Caminando hacia adelante: Walking Forward with Latino/Hispanic Ministries and Diocesan Initiatives
May 27, 2021
I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Yo te instruiré y te enseñaré el camino que debes seguir, te aconsejaré y pondré mis ojos en ti.
Since moving into the role of Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries and Diocesan Initiatives three months ago, I’ve hit the ground running--occasionally wishing I had more time to get acclimated to this new position, yet committed to moving forward and creating an intentional balance between the transactional and relational components of my work.
Within the context of our Latino/Hispanic Ministries, I’ve been focusing on better understanding the composition of the counties in which our six Spanish-speaking communities reside, using MissionInsite to get a better understanding of potential opportunities for mission, outreach, and engagement. Here are some of the fascinating data points I’ve uncovered:
- The United States is the second largest Latino/Hispanic country in the world (Mexico is the largest).
- In DC, Latinos/Hispanics are 11.3% of the population, making them the 3rd largest ethnic group in the city.
- In North Prince George’s County, Latinos/Hispanics are the 2nd largest segment of the population at 19.1%.
- In Montgomery County, Latinos/Hispanics are 19.9% of the population, making them the 4th largest ethnic group in the county.
This data suggests there is a rich mission field open to us as we seek new opportunities to serve our Latino/Hispanic communities and invite those in search of a spiritual home into the Episcopal Church.
In the next 90 days, I will convene an Advisory Group and lead them in the development of a vision and goals for Latino/Hispanic Ministries that align with the Diocesan Strategic Plan and its priorities of spiritual formation, church viability, and equity and justice. An essential part of this work will include journeying alongside our Latino/Hispanic clergy and six Spanish-speaking faith communities, listening deeply to their issues, challenges, opportunities and dreams.
Under the “Diocesan Initiatives” section of my new portfolio, over the last three months, I’ve found joy getting to know more about our various diocesan grants--from the COVID Emergency Relief Fund to student scholarships to clergy support grants to Congregational Growth Grants. The committee members who help administer these grants dedicate their time, passion, and care to ensure that our leaders--lay and ordained--and our congregations have an opportunity to embark on continuing education, support initiatives that foster collaborative partnerships in evangelism, worship, and justice, and support college expenses for students. In June, we’ll make an announcement about the reopening of the Congregational Growth Grants, so stay tuned!
With much joy and excitement, I continue to caminando hacia delante [walk forward] with God’s grace and blessing in advocating for and supporting our Latino/Hispanic faith communities, and supporting our key diocesan programs and grants to strengthen our diocesan mission of drawing people to Jesus and embodying his love for the world.
Mildred Briones Reyes
Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries and Diocesan Initiatives