Rev. Scott Friedgen-Veitch, of Haws Avenue UMC in Norristown, speaks with Pilar Molina, whose detained husband faced an immigration interview April 10 that may lead to his deportation or his eventual return to his family. The church hosted a prayer vigil Sunday night, April 6, to seek justice and mercy for undocumented and detained immigrants.

Cuando el pueblo del Señor alaba a Dios
suceden cosas, suceden cosas maravillosas
Hay sanidad, liberación, se siente la benedición

(When the people of the Lord begin to pray
God will start doing, God will start doing marvelous things,
God's spirit flows, healing begins and we live in liberty.)

El pueblo, the people, gathered on a cool Sunday night, April 6, at a United Methodist church in Norristown, Pa., for their "Prayer Vigil on Behalf of Immigrant Families." Their songs were lively, their testimonies poignant and their prayers ever hopeful that God would do something marvelous.

Rev. Esdras Seda is Coordinator of Latino Ministry

Esdras SedaRev. Esdras Seda is hired as Part Time Coordinator, Latino Ministry.  

Contact Rev. Seda at esdrasseda@yahoo.com

Rev. Seda has been a Local Pastor appointed to Holy Spirit Church in Philadelphia for six years.  He is also presently studying for a Masters in Divinity at Palmer Seminary.

 As a Local Pastor, he guided two congregations to a merger, served as board member of Philadelphia Hispanic Clergy and of ESPERANZA, a community development organization that offers housing, job training, charter school, cyber school and college.  

He has organized outreach events in Philadelphia such as Convey of Hope, family festivals, and personal evangelism in the difficult streets of Philadelphia.

 He and his wife, Eva, have been married for twenty-four years.

Iglesias Latino / Latino Churches in Eastern Pennsylvania Conference

 

United Methodists in Eastern Pennsylvania reach out to the Spanish-speaking communities by starting new Latino churches.  Here is a list of Latino ministries, including contact information for the churches and their pastors.

 

 

 

Guidelines for Non-Latinos working with Latinos/Hispanics

The Commission on Latino Ministries has produced these guidelines for non-Latino persons and congregations working with Latinos/Hispanics.

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Bishop's Blog

Bishop's Blog

Read thoughts on faith and life from Bishop Peggy Johnson.