Sandra T. Montes, EdD

What is your relationship with the Church? Share a little about yourself. How have you ministered in the Church?
I have been in the Episcopal Church since I was about 16. I was born into the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA, evangelical) tradition. My dad was a CMA church planter and later an episcopal priest. In the late 80s, my dad introduced us to the Episcopal Church. When I was about 30, I was invited to be part of the music team for the Episcopal Youth Event 2002 and because of that I have had many opportunities to sing throughout the episcopal Church. Later, I was invited to speak and be part of leadership teams and to write. I have been blessed by Anthony Guillen and before him, Daniel Caballero in the Latino/Hispanic ministries office with a few paid and many volunteer opportunities. Those opportunities, along with opportunities through other ministries in TEC have formed me and blessed me for almost 20 years. I have been able to minister through music, education, writings, social media and administrative tasks. I think everything we do can be a blessing – no matter how little or large it is. A big part of my ministry (and the least popular) is being brave and speaking out when there is lack of diversity and authenticity in our Church events, music, leadership. It is very scary and lonely, but I feel blessed when others thank me for speaking up when they don’t feel they can. I am blessing the Church by helping her be more aware and hopefully become wider, not whiter.

How and where does Bless show up in your ministry?
Bless shows up daily in my ministry as a musician, writer, consultant, digital evangelist and educator. Bless is what we are as Children of God – when we choose to do God’s work. I am blessed by working with incredible people around the Church. My biggest ministry, though, is being mom to a man who is a blessing to me. He is very involved in the Church also and that is a blessing I have helped give our church.

How did it feel to give Blessing?
I am blessed by being a blessing. When people tell me that a song, an article, a post was a blessing, they bless me. I pray before most everything I do and pray all the time (no need to close my eyes or get on my knees) and I pray I am a blessing, not a stumbling block.

What gives you hope about the future of your ministry?
I pray that God continues to allow me to bless and be blessed through music, writings and my life. I have amazing parents who are still blessing others in their 70s, so I am hopeful I will continue being a blessing until I die.

The Way of Love is the Presiding Bishop’s vision for The Episcopal Church. What about the presiding bishop gives you hope?
The Presiding Bishop’s message of love is what gives me hope. I remember the first time I heard Bishop Curry – he was talking about all of us being called by name. I met Bishop Curry and spent almost a week with him in his diocese right after his election. My son and I were invited to be part of his diocese’s Lift Every Voice Freedom Ride and I remember hearing about his ministry, hearing the youth talk about him and loved interacting with him. It was such a blessing that he would be the first Black PB and had such an inclusive message of love for all.

Are there any other thoughts on the practice of Bless you’d like to share?
I hope we are all open to seeing Bless all around us. We can bless with a smile, a word, silence, prayer. We can be blessed by being open to others and whatever they bring – because it is God coming near us.

T.J. Houlihan - Development Officer

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