By Sybil Davidson
Twenty-five years ago The United Methodist Church created the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry. The vision was for all cultures to hear the liberating acts of God, celebrate in their own languages and minister to the needs of others.
Supported by apportionments through the World Service Funds, our diverse North Georgia population has benefited from giving across the denomination.
The Mi Familia Center in Canton was started nearly 10 years ago by the Atlanta-Roswell District. Because of generous giving, this outreach is able to respond to the needs of the growing Hispanic/Latino community, particularly women, young people and children. Its mission is to provide "essential services to migrant families to facilitate their social integration, participation and contribution to the well-being of our communities."
This ministry is a great example of our United Methodist connection at work. It is a partnership between the community, the District, the North Georgia Conference and the denomination.
“The church is a bridge for transition,” explained Rev. Dr. Juan Quintanilla, Associate Director of Congregational Development. “Newcomers are looking for community.”
Today, the National Plan's mission is to help create community by collaborating with annual conferences to form leaders through educational, spiritual and practical tools.
"The support means that we have better equipped pastors and laity," explained Quintanilla.
World Service Funds have recently been put toward lay missionary training for Spanish-speaking laity in North Georgia. (Read more about the laity participating in the 3-year Hispanic Christian Academy Training at http://www.ngumc.org/newsdetail/811787)
"You give and have such a big impact on others you will never know," said Quintanilla.
We in North Georgia are also recipients of funds from The Korean Ministry Plan. This plan's vision is to integrate Wesleyan tradition and Korean spiritually to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
Funds from The Korean Ministry Plan are paired with North Georgia Conference funding to support clergy in Korean mission congregations.
For more on the United Methodist National Plans for Strengthening Ethnic/Racial Ministries, visit http://www.umcmission.org/Connect-with-Us/National-Plans.