Bilingual celebration attendees urged to break new ground to attract members


      The 2011 annual Bilingual Celebration worship service was held last month at McEachern UMC in Marietta, with more than 300 people from North Georgia Conference churches, including the 22 Hispanic congregations, in attendance.
    Guests also included Director of New Church Development Tommy Willingham, Director of Ministerial Services John Simmons, and Atlanta-Marietta District Superintendent Jim Lowry. The Rev. Jim Higgins, pastor of McEachern UMC, welcomed everyone to the service.
     Guest speaker was Dr. Ruben Saenz, the Executive Director of the Office of New Church Development and Transformation in the Southwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Dr. Saenz challenged churches to try different approaches to ministry and break new ground in order to attract new members.
      Dr. Saenz stressed that one of the great blessings that the North Georgia Conference offers is the chance that as immigrants, Latinos become cultural ambassadors of their countries. 
      The Latino-Christian community not only has multiple opportunities to meet with other brothers and sisters to seek God’s face, but also proudly represent their countries of origin with music, cuisine and idiosyncrasy, just as the scripture says:  “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133:1. 
         During the celebration, liturgical dancers from Sugar Hill Hispanic Ministries presented the joy of Christ in dance. Dr. Saenz commented that just as the dancers were breaking new ground in worship, we as a church need to be creative and innovative in breaking new ground to host all newcomers. 
      Dr. Lowry closed the celebration with a benediction