Eastern PA hires new Latino Ministries coordinator; hosts national Hispanic caucus

The Rev. Lillian “Luky” Cotto is the local pastor and founder of Casa del Pueblo, a busy Hispanic congregation and outreach ministry at Lehman Memorial UMC in Hatboro, Pa. Now she also becomes the Eastern PA Conference’s new part-time Latino Ministries Coordinator on August 1. She succeeds the Rev. Brunilda Martinez, who has served in that role since mid-2017.

August 1 may be a very busy day for Cotto because she and other members of the conference’s Latino Commission will welcome MARCHA, The United Methodist Church’s national Hispanic/Latino caucus, to Philadelphia for its 2019 national meeting.

MARCHA’s name stands for Methodist Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans. Eastern PA’s members will help host their peers from across the U.S., including the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, when they convene at the Philadelphia Airport DoubleTree Hotel August 1-4. MARCHA members from neighboring Northeastern Jurisdiction conferences— Greater New Jersey, Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware—will join Eastern PA members as hosts for the annual meeting.

The meeting will begin next Thursday with a new members orientation at 2 PM and the opening plenary at 4 PM. Host Bishop Peggy Johnson will help celebrate Communion during the opening worship and memorial service at 7 PM, followed by a reception and fellowship time.

Friday and Saturday’s agendas feature presentations, panel discussions, workshops and a 2020 General Conference strategy “think tank.” Diverse clergy and lay speakers will address various topics. Titles include:

  • The Extraordinary Power of God;
  • The Creative Power of God in Times of Uncertainty;
  • Circles of Grace;
  • Divisions in the UMC—Lessons and Opportunities;
  • Equipping Ministry for Transformation;
  • Grass Roots Organizing for Community Empowerment;
  • Intercultural Competence, Know our Neighbor; and
  • Overcoming Spiritual Trauma.

With the theme “The Extraordinary Power of God: Treasures in Earthen Vessels,” the meeting will also include jurisdictional gatherings, an annual banquet and Festival of Giving, and closing worship with anointing for consecration. See the full agenda.

MARCHA’s “coming generation” will arrive a day early, July 31, for their annual Young Adults Workshop. Some have received scholarships to travel and attend the meeting. Caucus leaders will also have preliminary meetings that day.

MARCHA emphasizes leadership development, advocacy and strategic support for the concerns of Hispanic/Latino people in and outside The United Methodist Church. The Rev. Lyssette Pérez is the national caucus’ President. Bishop Elias Galvan (retired) is Executive Manager.