Videos bring Hispanic Latino-a community together

60 ministers record reflections

By Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

Mabel MalavéIglesia, Presbiteriana en Cibao — San Sebastián, Puerto Rico, presented one of the devotionals for the Hispanic Latin-a Intercultural Congregational Support Office’s video project.

LOUISVILLE — COVID-19 has us all rethinking the way we do ministry. And now, as churches ponder reopening, what will worship service look like? Will the new model of online worship service become the new normal?

At the invitation of the Hispanic Latino-a Intercultural Congregational Support Office, part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries, a group of tech-savvy Hispanic/Latino-a ministers have used their time and talent to develop a series of 60 devotional videos to comfort, bring hope and reassure viewers that even in a pandemic God still cares.

The four-minute reflection videos will be “shared among our constituency, communities and neighborhoods,” said Rosa Miranda, associate for the Hispanic Latino-a Intercultural Congregational Support Office. “This was a way to respond to the Matthew 25 initiative on congregational vitality by reaching out to those in the margins with a word of hope, comfort and encouragement in their own language and founded in Scripture from our Reformed theology.”

Collectively, the congregations have a greater impact and reach more people than each congregation does individually as these faith communities reach out to others whom they know need to hear the Good News.

“It is important to bring the loving presence of God in the midst of injustice, discrimination and hopelessness,” Miranda said. “At the beginning of the stay at home time, many faith communities did not have a livestream worship service option. So, these videos are a way to build a bridge by sharing a daily reflection with individuals in their community and members of their congregations.”

Utilizing Facebook and WhatsApp, the videos were distributed daily to leaders and members of the PC(USA) Hispanic/Latino-a faith communities so that they could be shared with friends, families and neighbors. “Many of our immigrant siblings have expressed their gratitude as it has brought comfort and joy to their hearts to be able to share with their families in their countries of origin in such a time of uncertainty and challenges,” said Miranda. “These daily reflections have crossed our borders to Spanish-speaking faith communities and friends in Latin America and Spain.”

Miranda says that in times when there are so many social media messages built on fear, misinformation and uncertainty, the Hispanic/Latino-a church leaders felt that this was an opportunity to go out in mission as the PC(USA) with a message of hope in God’s faithfulness in fulfilling his promises and sharing the good news of life in Jesus Christ.

The daily devotional series was made possible thanks to the leadership and gifts of the Rev. Rafael Viana, who led digital webinars to record the videos and to help congregations start streaming their worship services. More than 75 leaders participated in his four webinars — three in Spanish and one in Portuguese. Two of the videos were recorded for children and four of the 60 videos were recorded in Portuguese. Among the participants were teaching elders, CREs, lay leaders, chaplains, and moderators of Mujeres Hispanas Latinas Presbiterianas and Hombres Presbiterianos Hispanos Latinos. Each video included the phrase: “The Presbyterian Church cares for you.”

“I am so grateful to God for leaders like Rev. Viana, who out of his commitment to serve God has voluntarily given time, energy and dedication to edit each video,” Miranda said. “God’s Spirit brought leaders from diverse backgrounds together with one purpose in mind and heart, to serve and embrace their community in this time of crisis, and made out of it an opportunity to provide God’s loving care and presence by sharing words of comfort and hope, not knowing what God was about to do and how far it would go. This is who we are as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a connectional church in mission.”

 


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