A Moment for Mission
"Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you." —Matthew 7:7, NRSV
If your congregation is wondering how to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, you might be inspired by La Trinidad United Methodist Church, San Antonio, which hosts a series of events.
The 2017 celebration, for example, kicked off with "Una Noche Mexicana" (A Mexican Night), a fiesta of traditional music and food, followed by a "Congreso" (consortium) on "La Obra Hispana" (Hispanic work), a united worship service and a potluck meal.
Three "Congreso" seminars on Saturday mornings were open events with special emphasis on clergy and lay leaders engaged in Hispanic, bilingual and Spanish-language ministries.
Leading the first seminar was Bishop Joel Martinez, who focused on cultural and historic origins of Methodist work among Hispanics. The second seminar—a panel discussion and community conversation—reflected on the status of Hispanic ministry within the recently formed Rio Texas Annual Conference. Panelists included three former Rio Grande Annual Conference pastors as well as the conference statistician. During the third seminar, the Rev. Cristian De La Rosa, a Boston University professor, guided participants in developing hopes, goals and a vision for the future.
Wrapping up the monthlong celebration was "Culto Unido" (united worship).
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15–Oct. 15) is a perfect time for congregations of any size and demographic to learn more about our Hispanic brothers and sisters and seek new ways to be in ministry with all of God's children.
—Adapted from the Rio Texas Annual Conference web page
Loving God, we sometimes forget what it means to have open hearts, open minds and open doors. Our prejudice gets in the way of appreciating the gifts and graces of all your children. Forgive us. Teach us acceptance. Amen.
From Discipleship Resources: Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide - Blessed God of all creation, at this point in worship we offer gifts that are but tokens of gratitude for the incomprehensible bounty of gifts you have given freely to us. You have blessed us with life and breath, with sight and hearing, with taste and touch — yet there is so much of your blessing that our senses sometimes miss: the beauty of a flower, the smell after the rain, the taste of the fruit of each branch, the symphony that is a bird in flight or in song. As we leave our gifts in your hands, we pray for senses heightened to see your masterpiece of creation all around us. To your glory, we pray! Amen! [Song of Solomon 2:8-13]
During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins on September 15, the anniversary of the 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 or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban or "another Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin."
Today, 57.5 million people (18 percent of the U.S. population) are of Hispanic or Latino origin.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, United Methodists reflect on the real meaning of open hearts, open minds and open doors and celebrate the generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans who positively influence and enrich our church and community.
—Adapted from www.hispanicheritagemonth.org