The mission of the Hispanic House of Studies is to assist the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences and Duke Divinity School in supporting and strengthening ministries to and with Hispanics and Latinos in North Carolina.
To embrace the fastest growing population in North Carolina, the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church need trained, able persons to minister in Hispanic/Latino programs. Thus the Divinity School has joined The Duke Endowment and these conferences in the formation of leaders for Hispanic/Latino ministry. The Hispanic House of Studies serves as a resource center for these ministries.
The Hispanic House has funds available from the Duke Endowment to be awarded to United Methodist Students who exhibit a calling and passion to minister with the Hispanic/Latino community in the United States. Prospective students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Caminantes means "walkers." Through a Caminantes program for students and one for pastors, fellow sojourners encounter Christ while practicing and honing skills for ministry among Latinos. Caminantes for students meets every week for spiritual formation from a Hispanic Methodist perspective. In addition, participants have the opportunity to attend a spiritual retreat in the fall semester in preparation for an encounter with the Methodist church in Latin America during the spring semester. Caminantes for pastors meets periodically to practice and hone skills for ministry among Latinos.
Apply for the Hispanic Summer Program
The Hispanic Summer Program supplements and enriches theological and ministerial education with academic courses and other activities that directly address Hispanic history, ministry, and theology. It offers students the opportunity to take an immersive three-credit graduate course in a small-class setting and participate in a variety of community-building activities.
Hispanic-Latino/a Preaching Initiative
The Hispanic-Latino/a (H/L) Preaching Initiative provides an opportunity for H/L pastors to receive homiletical training in a peer group format. Each year, ten applicants currently serving as pastors in the H/L community are chosen to participate as preaching fellows.
The Mestizo Church
According to the seer of Patmos, the church is a mestizo assembly gathered from every nation in praise of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Spanish word mestizo comes from the Latin misceo and refers literally to a mixture. The term was first used to describe the children of the violent encounter between European fathers and Amerindian mothers. Neither European nor Indian, these children belonged to a new people, a people of mixed heritage. But this mixed heritage is not simply a historical or ethnic marker; it is also the goal of Christian existence. In the words of Mexican-American theologian Virgil Elizondo, “the future is mestizo,” not because of ethnic mixing but because the new humanity in Christ is a mestizo humanity of Jews and Gentiles.
In North Carolina, some thriving Methodist congregations have intentionally included Hispanics and Latinos into their common life. In this way they have claimed and made manifest God’s promised future. The Duke Endowment recognizes the profound impact these congregations and their pastors have within communities facing the challenges and opportunities of our increasingly growing Hispanic/Latino population. Through their support of the Hispanic House of Studies, The Duke Endowment contributes to the vitality and viability of these ministries.
To reach Hispanics and Latinos in the 21st century, the church needs leaders who have eyes to see that all ethnic ministries are provisional because the future is mestizo. For Methodists, this future needs to be anticipated and looked for in an intentionally Wesleyan way.
Hispanic House Events
Join the Hispanic House for events, including retreats for pastors serving the Hispanic and Latino communities, workshops, worships, and more.
More Hispanic House Programs
Encuentro is a summer program available to Methodist students, faculty, staff, pastors, and laity. It seeks to broaden relationships between Duke Divinity School and the Methodist Church in Mexico.
The program includes stops along the U.S.-Mexico border, from Tijuana, Mexico to Nogales, Ariz. Participants have conversations with experts on immigration and visit ministries on both sides of the border that work with immigrants. Participants worship and share stories and meals with Mexican hosts.
Encuentro is sponsored by the Hispanic House of Studies and the Thriving Rural Churches Initiative.
Field Education in Hispanic/Latino Ministry provides an opportunity for students to discern their vocational identity through contextual learning. The placements vary from parish to nonprofit. They can also include Spanish-speaking settings in North Carolina.
The Divinity School’s summer internships in international field education place theological education and pastoral training in the context of an increasingly interconnected global community. The school has established summer field education placements in Spanish-speaking countries. These take place in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico, and they are available for students at a variety of levels of Spanish-language ability. Learn more about field education.
Course of Study in El Salvador
The Course of Study in El Salvador is intended to establish a more regular theological education for the Methodist Church in Central America. The three-year Spanish-language program is designed to prepare men and women who wish to study Wesleyan theology but are unable to attend a seminary. The course offers students the opportunity to explore theological study in a general way or through theological reflection on a specific theme for the purpose of enriching their Christian service as lay ministers and pastors in their own Methodist Churches in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.
The program is also suitable for anyone seeking advanced training in Christian education or ordination into the Christian ministry. This is an intensive program and certain classes are required. Twice each year a group of teachers travels to El Salvador for one week in the winter and the spring. Teachers and students have enriched testimonies from this unique experience.
This program is possible thanks to the coordinated work of the Hispanic House of Studies, the Methodist Church in El Salvador, The General Board of Higher Education of the United Methodist Church, and The General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
Edgardo Colón-Emeric is assistant professor of Christian theology and senior strategist of the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. He is an ordained minister in the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, where he has served as pastor for Hispanic ministries. Colón-Emeric’s research and teaching bring Wesleyan and Thomistic theology into conversation with questions emerging from the Hispanic context. His book Wesley, Aquinas and Christian Perfection received the 2008 Aquinas Dissertation Prize from Ave Maria University, and his current project explores the significance of the theology of Bartolomé de las Casas for contemporary Christian social engagement.
Colón-Emeric is board member and former chair of Latino Community Credit Union, an organization devoted to economic development among recent immigrants; he serves as the director for the Course of Study Program in El Salvador (2010-present), and he is regularly involved in ecumenical dialogues on behalf of the United Methodist Church and the World Methodist Council. Colón-Emeric is a native of Puerto Rico.
Ismael A. Ruiz-Millan is originally from Sonora, Mexico. He is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church, and his first pastorate was in 2004 at “Unidos por Cristo” in Grimesland, N.C. In 2010, he was appointed to serve the Brookland-Brooksdale United Methodist churches in Roxboro, N.C. Since 2011, Ismael has served as the Director of the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School.
In his role at the Hispanic House of Studies, Ismael has developed and taught courses on pastoral care to pastors and laypersons from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. He also directs different programs within Duke Divinity School that target students and non-Hispanic clergy and laity who are passionate and want to serve the Hispanic and Latino (H/L) population in the U.S. He has developed seminars, workshops, and learning opportunities for current H/L pastors serving the United Methodist Church in North Carolina. Ismael has been actively involved in increasing awareness among clergy and laity around the needs of farm workers and immigrants in North Carolina. Rev. Ruiz-Millan regularly visits the Mexico-U.S. border.
Idia Piacentini was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moved with her husband to the United States in 2003. In August 2008, she joined the Duke Divinity School as staff assistant. Idia holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Puerto Rico. She worships and serves in various ministries at Aldersgate UMC in Durham.