The Hispanic / Latino Ministries Dinner is an opportunity for all of the members of the Indiana Conference to engage, learn, and collaborate with some of the growing and multicultural congregations throughout the state, Hispanic and Latinos in particular. As you looked around the room, there was a broad spectrum of nationalities in attendance, with a budding interest in how one of the largest demographics in Indiana manages its ministerial structure, its journey and its reach throughout our region.
The dinner opened with a moment of thanksgiving and prayer. Pastor Sergio Reyes, Associate Director of Leadership Development, who pastors Iglesia Cristiana Getsemani UMC in Fort Wayne, along with his wife Pastor Janie Reyes, offered an honest and faithful prayer in which he reinforces his appreciation for the work of the Indiana Conference, saying, “The Conference loves and trust us. They have given us tools for fighting, praying, and reaching souls.”
Steve Clouse, Director of Church Development, who has grown very familiar with the attendees due to an in-depth and long-lived partnership with the Hispanic and Latino community, engaged the dinner guests, with the best ‘Español’ he could manage, stating, “You are very important to me and the Indiana United Methodist Conference.”
In English, he continued, “I wish I had more to offer than words, but the progress is slow, but there is progress. We are with you because there are people who live in your communities with a family who live in fear.”
This comes at a time when those who are undocumented are being, in many ways, persecuted by the new government administration, which has made mass deportation of undocumented citizens one of its main priorities. This has unleashed a cloud of concern and anxiety upon the undocumented throughout the Hispanic and Latino communities in Indiana.
“We are committed to providing you with the tools and knowledge you need to place you on the path to becoming certified to join us in ministry, and perhaps even the path to citizenship.
Steve continues, “I know this is a difficult time, but I believe that the God of grace is going to stand alongside you, as we will be by your side.”