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Hispanic/Latino leaders gather

REV. GUSTAVO VASQUEZ
UMC Director Hispanic/Latino Communications

More than 100 clergy and lay leaders from six Christian denominations gathered Sept. 9-12 for the first ecumenical Hispanic/Latino training for church planters and missioners.

The REDIL event (Ecumenical Network of Development for Latin Churches) took place in Nashville. Participants focused their attention on leadership, communications, liturgy, stewardship, planning, evangelism, and theology.

Participants included:

  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • The Episcopal Church
  • The United Methodist Church
  • United Church of Christ

The Rev. David Martinez, director of specialized programs of theological education at the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, explained training objectives.

“In the first training,” he said, “we are living the experience of cohabitating during a special time together as God’s people, developing tolerance and understanding of the differences between our traditions, learning, planning and envisioning ministerial development work.

“Our expectation with REDIL is to follow up on this first experience within a period of six to nine months and meet again to continue to coordinate the joint initiatives that contribute to the development of new churches and ministries that serve this country’s Hispanic/Latino community.”

REDIL is a space to meet, share resources and mutually strengthen ministries. The network bases its work on the following commitments:

  • Ensure that the church hears and addresses the voices of all marginalized Hispanic/Latino communities.
  • Be a prophetic voice within and outside the church.
  • Prioritize and commit to the new-generation Latino bilingual community.
  • Focus on strengthening the lives of people, not institutions.
  • Join as peers in the missionary journey. Share interdenominational resources in a spirit of collaboration, coordination, education and inclusiveness, welcoming the diversity of gifts to extend God’s reign. Be open to the gifts each denomination brings.
  • Ensure that the passion for similarities extends beyond denominational differences.

On Sept. 11, participants marched from the Scarritt-Bennett Center chapel to Vanderbilt University’s Benton chapel to remember victims of the terrorist attack 14 years ago. Carrying crosses covered with colorful ribbons, they sang a poem by Saint Teresa of Avila.

~Editor’s note: National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month is September 15-October 15.

 

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