Latino churches to celebrate Holy Convocation April 19

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.

Following an opening prayer service and Bishop Johnson’s message, the gathering will spend the afternoon discussing and deciding on a proposed new structure for the conference’s Latino Commission. The change would elevate lay participation and leadership in the clergy-led ministry planning organization, according to the Rev. Esdras Seda, EPA Conference Latino Ministries coordinator, in order to grow its influence and effectiveness among Latino churches. The body will also elect officers for the coming year. The Alicia M. Julia-Stanley currently chairs the commission.

The convocation’s morning will begin with prayers to God of thanksgiving and intercession. According to Seda members will offer thanks for Phila. Mayor Michael Nutter’s expected announcement today, April 16, that police will no longer assist the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency by holding in custody people it suspects of being undocumented immigrants. Seda and other Latino leaders protested that policy at City Hall last month. Other prayers will be offered on behalf of Latino youth and young adults, Latino churches, and greater unity of Latino leaders and members of the conference, Seda said.