The Hispanic Ministry Network is an alliance of worshipping communities and ministries within the ECCT which serve among those who speak Spanish or worship in ways which honor their Hispanic cultural traditions. Monthly meetings are held on the fourth Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until Noon via Zoom. Anyone involved in or interested in learning about Hispanic ministry is welcome to attend. To connect with us, please contact one of our Co-Conveners: The Rev. Felix Rivera, Deacon at firstname.lastname@example.org or The Rev. Dana L. Campbell at email@example.com.
This year the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and continuing racial injustice have had a disproportionate impact upon the members of the Hispanic community as a whole. Already suffering from federal assaults on immigrants—both documented and undocumented—many of the members of our Network have fallen into dire straits this year as they lost their jobs or endangered themselves and their families doing “essential” work, with little or no access to governmental financial supports. Never-the-less, we are able to witness to God’s mission continuing in inspiring ways throughout our Network. Here are some of the highlights of 2020:
- God is still being worshipped in every one of our Hispanic communities despite the pandemic. Regular gathering for spiritual Eucharist, Morning Prayer, Bible Study, and fellowship have been available in Spanish continually—even in the parishes without settled clergy. Alliances among congregations have been formed and virtual resources shared—including livestreamed services from the Episcopal Church in Puerto Rico, and a virtual form of the TEC event Nuevo Amanecer, which gathered hundreds of Hispanic Episcopalians from all around North and Central America.
- We have been blessed in the expansion of our Network to include the people of St. James’ New Haven: the only Spanish language Episcopal presence in that growing Hispanic population. St. James’ has secured sources of discounted electronic equipment such as computers, tablets, wi-fi hotspots, smartphones, and other equipment necessary for households to keep their children connected to virtual learning, and their families able to access the online church. We are so happy to be working with this active parish!
- We have authored a Resolution before this Convention to make more intentional the translation of ECCT documents, communications, and events into Spanish in order to serve all groups equally and enable their full participation in the Body of Christ. This is a justice issue which we hope you will support with your votes.
- We are working with The Rev. Sandra Montes, a leading figure in Hispanic ministry within TEC, to re-create our annual Gathering usually held at Camp Washington into a virtual event to be held later this year. This event will be interactive, including music and witness by participants about where they have found hope during 2020.
- Deacon Felix Rivera had begun visitations to all of our locations in CT for worship and fellowship when the pandemic struck, and has continued those visits via Zoom to better knit us together with local leadership. Such support has become even more important during this extraordinary year in order to counter feelings of isolation.
- One ministry within our Network has exploded during 2020: Vecinos Seguros and La Misa at Trinity Lime Rock. Founded to serve largely undocumented workers in the Northwest corner of CT and in neighboring New York towns, Vecinos Seguros has been a vital lifeline in the past for those experiencing harassment from I.C.E. raids and oppression from our racially biased society. Before the pandemic this ministry had consolidated an ecumenical network of individuals and groups which aided their Hispanic neighbors by providing down payments for housing, securing everything from household goods to prom tickets, and assisting with legal representation and fees. Recently they rejoiced as one person was released from I.C.E. detention after 536 days. Members of Vecinos Seguros had helped the family with mortgage costs and legal fees for those long 18 months. Finally, he is free with good prospects for staying with his family in the United States.
Since the pandemic, Vecinos Seguros has primarily addressed the food insecurity of those who are now jobless and ineligible for government aid. For months now, they have mustered their resources to feed about 175 people, using grocery store gift cards.
If you are moved to participate in this life-giving ministry, you can make contributions online at http://www.trinitylimerock.org/contact-us/donations-and-stewardship/, writing under Memo: “VS COVID19 EMERGENCY FUND,” or by sending a check to Trinity Lime Rock Church, 484 Lime Rock Road, Lakeville, CT 06038 with “VS COVID19” in the memo.
So, we bear witness that God’s Mission is alive and well in these desperate days for our Hispanic sisters and brothers. The Way of Love is being shared. Thanks be to God.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Felix Rivera, Deacon and The Rev. Dana L. Campbell, Co-Conveners