More than 250 Hispanic pastors, mission presidents, and leaders met at the Ebenezer Church of the Nazarene January 16 for the annual Southern Florida District Hispanic Mission Congress. Ministry mission education was provided for adults, youth, and children.
District Superintendent Brian Wilson was the principle speaker. Under a large tent while speaking Spanish, he challenged all Hispanic churches to become fully involved in local and world mission ministries.
“From the 21 countries where the official language is Spanish, the Hispanic church in the USA is currently a safe gathering place for the immigrant Hispanic Christian," Wilson said. "It is a place where we celebrate God’s blessings and reproduce Hispanic cultural values, traditions, language, and worship styles, but it is also a place of missional sending, where God challenges us to take responsibility for the welfare of others who are not like us.”
Wilson offered three decadal challenges for Hispanic churches in Southern Florida: Learn to share space with other cultures as we minister in multicultural communities; develop a sense of missional responsibility for non-Hispanics here and around the world; pass the baton of church leadership to the second generation of Hispanics.
Retiring District Mission President Dennis Moore gave his farewell address to Hispanic pastors and leaders. He said that they and their youth could become the spiritual and guiding forces for the Church of the Nazarene over the next 20 years.
Ardee Coolidge, the district’s Missions Spanish language coordinator, and host pastorJorge Diaz organized the praise teams, open-air tent, and elaborate outdoor food festival for the event.
“The food from numerous Latin American countries was unbelievable," Moore said of the afternoon International Food Festival. "The preparation and authentic kiosks reflect the determination and creativity of our Hispanic churches.”
The top churches winning the festival competition were Pahokee Spanish in first place, Carol City Ebenezer in second place, and West Palm Beach Maranatha in third place.
“The Hispanic Mission Congress is a great event to encourage and educate our Hispanic churches about missions and how the Great Commission is of utmost importance in this 21st century,” Moore said.