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‘Embracing others in our midst’

Hispanic pastoral development seminar explores legacy of Calvin

August 24, 2009

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

More than 150 Hispanic pastors and leaders met here July 29-Aug. 3 for the 32nd Hispanic Pastoral Development Seminar.

The Seminar drew Hispanic clergy and laity from the continental United States and Puerto Rico, along with Spanish-speaking colleagues from other ethnicities who participate in ministry with Hispanics in the United States.

It was the first time in history that Hispanic Presbyterian ministers from the continental U.S.A. joined together with Hispanic Presbyterian ministers from Puerto Rico for an event of this kind.

Through lectures and workshops centered on the life and legacy of John Calvin, participants explored what it means for a new generation of Presbyterian believers and leaders to echo the words of the great Reformer: “I offer my heart to you, Lord, promptly and sincerely.”

Program offerings included a lecture series on “Action Proposals for the Church in the 21st Century,” co-led by Sergio Ojeda, president of the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico and Aurelio García, adjunct professor of church history.

“The Reformed tradition helps us to recover a sense of the other, to discipline our minds and spirits, and to persevere in the search for order and integration,” said García in the opening plenary. Participants applauded these findings, and called on each other and the denomination to honor the heart of the Reformed Tradition by embracing the “others” in our midst — especially the most vulnerable in church and society.

The Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico was also the site of a full day of workshops on the Reformation, focusing on Biblical interpretation (Ediberto López), preaching (Javier Goitía), the role of women (Agustina Luvis), and religious education (José Irizarry).

An additional day offered workshops and presentations on topics such as pastoral care (Nydia Fernandez), Reformed worship (Marissa Galvan), Form of Government (Loyda Aja), Mission Recruitment (Celia Greene), Board of Pensions (Ernesto Badillo), Bread For The World, CLAI, stewardship of financial resources (Ernesto Badillo, Elisabel Ruiz, Edwin Quiles).

Presenters and speakers included the Rev. Rhashell Hunter, director for the Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women ministry area, as well as the new moderator of Presbyterian Women, Elder Marta Rodriguez.

On August 2, the Seminar ended with a massive event celebrating John Calvin’s Jubilee with a Latino flavor at Mont Clair Presbyterian Church in the city of Isabela. More than 500 hundred Presbyterian ministers, leaders, staff and seminary students joined together for worship, food and celebration.

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