Rev. Dr. Hugo Magallanes, associate professor of Christianity and Cultures, has been named director of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. He succeeds Dr. David Maldonado, who retired as founding director of the Center in 2011. An ordained elder in the South Georgia Annual Conference UMC, Magallanes is a native of Cd. Juarez, Mexico. He earned Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees from Drew University, an M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary, and a B.A. in Theology from Seminario Juan Wesley in Monterrey.
Magallanes finds inspiration for his service from his first ministerial experiences in the United States, following his appointment as pastor of a Georgia church whose membership consisted primarily of migrant workers. “Working there with the poorest of the poor changed my theological orientation forever,” Magallanes said in an interview with Perspective. “They helped me more in my faith, as God allowed me to see the face of Jesus in the members of my congregation.”
The central mission of the Center is to promote a deeper understanding of the varieties of religious life and expression within the Latino/a communities in the United States and in Latin America through educational programs, the generation and conduct of research, and the dissemination of knowledge. Magallanes’ vision for the center is that it can promote better understandings of ministry, life, Christianity and other religions by cultivating reciprocal friendships. “I am most excited about addressing ideas of importance to the Hispanic-Latino/a community from a theological perspective. However, we cannot divorce the importance of the community of faith from theological explorations or ideas about the community of faith,” Magallanes insists. “In all my teaching and other ministries, I want to help students, congregations, and communities in general keep in mind the faces of the people they have encountered, especially those suffering and in need.”
Magallanes is author of Acción Social: El Pueblo Cristiano Testifica del Amor de Dios [Social Action: The Community of Believers Offers a Witness of God’s Love] (Nashville: Abingdon, 2012); coeditor with Harold Recinos of Jesus in the Hispanic Community: Images of Christ from Theology to Popular Religion (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2009); and author of Introducción a la Teología y Vida de Juan Wesley [Introduction to the Theology and Life of John Wesley] (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005).
Slightly adapted from the Summer 2012 edition of “Perspective,” a magazine for alumni/ae and friends of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. Used by permission.