'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.
Another ministry opportunity where the voice of our church needs to be heard more is on the immigration issue. There are more than eleven million undocumented people in the U.S. and they not only need to be cared for and loved but also ministered to. As Latino Ministries Coordinator I meet with other organizations advocating for immigration reform, and we have won some battles; but there is much more to be done.
In recent events, such as the Immigration Prayer Vigil we had on April 15 at Haws Avenue Church in Norristown, I introduced Pilar Molina, whose family was affected by her husband being detained and threatened with deportation to Mexico. Because of many letters, calls and Prayers, her husband will be released soon and can continue the journey to legalization. This is an amazing victory; however, there are many families that experience separation from each other everyday because of the need for our broken, inhumane immigration system to be reformed. We the church need to speak up because the Bible tells us what we must do on behalf of the marginalized in our society. It is this kind of gospel that makes us look around and see that many more need to be at the table.
These are heartfelt experiences that move us because of God’s love poured out on us. As a result many churches have begun to rethink their mission. Our Conference's Latino Commission has persevered in many situations, but by the grace of God, we are here with a greater desire to continue the development of God's kingdom.
This is why we intend to engage the laity more in Latino Ministries. The Latino Commission is restructuring to become more effective in broad-based ministry efforts. We have more information on our exhibit table. We are excited about what the Holy Spirit is doing and will do when the Body of Christ executes effective strengthening of our ministries and reaches into every area of our annual conference.
Para alante en el nombre del Señor. (Moving forward in the name of our Lord.)