Cinco de Mayo Celebration and Meeting of Monterey Bay Church Extension Society
On May 5th representatives from United Methodist Churches on the Northern California central coast came to worship together for the annual open meeting and celebration of the Monterey Bay Church Extension Society/Sociedad para la Extensión de la Iglesia de la Bahía de Monterey.
The Monterey Bay Church Extension Society (MBCES) was incorporated as a non-profit by the Methodist Church in 1946. Its purpose is to coordinate the work of the Methodist Church in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, including, "the conducting of missions among foreign speaking and other needy peoples."
Members of the MBCES are composed of all the pastors of the churches in these counties, and lay delegates are also elected to membership in the society.
Over the past few years, the group has focused on supporting Hispanic ministry in local United Methodist Churches, including Misión Metodista Hispana de Soledad, the East Salinas Family Center, and Hispanic ministry at Greenfield UMC.
Funding sources for this work include "askings" and other donations, which are all given directly to the three developing ministries. As of July 1, 2012, all three congregations are led by bilingual pastor the Rev. Ines Lugo.
At the recent Cinco de Mayo celebration, financial gifts were collected from the following churches: Church of the Wayfarer UMC in Carmel, Greenfield UMC, Marina UMC, Monterey UMC, First UMC in Salinas, Santa Cruz UMC, Hilltop UMC in Seaside, First UMC in Watsonville, as well as other individuals, including members of the mission churches themselves.
Special music was provided by the newly formed choir of the East Salinas Family Center, along with guest Tongan singers from Hilltop UMC. Afterwards a special meal of homemade Mexican food was provided by the East Salinas families for all participants.
Over $1,200 has been raised to date, but the efforts at supporting the work of these Hispanic missions continues. To donate, mail checks to the East Salinas Family Center, 995 N. Madeira Ave., Salinas, CA 93905. Questions, contact chair of the MBCES, the Rev. Robin Mathews-Johnson, (831) 724-4434.