In 2007, the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church recognized that in order to serve the Hispanic/Latinx population—the fastest growing population in their state—they needed trained leaders for Hispanic/Latinx ministry. As a result, these conferences joined forces alongside Duke Divinity and the Duke Endowment to create the Hispanic House of Studies (HHS).
The HHS was created as a resource center for students, pastors, and congregations in order to support their efforts to do ministry with the Hispanic/Latinx community in the U.S. By building the capacity of church leaders, the HHS seeks to meet the needs of the population it serves and strengthen the ministry of the United Methodist Church locally and nationally.
In addition, the HHS participates in the formation of future Hispanic/Latinx and non-Hispanic/Latinx church leaders who are committed to the community and dedicated to be self-aware leaders who can thrive in a diverse context. The HHS is committed to equipping and accompanying these church leaders as well as congregations of all backgrounds and traditions on their journey to becoming the church Christ has called us to be—a place of unity, transformation, reconciliation, and holistic healing.
Certificate in Latinx Studies
The Certificate in Latinx Studies is designed to provide theological and ministerial formation to students preparing for ministry with Hispanic/Latinx churches and communities in the U.S. Students in the program take courses in Latinx theology, participate in the Caminantes advanced spiritual formation program, and, in the case of M.Div. students, have at least one field education placement or contextual engagement project in a Hispanic/Latinx ministry setting.
Caminantes is a group of fellow sojourners who seek to encounter Christ on the roads connecting Duke Divinity School to the world, while practicing and honing skills for ministry with Hispanic/Latinx communities.
Caminantes meets every week for spiritual formation from a Latinx perspective. Together the group reads the Bible, discusses texts emerging from the Latinx community, and worships with local Hispanic/Latinx congregations.
In addition to the weekly meetings, Caminantes have the opportunity to attend a spiritual retreat in the fall semester in preparation for an encounter with the church in Latin America during the spring semester. For more information about the program, please contact Rev. Alma Tinoco Ruiz, director of the Hispanic House of Studies.
“I found my home at Duke Divinity School in the Hispanic House. Caminantes in particular was the thing I looked forward to every week. It was where I could fully be myself, where I didn’t have to explain every little aspect of where I was coming from to be understood and loved. This program, these people, gave me reason to show up every day. “ —Tirzah Villegas, Caminantes member (2019-2022)
“Caminantes gave me the chance to form bonds in an institution that used to feel colorless for me. I never had to explain myself or why I felt the things I felt when I was with fellow Caminantes members. They were always willing to lend a helping hand and cry in juntos.” —Leah Sauceda-Smith, Caminantes member (2020-2022)
Sumérgete is an annual retreat for pastors in ministry with the Latinx community. Attendants spend a weekend in April sharing in worship, praise, and theological reflection. The date and location will be announced later.
Hispanic-Latino/a Preaching Initiative
The Hispanic-Latino/a Preaching Initiative at Duke Divinity School provides an opportunity for Hispanic-Latinx pastors, lay leaders, and congregants to receive theological and ministerial training in Spanish.
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.
Other Hispanic House of Studies Programs
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 acquire theological and ministerial education but are unable to attend a seminary. The Course of Study seeks to enrich church leaders’ ministry in their local churches and in their communities. This program is also suitable for anyone seeking advanced training in Christian education or ordination into Christian ministry. Twice each year, a group of teachers from Latin America and the U.S. participate in the Course of Study and meet with students from Central America meet in Ahuachapán, El Salvador, for an intensive week of coursework.
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.
“Through the Course of Study program in El Salvador, we have been able to strengthen pastoral roles and practices in Methodist churches in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panamá. We have offered our participants a high-quality program of theological formation focused on their ministerial and contextual needs. The impact of the Course of Study can be seen in how our students have grown to become clergy and to fulfill positions of national leadership in their countries. This formation has strengthened men and women alike. When this initiative began, women participants were a minority, and they now count for more than 40 percent of our students, many of them serving as clergy, candidates for ministry, teachers, and ministerial leaders. It is a joy to witness these women grow in their ministries for the work of Christ.” —Marta Landaverde, pastor of Nueva Jerusalén Methodist Church in El Salvador and coordinator of the Course of Study in El Salvador