In an interview with The Duke Endowment, Edgardo Colón-Emeric, assistant research professor of theology and Hispanic studies and director of the Hispanic House of Studies, discusses the steps the Divinity School is taking to support and advance Hispanic/Latino ministry in North Carolina.
Colón-Emeric describes his vision as “a more integrated sense of Hispanic ministry in the life of churches, where existing congregations start asking, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ and try to reach out to whoever their neighbors are—Anglo, African American, Latino, whatever. …That vision is very much grounded in scripture, but it is difficult because it requires reconciliation. It requires people who do not know each other at first to learn each other’s ways. It’s difficult because many of us prefer being surrounded by people who are just like us. It’s easier to start a Hispanic ministry in Spanish that’s focused only on Hispanics, but I don’t think that is ultimately faithful or sustainable.”
For church leaders, the Hispanic House of Studies serves as a resource center. For students, it offers opportunities that can enrich the Divinity School experience. A fellowship program includes a 10-week summer field education placement in Hispanic/Latino ministry and a chance to experience the Methodist Church in Latin America. Fellows commit to serving at least five years in a Hispanic/Latino ministry setting.
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