; charset=UTF-8" /> 2012 Annual Gathering Report of the Associate Conference Minister for Border and Latino Ministries : Connecting Voices
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2012 Annual Gathering Report of the Associate Conference Minister for Border and Latino Ministries

By the Rev. Dr. Carlos J. Correa Bernier

SUMMARY

Border Ministry:

     Centro Romero began offering immersion experiences on March 2008, with the theoretical understanding that justice has undergone radical shifts in the last few decades. We understood that justice issues were once viewed as a public presentation of particularistic theological commitments ¬¬– translating those commitments into theologically neutral discourses, but we at Centro Romero strongly believe that in the contemporary landscape we must focus on the praxis (instead of discourses) with a strong theological narrative as the centerpiece of everything we do: a theological narrative that renders those practices and commitments intelligible.

     Our understanding of justice at Centro Romero guides our theological reflection moments as we provide the type of immersion/educational experiences we offer, requiring us to establish a strong linkage between what is praxis and the church seeking justice. For the last three years we have witnessed the results of our programmatic approach at work: strengthening the relationship between the church (participants) and the seeking of justice. We have also noticed that without a close relationship between praxis and the justice seeking church, the praxis and the formation of justice champions cannot be well accomplished.

     After three years of providing the type of educational/transformational experiences we offer we can reasonably conclude that we should avoid approaching, or understanding Centro Romero, as the vanguard of translatability from the church to the society, instead we should be intentional in the implementation of our mission as a call to service from the church to a particular society; in our case, the immediate communities on both sides of the US-Mexican border and beyond.

     Also, we must be intentional in providing our groups of church members, seminarians, college students, seminary-trained pastors, laypersons, seminarians and community members with the opportunity of examining the implications of a shifting discourse in a theology that promotes justice as an intrinsic part in the relationship we would like to see developing between the church and local disfranchised communities we must serve wherever we are.

Latino Ministries:

     More than a report the following pages should be read as a reflection on Hispanic Ministries and as a one-year review of the development and implementation of the Office for the Associate Conference Minister for Latino and Border Ministries. As usual, our Conference is creating new avenues to do ministry. With the creation of my position as the Associate Conference Minister for Latino and Border Ministries the Southern California Nevada Conference established an important precedent in the life of our church. I am grateful to Rev. Félix Villanueva who created my position, to Justice and Witness Ministries for being open to a new type of partnership with the Conference and to the SCNC Board of Directors for welcoming me to the Conference.

     As is well known, Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the U.S. population, and the large majority of Hispanics are Christian—Catholic and Protestant. According to the 2010 Census, 308.7 million people resided in the United States on April 1, 2010, of which 50.5 million (or 16 percent) were of Hispanic origin.  In California the Hispanic population is of 14,013,719 or 37.6% of the entire State population, representing a growth of 27.8% between 2000 and 2010.  As established residents or new immigrants, Hispanics are making major contributions to the country’s economy and society.

     The growth in the Hispanic population is also reflected in the membership increase in many Christian congregations throughout the United States, posing major opportunities and challenges for the churches that serve them. Overall, the Hispanic community remains disproportionately affected by poverty, low education levels, poor health, and discrimination. The reality is that churches that seek to minister to Hispanic community members in need often do so with limited financial resources and inadequate leadership.

     Nevertheless, after many conversations with pastors and members of our SCNC Hispanic congregations, and after many visits to the communities we are currently serving, everything   point clearly to growth opportunities for the United Church of Christ, more specifically for the Southern California Nevada Conference. The following points are just four indicators that point toward opportunities for growth within our SCNC Hispanic ministries

Download the full report: [http://www.scncucc.org/Annual_Gathering/documents/ReportACMLatinoBorderMinistries.pdf]

Other Reports:

Report of the Conference Board of Directors Chair

Report of the Executive Associate Conference Minister

Report of the Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations

Report of the Youth Ministry Coordinator

Report of the Young Adult Ministry Coordinator

Report of the Outdoor Ministry Team

Report of the Joint Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)/United Church of Christ Global Ministry Committee

Report from Retirment Housing Foundation

Report from Peppermint Ridge

Report from Pilgrim Place

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