September 18 - National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 -Oct. 15)

Photo credit: GettyImages.
Photo credit: GettyImages.

A Moment for Mission

“Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised.” —Psalm 113:2-3, NRSV

The United Methodist Church comprises many voices. As the debate on the church’s future has demonstrated, United Methodists do not speak with one voice and perspective. Many voices compete for attention, influence and acceptance.

A major gap in the global conversation of The United Methodist Church is the lack of voices from Latin America, the nations of origin of Latin American immigrants. Sharing Wesleyan theological roots does not result in an automatic sense of identity and ownership with The United Methodist Church. And we must not forget the U.S.-born Hispanic/Latino Methodists who have been Methodists for generations, but may represent different social positions and economic classes.

During National Hispanic Heritage Month—and throughout the year—The United Methodist Church is called to incorporate and listen to Hispanic voices and speak out in support of them to be heard. The church must structure itself in such a way that it is able to include Hispanics/Latinos at the table, dialogue with them and include them in the mainstream of church life. United Methodists also must be in solidarity with them as they struggle to have a voice in the public forum.

The voices of Hispanics/Latinos are vital to our communities and the entire nation, as well as to The United Methodist Church. God speaks to us through them. We must listen to the voices of the marginalized and blend our voices in a liberating chorus for ministry and social justice.

Adapted from “Church Must Hear Hispanic/Latino Voices,” the Rev. David Maldonado, United Methodist News, Nov. 24, 2020. Used by permission.

Children’s Message

When you go to school or church, does everyone look or talk like you do?

Probably not. In fact, some of the children around us may be new to the United States. They may speak a different language.

How do you make them feel welcome? Do you include them on the playground or in Sunday school?

If you’ve ever been the “new kid” and someone invited you to study or play with them, did you feel better?

In the United States, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s a special time to learn about people from the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico and Spain.

If you say hi to a newcomer and include them, you may put a smile on their face—and yours!

Offertory Prayer

Loving God, from the rising of the sun to its setting, we praise you! We celebrate and offer thanks for the gifts of your diverse family around the world. We love you. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost – Debts Are Tossed — Holy giver of all good blessings, we find ourselves under a debt we can never overcome. Every blessing we have received or hope to receive comes from your generosity. The gifts we bring to you this morning pale in comparison to the bottom line of our ledger. Yet you manage your kingdom on a different economic model – one where the equity is grace, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, and justice. You encourage us to be shrewd in the world’s money, knowing it is not the currency that matters in the end. And so, we pray in the name of Jesus, whose life and death paid our debt. Amen. (Luke 16:1-13)

Newsletter Nugget

National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, began in the United States to highlight the history, culture and contributions of Hispanic-Americans—specifically those whose ancestors came from the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico and Spain. Communities honor the achievements of Hispanic and Latino Americans with festivals and educational activities.

Hispanic Heritage Week began in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Ronald Reagan later extended it to a 30-day celebration. It was enacted into law in August 1988.

The dates are significant because Sept. 15 is the independence anniversary for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The independence days of Mexico and Chile are Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans in The United Methodist Church and around the world who have inspired others to achieve success.

Adapted from various websites.