Deacon's Corner: June 16, 2017

School’s out for summer!  Or is it?  As I pack up my Parent Liaison offices at my schools for summer break, I am also packing my suitcase for 10 days of intensive learning at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.  Our Bishop, The Right Rev. Shannon Johnston, has encouraged and supported this opportunity for me to participate in the Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course.  This is an innovative nine-day intensive course designed for diocesan staff, clergy, lay leaders, and seminarians to learn cultural competency and ministry to the country’s Latino/Hispanic population.

“The purpose of Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency course is to provide a hands-on, cultural competency of the history, culture, socio-demographic, and religious aspects of the Latinos/Hispanics in the United States,” said the Rev. Canon Anthony Guillén, Episcopal Church Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries, “and to provide the foundational tools necessary for church leaders to discern and explore the type of Latino/Hispanic ministry that best fits a congregational setting and its context.”

Guillén added, “This multi-faceted, intensive course also exposes students to the general profiles and ministry distinctions between the immigrant/first generation Latinos and the U.S born, multi-generational Latinos which require more of a bicultural, bilingual or English-dominant ministry and evangelization.”

Enabled by General Convention 2015 Resolution AO86: Create a Network of Partners on Latino/Hispanic Congregational Ministry Development, the course will combine academic learning with hands-on experience to provide foundational tools for church leaders to gain a deep understanding of ways of welcoming and serving Latino families, and sharing spiritual, sacramental and community life together.

“This course is exactly what the church needs right now,” observed Scott Bader-Saye, Academic Dean at Seminary of the Southwest. “The missional future of the Episcopal Church must include creative and culturally competent ministry in Latino/Hispanic contexts.”

Among the goals of the course are:

  • Show a familiarity with the general Latino culture and “religiosity” context of Latino worship and sacramental pastoral care.
  • Learn to manage and address the worshiping needs of a dual language congregation, or to prepare for a special liturgical event involving English and Spanish speaking attendees.
  • Acquire a fundamental competency in learning the general aspects of the pastoral and congregational ministries aimed at the immigrant and first generation, plus the ministry focused especially on the more acculturated and English-language speaking Latinos of the second and third generation.
  • Define and interpret the broad historical and demographic profile of the Latino/Hispanic population in the United States through designated readings, course lectures, written reflections, class participation and experiential trips.
  • Acquire firsthand knowledge of the church in mission in the borderlands and identify the political, social, and pastoral issues revolving around immigration from Mexico as well as Central and South America and the Caribbean. (Borderlands refers to either the U.S./Mexico border or immigrant entry points in urban centers.)

I will miss being with you June 18th through June 27th and I look forward to hosting a forum this fall to share with you what I learn and experience.  If you are interested please follow me on Facebook (Holly Hanback); Twitter and/or Instagram (@DcnHolly) as I will share as much of this journey and learning with you as is possible.  Please keep me in your prayers for safe travel and strength for learning with an open heart and open mind.  And, please keep my family in your prayers as they navigate their days without me so that I might go learn, experience and grow as a minister in God’s church for God’s people.

Yours In Christ’s service,

Deacon Holly