Latino Ministry Report to Office of Connectional Ministries, September 2014

The work of the kingdom will never run out.  We are constantly moving toward the goal that was set before us by our Lord: “Go and make disciples, teaching them and baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  During the summer we celebrated victory in the Latino Camp with a great attendance and wonderful experiences.  The Latino Commission held meetings to work toward a clear vision for the challenges in our Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and our focus on strengthening ministries while seeing a harvest that needs to be obtained.  Our pastors and church leaders are working very hard to not only teach the good news but also to assist in the felt needs of their communities.

Our Latino communities are growing, our church resources are diminishing, and our pastors are constantly seeking creative ways to supply the demands.  Although we are sad about the loss of one of our chartered churches (New Journey UMC), we are hopeful that soon we will see a new start in Reading, Pa.  Our experiences should enable us to learn how to better assess our communities and measure our resources in order to make effective ministry.  This is the reason I have held several meetings with Latino pastors and with the National Latino Plan Office of the United Methodist Church. In those meetings we worked on the Latino Commission structure and action plan for Latino ministry in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

In the month of October we will be very busy.  On Oct. 10 thru 12, there will be a training in Module III: The History of the Wesleyan Movement, led by the Rev. David Martinez, from the General Board of Higher Education.  We expect about 30 persons from our churches to attend this event.  The following weekend, Oct. 17-18, we will sponsor the second phase of the Latino Ministries for Non-Latino Churches Training, embracing our call to help more of our churches develop outreach to Latino neighbors in their communities.  In our first training we had approximately 12 churches represented.  In this training we expect more, plus a group of Christ Servant Ministers from the Latino Churches that will be assigned to each church as they begin their outreach efforts.

I am proud to hear wonderful testimonies occurring in our churches: new families being reached and becoming members, persons feeling called to ministry and others wanting to attend Lay Speaker training, youth and young adults becoming more involved in their churches.  Persons who were undocumented are being aided in receiving documentation and moving their cases forward toward permanent residency and citizenship.

As we continue our ministry efforts it is my expectation is that we will begin to see and hear of new ministries and new leaders developing in the existing churches. This development will also strengthen the ministries of new church starts and church transformation.

Esdras Seda, Latino Ministry Coordinator