By Susan Suarez Webster
Did you know that there are 111,944 people who are Hispanic/Latino in Mecklenburg County according to the 2010 U.S. Census? That is 12.2% of the population in the County. Do our churches reflect this demographic? Could we strive to have at least 10% of our congregation be from the Hispanic/Latino community? These are the questions that the Hispanic/Latino Committee of the Metro District ponders and as they are doing so, they strategically plan to involve the Hispanic/Latino people in the ministry and reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How is the Hispanic/Latino Committee helping in the Metro District?
Celebrates the work of the Centro de Esudios Teologicos de Charlotte (Theological Study Center of Charlotte or CETC). The CETC, which is a partnership of the Metro District, Pfieffer University and Union Presbyterian Seminary, is in its third year of providing lay theological education and leadership development in Spanish and Portugeuse.
Helps support the Hispanic outreach at Forest Hill UMC in Concord: Pastor Cándido and his wife, Pilar serve an active community of believers who worship together on Sundays and engage in Bible study and prayer during the week as well as reaching out to their community on Friday evenings.
Contributed to helping Central UMC in East Charlotte engage with their community from all over the world and in particular to the Spanish speaking of the area. For the 28212 zip code area around Albemarle Road, it is estimated that 10,775 are of Hispanic/Latino origin, which is 28% of the population around Central UMC. Currently there are 12 families attending the church on Sundays and others who come to the church for English classes.
The Hispanic/Latino committee serves as a place where Spanish speaking pastors and lay leaders talk about their dreams for the churches where they serve and gather strength from the Lord and each other to move forward in adding to God’s kingdom.
Some of the churches in the Metro district who are currently engaging in ministry with the Latino community are Matthews UMC, Crossroads, Forest Hill, Kerr Street UMC, Good Shepherd, Memorial, Harrison, Hickory Grove, Central (East Charlotte), and Cokesbury.
On September 11 – 13, the Hispanic/Latino Committee will host a conference in Spanish for leaders of the UMC with small group/cell church expert Joel Comiskey. Based on his book, Myths and Truths of the Cell Church, Joel will be speaking on Friday, Sept. 11 and Saturday, September 12 at Matthews UMC and the closing meal and service will be on Sunday, September 13 at Saint Andrews UMC. Those who wish to attend should register with Erika at Erika@MatthewsUMC.org (980-208-7456).
Submitted by Susan Suarez Webster. Susan is the Assistant Pastor at Central UMC in Charlotte and the Chair of the Hispanic/Latino Committee for the Metro District. If you have any questions about reaching the Spanish speaking people around your church, you may contact her and the committee at email@example.com.