Since last we met, I’ve had the privilege to speak with Marcia Ledford, one of the two missioners for this exciting new ministry. Hearing Marcia explain her dreams for the work she’s doing makes it easy to want to get involved!
First, a tiny recap, La Iglesia was born because of the work of a resolution from our last General Convention, A073: Establish Diocesan Mission Enterprise Zones (the full text of this resolution was in last week’s blog) which was designed to provide funding to identify “Ministry Enterprise Zones” within the Church. A MEZ might be recognized as a geographic area, a group of congregations or an entire diocese “…committed to mission and evangelism that engages under-represented groups, including youth and young adults, people of color, poor and working-class people, people with a high-school diploma or less, and/or people with little or no church background or involvement.” Our Bishop has a vision for ministry to the growing Latino population in our area so, working with missioners Marcia Ledford and Juan Perez, a grant was submitted requesting funding for a new work in our Household. Our diocese was awarded a $100,000 grant with additional funding to come through a diocesan restricted fund – and St Iglesia Detroit began!
When asked about the foundational principles for La Iglesia, Marcia expressed two particular goals: first, we know that people of color have been racially marginalized for too long and there is a great need to dismantle systems of injustice (the fourth of The Five Marks of Mission – http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/five-marks-mission – by which we are called to live out our faith); and, second, as a Church, we have a lot to offer. We can reach out to all part of God’s vineyard! Together we can begin to work to eradicate the poverty and injustice that has become so much of the Latin@ experience. Marcia shared an intriguing statistical prediction that, by 2050, one in every 3 people in the US will have some Hispanic heritage. We need workers for the vineyard to ensure that all people receive the respect and dignity that are theirs because they are beloved children of God.
The current vision is to begin to build relationships so that a core team can be launched. The leaders will need to have passion and be invested personally in this ministry for the work to have longevity. Together, the core team will create a mission statement for La Iglesia. Marcia was clear: “Directions are only helpful if you know where you want to go.” A carefully crafted mission statement will identify where the ministry is headed. Once these are accomplished, the team can begin to teach, bless and send forth.
The ministry is expected to move forward in tiers beginning with the building of their “headquarters” – the local leadership. When this is in place, they will spread out. Demographics show a movement from the city to the Downriver region and Pontiac. There are also locations with Latin@ agricultural workers near Pleasant Lake, Adrian, Hudson and as far west as Hillsdale County. Finally, the hope is to spread the work throughout “the Mitten” as an inter-diocesan initiative.
How can you get involved in this exciting ministry? Glad you asked!! First, “like” them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/IglesiaDetroit); then consider attending “Nuevo Amenecer: Community. Mission. Fiesta” at Kanuga Camp, August 25 – 28. This conference will give “… practical tools and a network of support to better equip for ministry those working within the Latino/Hispanic community and those who want to be.” You can get more information about this great opportunity at: http://www.kanuga.org/conference-calendar/conference-calendar-details/nuevo-amanecer#sthash.bm5d99B9.dpuf
A Pew Research Report was just released citing the changing religious focus of the Latin@ population in the US. Check this out – http://www.pewforum.org/2014/05/07/the-shifting-religious-identity-of-latinos-in-the-united-states/ Now is the time for our Household to support this exciting new ministry.
I want to thank Marcia Ledford for her willingness to let me interview her this week and to both she and Juan for their willingness to walk the road less traveled. Let’s join them on the journey!
Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos
Santificado sea tu Nombre
Venga tu reino
Hágase tu voluntad
En la tierra como en el cielo
Danos hoy el pan de este día
y perdona nuestras deudas
como nosotros perdonamos nuestros deudores
y no nos dejes caer en al tentación
sino que líbranos del malo.
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council