The National Hispanic/Latino Caucus for The United Methodist Church and the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, MARCHA (Metodistas Asociados Representando la Causa Hispano Americana, or Association of Methodists Representing the Cause of Hispanic Americans) held its 48th annual meeting August 1-4 in Philadelphia under the theme, “The Extraordinary Power of God: Tesoros en Vasos de Barro” – Treasures in Vessels of Clay. The intended message: That while as humans we are fallible and prone to breaking, God’s extraordinary power is alive and active within us and through us, and enables us to stand strong even in this time of crisis within United Methodism.
This year the division within the church over LGBTQ issues shared focus with concerns about immigration, racism, and gun violence – concerns punctuated during the closing weekend with horrific mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. MARCHA’s executive director, Bishop Elias Galvan, issued a statement on behalf of the organization, lamenting the lives lost “to hate and violence,” decrying “the evils of white supremacy, racism and xenophobia,” and calling for both prayer and action, in the form of stronger gun control measures and enhanced background checks and mental health assessments. Read complete statement here.
Speaking to the division within the church, the bishop (lower right photo) said, “We know that Hispanic-Latino ministries are going to be impacted by any of the decisions taken by the 2020 General Conference, so it is essential that the caucus take the voice of our people to the General Conference.” However, “Our purpose is not to advocate for MARCHA but for the ministry of our church among the Hispanic-Latino population,” he added.
In MARCHA: Hispanic-Latino voice needed at GC2020, the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez writes for United Methodist News that several clerical leaders gave explanations of the different movements and initiatives that have emerged after the 2019 General Conference, referencing the presentation by California-Nevada's own Executive Director of Connectional Ministries Rev. Jorge Domingues. The Cal-Nev DCM presented the position of the Western Jurisdiction, saying it “has become a space for the discussion and construction of new ecclesiastical alternatives.”