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Hispanic Assembly elects new officers (April 14, 2004)

Hispanic Assembly elects new officers (April 14, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Hispanic Assembly elects new officers

April 14, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0057}

Hispanics look forward to higher level of visibility and participation in conference.

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

LAKELAND - The Hispanic Assembly has been energized and equipped with new officers to begin the next quadrennium.

The Hispanic Assembly met March 6 at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Lake Placid to begin the next phase of the organization. Officers challenged to create a vision for the Hispanic Assembly are Rinaldo Hernandez, president; Luz Elsie Maldonado, vice president; Hildelisa Ordaz, secretary; Ramon Cernuda, treasurer; Francisco Montes, communications; Samuel Gonzalez, evangelism; Gary Garay, worship; and Juan Marcos Garay, youth.

The Hispanic Assembly meets once a year for two days. During the meeting each Hispanic district coordinator gave a report of the progress of Hispanic ministry in his or her district.

The Hispanic Assembly is composed of Hispanic churches and missions in the conference. Its goal is to promote unity within the Hispanic community, celebrate and plan ministries, and interpret and promote conference ministries to the Hispanic community.

The Rev. Edwin Santos, the Florida Conference Council on Ministries' director of Hispanic Ministries, said the Hispanic Assembly and his office have not had a history of working well together in the past. He said the two entities have worked independently, while they both want to accomplish the same goals of a higher level of visibility and participation of Hispanics throughout the conference.

The Rev. Antonio Fernandez couldn't agree more. He served as vice president of the Hispanic Assembly for four years. He is the pastor of Hispanic American United Methodist Church in the Miami District and will be the superintendent of the Tallahassee District after the 2004 Florida Annual Conference Event June 3-6.

"I have mixed feelings about the Hispanic Assembly," Fernandez said. "I think in the past they have been out of tune and couldn't find their place in the Florida Conference. I think the Hispanic Assembly is a group that has been divorced from the Florida Conference."

Santos said both groups want to have more participation throughout the conference and vow to work together in the coming years.

"We both want a balance of leadership in the conference," Santos said. "It's very important that there is real integration and not just a few Hispanics in positions."

Fernandez said he is confident the new leadership will move the Hispanic Assembly into the future and promote more inclusiveness and respect.

"The new leadership will be more aggressive for Hispanics in the Florida Conference," he said. "They will be doing the best work in the future."

Fernandez said there has been "a real, sincere interest" from the conference in Hispanic ministry.

"We want to get more Hispanics involved," he said. "We want to move into the mainstream of the church."

Santos said Hispanics will feel more comfortable about seeking conference leadership roles as more and more receive Hispanic training from the Hispanic Institute and other sources.

"The conference has the commitment, the structure is there, and all we have to do is integrate," he said.


This article relates to Hispanic Ministry.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.