Why a Hispanic ministry in South Georgia?
This is the second in a series of monthly columns written by Revs. Felipe Ricardo and Daniel Medina, associate directors of Connectional Ministries for Hispanic Ministries.
The Hispanic ministry of the South Georgia conference is an intentional response to the commandment of Jesus Christ when He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). The Holy Spirit, who in the day of Pentecost, in downtown Jerusalem, allowed people from everywhere to hear the Gospel in their own language (Acts 2.6). These Scriptural thoughts and stories continue inspiring our ministry to people of other races, languages or cultures.
The Church is primarily called to be the place where we identify and recognize the signs of God’s holy and eternal kingdom. The local churches are that part of the kingdom where persons are transformed into new creatures in Christ by the action of the Holy Spirit. It is the responsibility of Christians to develop and expand the Kingdom of God on this earth. Our conviction and passion as United Methodists are the extension of the kingdom of God in our world, considering every person as needed of love and divine redemption, but also seeing a society in need of justice and social reform.
The kingdom of God is related also with the Church when the Church lives and manifests the virtues of this kingdom to the nations through a permanent and uninterrupted process of reconciliation and sanctification. The kingdom of God is the project of God for all humanity. This kingdom starts in the Church when it welcomes all people regardless of race, language, culture, national origin, appearance, or immigration status.
The United Methodist Church believes all people are created by God in God’s own image, are infinitely and equally worthy, and are equal beneficiaries of God’s love and grace. Therefore, Christ’s vision for our world includes the church as a community, which embodies love, grace, reconciliation, acceptance, peace, and justice for all people. As denomination we have always declared our intention to be faithful to God’s vision and commit ourselves to a struggle to create a community open to all of God’s children.
The Church is the community that the Holy Spirit uses to proclaim salvation to the nations. With the message of the risen Lord and with power of the Holy Spirit, the Church empowers its evangelistic task. That is why the Church is called to make of every member a disciple and messenger of Christ so the world may find reconciliation and peace in Him.
Please pray for our Spanish-speaking congregations in the conference.