By: Christa Meland
The Minnesota Conference is working to expand Hispanic-Latino ministries not only in the Twin Cities but across the state.
This spring, the conference received $25,000 from The United Methodist Church’s National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry, which required a match from the Minnesota Conference. Of the $50,000 in provided and matching funds, half went to Iglesia Piedra Viva (a new Hispanic church start in Minneapolis) for its guitar program, and the other half went to youth leadership development at La Puerta Abierta in St. Paul, which has an active youth group of about 22.
Members of both of these faith communities, including youth, recently traveled to Madison, Wisconsin for a lay missioner training and to learn from leaders of the Wisconsin Conference, which has several dozen Spanish-speaking ministries.
The UMC National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry has earmarked additional funds for the Minnesota Conference to expand Spanish-speaking ministries across the state—within and beyond the metro area.
The conference plans to identify areas where there’s indigenous leadership, passion, and energy for new Hispanic-Latino ministries, and cities flagged for possible exploration include Albert Lea, Mankato, Medelia/St. James, Northfield, Owatonna, Rochester, St. Cloud, Willmar, and Worthington.
A new ministry might initially consist of a Spanish-speaking worship service nested within some of these communities.
“We’re a people who are called to grow in love of God and neighbor, reach new people, and heal a broken world—and we don’t want language and culture to be an obstacle to that calling,” said Rev. Dan Johnson, Twin Cities District superintendent and a member of the grant team. “More and more people are coming into the Twin Cities metro area and beyond who are not native Minnesotans and or native citizens. If we’re going to be truly inclusive, we need to be able to provide the gospel in accessible ways.”
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church