A Moment for Mission
"I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service." – 1 Timothy 1:12, NRSV
Did you know that The United Methodist Church includes almost 80,000 Hispanic lay members? Or that today, 57.5 million people or 18 percent of the U.S. population are of Hispanic or Latino origin? What a fertile ground for ministry!
Hispanics have a profound influence on the U.S. through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service. They enhance and shape our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence during this period.
The term "Hispanic" or "Latino" refers to Puerto Rican, South American, Central American and other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. People of Spanish, Hispanic and Latino origin often identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican or Cuban.
We invite you to learn and celebrate the generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans who positively influence and enrich our nation and society. Ask, "How does my church welcome our Hispanic sisters and brothers?" Discover new ways to reach out and affirm all people in our faith family and beyond.
— Adapted from www.hispanicheritagemonth.org
Loving God, we are grateful that Christ Jesus calls us to serve. Show us how to be neighborly to every one of your children, especially those whom others forget. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost — Majestic and Playful God, you see in children the hearts of generosity and joy; and in adults who should be wise, you see the foolishness of believing we can control our lives through money and power. We bring gifts to you this morning, foolishly believing that what we have is ours to give or hold back. Give us eyes to see we are all your children enjoying breath, life, food, drink, and shelter only because of the unimaginable bounty of your love and caring. In the name of Jesus, who held nothing back, we pray. Amen. (Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28)
Many United Methodist congregations across the connection reach out to their Hispanic neighbors by teaching English to newcomers. About 20 miles from St. Louis, Manchester United Methodist Church partners with the Parkway-Rockwood Area Adult Education and Literacy/ESL Program to host English-language, adult basic education and high school equivalency test preparation, and citizenship classes on-site. Gathering in a friendly environment, adults improve their skills in English conversation, pronunciation, grammar, reading and writing.
For 50 years, the Parkway-Rockwood Area program has served thousands of students—almost 1,700 adults in 2016. During the academic year, Manchester United Methodist Church hosts daily morning and afternoon sessions. All classes are free.
When asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "The one who showed … mercy." Then he added, "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:29-37).
On church campuses and in other settings, United Methodists "show mercy" to their Hispanic neighbors. What a meaningful way to learn from one another and to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month!
— Adapted from Manchester UMC website