The hills of North Carolina and the streets of Times Square both were recently the focus of the Episcopal Church's on-going commitment to Latino/Hispanic ministry.
Clergy, diocesan missioners, parish staff, church planters and lay leaders met Nov. 15-17 at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, for "Nuestra Vision: Nuestra Mision en Accion/Our Vision: Our Mission In Action." The conference was meant to help participants expand their knowledge by sharing best practices and exploring new methods of stewardship, church growth and evangelism. They learned strategies and ideas for starting and strengthening Latino/Hispanic congregations.
"There is much excitement among our leaders, as we experience the implementation of the Episcopal Church's Strategic Vision for Reaching Latinos/Hispanics," explained the Rev. Canon Anthony Guillén, Episcopal Church missioner for Latino/Hispanic ministry.
Keynote speakers included the Rev. Alberto Cutié, a best-selling author/columnist/TV personality who is internationally known as Padre Alberto and is priest-in-charge of Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park, Florida, and the Rev. Miguelina Espinal, priest-in-charge of Church of the Epiphany, Orange, New Jersey, who served in the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic in various capacities for several years and has been the Episcopal Church associate program officer for young adult ministries and leadership recruitment.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 17 a Hispanic mother and father who attend Todos los Santos Episcopal Church in Highland Park, California, were featured on an advertisement that was broadcast a number of times on the Reuters digital billboard in New York City's Times Square. The image, projected at 35 feet wide and 32.5 feet high, included the words "La Iglesia Episcopal les da la bienvenida" ("The Episcopal Church Welcomes You").
The image, photographed by Marie Oviedo of Ventura, California, is also available here for Episcopal congregations and ministries to download for their use.
Guillén said many Latinos in the United States are seeking a home church. "This ad features a young Latino Episcopalian family which conveys the message to Latinos that they are genuinely welcome," he said. "La familia [the family] is a very close-knit social unit that is very important in the Latino culture and the ad affirms this."
The spark for the Times Square advertisement came from Isela Gonzalez, of St.Margaret's & San Francisco de Asis Episcopal Church in Miami Lakes, Florida, who won the spot at the recent Hispanic PR & Social Media Marketing Conference in Dallas, Texas.