California-Nevada Episcopal Leader Bishop Minerva Carcaño and Executive Director of Connectional Ministries Jorge Domingues welcomed members of the Western Jurisdiction Hispanic Latino Ministry Council (WJHLMC) at the Conference office January 8 and 9 for a time of reflection and planning.
The most important outcome of the gathering was the unanimous prioritization of leadership training for pastors and lay leaders for successful and fruitful engagement with Hispanic/Latino committees. Leadership development plans would include focus on younger generations, migrant populations and Latinx populations which are already the largest minority group in the U.S.
During this quadrennium the Council was able to gain the support of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry in the initiation of an Extension Course of Study School for Part-Time Hispanic/Latino Local Pastors. It also engaged with MARCHA-West, the Hispanic/Latino Caucus in the Western Jurisdiction, in providing leadership development for young people.
Mentored participation at the Special-Called General Conference 2019 enabled a team of young people to grow in their understanding of the polity of The United Methodist Church and participate in prayerful theological conversation about Christian Conferencing and the matter of full-inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in the life of the Church. A second leadership development experience for young leaders is being planned for summer 2020.
In other actions, the Council took the initiative to contract a professional translator to translate the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation into Spanish and will be providing it to the entire UMC. It also committed to support the upcoming MARCHA Assembly, to be held on July 30th- August 2nd, 2020 in Sacramento. CA. Scholarships will be provided for Western Jurisdiction Hispanic/Latino ministry leaders to attend the Assembly and have an opportunity to gather for strategic conversations.
The Council is charged with implementing a strategic plan for Hispanic/Latino ministry in the West by working collaboratively across conference lines. With the exception of Alaska, it includes 2 people from each of the Western Jurisdiction conferences - a cabinet liaison and a practitioner. The inclusion of practitioners facilitates connection with many diverse Hispanic/Latino communities across the connection.
Additional members include two young people from the Western Jurisdiction elected by their peers. The Council also works with the Western Jurisdiction Developers Network and Immigration Task Force to assure the sharing of resources and mutual support. At its meeting the Council began the conversation about identifying the needs of Hispanic/Latino communities living and working in Alaska.
The Council meets annually to review updates on ministries and engage with the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries, a critical supporter of the work being done in the Western Jurisdiction. Its 2020 meeting was a special opportunity to look back at the quadrennium and plan into the next 4 years. Sessions included development of a vision and ministry proposal and budget preparation.
Jorge Domingues shared that the Hispanic/Latino community in the Western Jurisdiction is a mosaic of cultures, backgrounds and nationalities and that for the Council to be effective, this diversity must be represented and understood. The Council is committed to helping lead the jurisdiction in this joyful work.