Sonya Luna celebrates her own growing up and encourages others to participate in Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month.
Coordinator Hispanic/Latino Ministry, Michigan Conference
I grew up in the United Methodist Church. When people ask me how long I have been a United Methodist, I say the number that reflects my age.
Recently, I realized that going to church is a tradition that my father and I have always done together. I remember going to church with my dad when I was a teenager. When we worship in person, we still sit in the same pew to this day. Yes, that is something that we should probably change. Growing up, I did not notice that my family was one of only a few Latino families that were members of the church. Only when I worked at my home church, as the Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministries, did I start to notice that my family was one of the first Hispanic/Latino families to attend that church.
During my time as Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministries at my local church, more Hispanic/Latino families started to join the church, and the church began to incorporate Hispanic/Latino traditions and celebrations into their church life. I enjoyed the fact that my Hispanic/Latino heritage was not just a part of my family celebrations, but it was part of my church life as well.
You can also celebrate Hispanic/Latino heritage at your local church. Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month is celebrated every year from September 15 to October 15. Hispanic Heritage month started in 1989 when President George H. W. Bush issued a Presidential Proclamation. Hispanic/Latino begins in the middle of September to mark the many Latin American Countries Independence Days in September.
You can celebrate Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month in several ways at your local church. You can share a video during your online service about Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month. You can learn about Hispanic/Latino Theology and share insights from it in your message. You can share about Hispanic/Latino Heritage as part of your Sunday School curriculum. I put together a list of resources for Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month that you can find in the Hispanic/Latino Ministries Toolbox. I collaborated with the Rev. Kathy Pittenger to develop a playlist of resources for Children’s Ministry that you can also find on the Michigan Conference Website. Find it here: Children’s Ministry Playlist.
There is much to celebrate here in the Michigan Conference when it comes to Hispanic/Latino Ministries! During these past six months, more than 500 health kits were given to farmworkers in the Holland Area. More than 50 children participated in a virtual four-week summer program in Southeast Michigan. Dairy farmworkers were supported in Mid-Michigan. There were also two webinar series for young adults that participated from all across the state.
It is a blessing to continue to work for the Michigan Conference, now, as the Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministries, and to celebrate the Hispanic/Latino culture. It is important to celebrate and learn about different cultures because only then can we truly become the beloved community.