A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Message from Vic Casad: March 13, 2018
Notes from the Heartland
Last Thursday, the pastors serving the four United Methodist Churches in Greenville (Dylan Lee, Mike Langdon, Chris Yost and John Kay) met with Owen Ross and Nohemi Ramirez to have a conversation about creating a new Hispanic ministry presence in Greenville.
Nohemi is an elder in the West Michigan Conference whose ministry journey has taken her from her birth home in Mexico through her ordination and service in the Rio Grande Conference (now Rio Texas) and on to further education and service in Georgia, then Minnesota, and now Michigan. Along the way Nohemi has served and planted churches.
Owen brought Nohemi in from Michigan last week to look at possible Hispanic mission sites around our conference. They spent a full day with us in Greenville.
During our lunch conversation, I asked Owen and Nohemi what would distinguish a United Methodist Hispanic presence in Greenville from a Roman Catholic, Pentecostal and Baptist presence?
Their answer: Our Open Table.
Nohemi said that when Hispanics learn about the United Methodist emphasis on grace and our open structure of lay participation and leadership they want to know more and find that there is a place for them in the church.
She said that many Pentecostal churches are led by strong domineering pastors who control their members’ lives and make all the decisions related to running the church.
Owen said what makes the open table so important is that many Hispanics have been estranged from the Catholic Church through divorce or other life crises that they are no longer allowed to partake in the Mass. But they are welcome to the United Methodist open table. They feel received back into the loving arms of God.
It was clear from our day of learning with Nohemi and Owen that any new work of ministry that seeks to welcome new United Methodists requires a significant amount of time; building relationships, establishing trust and patiently nurturing the interested into a community of discipleship.
We are all praying for what God can do in Greenville. I am praying for what God is doing in your community.
In His Service and Yours,