Duke Divinity School is celebrating the 15th anniversary, the Quinceañera, of the founding of the Hispanic House of Studies with a series of events on Oct. 12, including a panel discussion, worship, lecture, and a documentary and art exhibit featuring renowned artist Enrique Chiu.

The Hispanic House of Studies was founded with the support of the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church and The Duke Endowment in order to better serve the fast-growing Hispanic/Latinx population in the state. The house was created as a resource center for students, pastors, and congregations to support their efforts to do ministry in Hispanic/Latinx communities.

Detail of a painting by artist artist Enrique Chiu
Courtesy of artist Enrique Chiu

Today, the mission of the house has expanded to support Hispanic/Latinx students and ministers from a range of religious traditions, and it also includes programs that reach beyond the borders of the U.S. into Latin America. The house supports a student spiritual formation program; organizes retreats for pastors and lay leaders; co-sponsors the Hispanic Summer Program and the Hispanic Theological Initiative; partners with Methodist leaders in Central America to offer the Methodist Course of Study in Central America; and leads the Hispanic Latino Pastoral Initiative, which is a three-year Spanish-language ministerial certificate program that trains Latinx pastors, lay leaders, and congregants in the U.S. and throughout Latin America.

In 2021, Duke Divinity School launched a Certificate in Latinx Studies, which can be earned as part of the M.Div., M.T.S., and M.A. in Christian Practice degrees, and is designed to prepare students for ministry in Hispanic/Latinx churches and communities in the U.S. A full-tuition Latinx Studies Certificate Fellowship currently supports 15 students and includes additional mentoring opportunities as well as stipends for field education.

The celebration event will provide an opportunity to mark the house’s history and address the importance of its present work and future contributions. Said Alma Tinoco Ruiz, director of the Hispanic House and assistant professor of the practice of homiletics and evangelism, “Arriving at such a significant mark in our history allows us a unique opportunity to look back at the journey of La Casa and all of those who have been part of its work and life.”

The Oct. 12 events include a worship service with Dean Edgardo Colón-Emeric preaching and the Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millan, a past director of the Hispanic House, presiding; and a panel discussion with alumni and current studies on the impact of the Hispanic House and the importance of Latinx-focused ministry and academic work. That evening, the school will host Enrique Chiu, creator of El Mural de la Hermandad on the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, for a screening of the documentary “Un Mundo Sin Muros,” a lecture on "Immigration, Social Justice and the Arts," and a response by North Carolina-based artists Tirzah Villegas and Renzo Ortega. The lecture will address migration and liberation theology from the perspective of the arts and movements for social justice. A reception will follow.

Read more about the event.

Said Dean Edgardo Colón-Emeric, who was the founding director of Hispanic House, “This Quinceañera is a Pentecost moment for the entire Divinity community. It is a celebration of God’s mighty acts through and from Hispanic/Latino people and a commission to announce and anticipate the day of the great fiesta, when Christ’s justice, reconciliation, and peace prevail.”

Registration by Sept. 28 is encouraged. Attendance is first come, first served for those who have not registered in advance.