As we move into September, it’s time to honor and celebrate the culture and traditions of Hispanic and Latine communities in the United States. From September 15th to October 15th National Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to pay homage to Latines’ experiences and invaluable contributions to the country and our Church. Beyond honoring a particular heritage, this month offers an opportunity to promote inclusivity and embrace the perspectives and talents that enrich our Church. Speaking as a pastor who deeply values unity and diversity, I warmly invite everyone to join New Church Ministry in commemorating the richness of the Latine culture throughout this month.
As a pastor, my utmost aim has always been creating a space where our community can come together for worship and spiritual nurturing, no matter a person’s racial or ethnic background. However, this journey hasn’t been absent of challenges. In my early ministry years, the notion of a “church” often felt confined by preconceived expectations and stereotypes imposed upon me. It appeared as if church leaders had already predetermined what a community of faith would look like if I “planted” one, which often felt restraining and racialized. For me, National Hispanic Heritage Month gives the Church an opportunity to remember our unity and solidarity in our multiculturalism.
As the Minister of New Church Strategies, my primary goal is to establish an open and accepting environment within our church community. I accomplish this by providing training for emerging and affiliating leaders on how to create communities that are, as we say, “a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.” I strongly believe that we must prioritize inclusivity and challenge stereotypes when starting these faith communities. Our call as a movement for wholeness is to establish sacred spaces where everyone feels embraced and valued regardless of their background. With National Hispanic Heritage Month, let us use this opportunity to bridge gaps between cultures, share our stories, and realize God’s Kindom.