GA-1702 Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries


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Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries
Lori Tapia, National Pastor for Hispanic Ministries
Mrs. Ivonne Martínez, Administrative Assistant
1099 N. Meridian St, Suite 700, P.O. Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1986
Office: 317-713-2584, 2583 Fax: 317-635-3700

2017 Report

  1. Mission:

The Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries’ (CPOHM) mission is threefold: to offer pastoral care to Hispanic ministers and congregations; to advice and counsel the different manifestations of our denomination about Hispanic Ministries; and to be an advocate for Hispanic people, congregations and their issues.

The Board of National Hispanic Ministries approved three focus areas and a new identity statement at the 2016 board meeting. The focus areas are: IDENTITY, RESOURCES and CONNECTION.

Identity Statement

We, the Obra Hispana, belong to Jesus as one family, sharing our resources to grow together through our relationships.
An initiative to address these focus areas throughout 2017 has been adopted and will utilize social media, gatherings within the Hispanic Conventions and other event opportunities to share the message and increase awareness. The initiative is #laObraNOW.

II. Personnel

The CPOHM currently has two persons on staff: the National Pastor and an Administrative Assistant to assist, communicate, organize, and manage finances and programs to more than 170 Hispanic churches.

III. Members of the Pastoral Commission for Hispanic Ministries (2015-16)

The members of the Pastoral Commission for Hispanic Ministries are:

Joel Saucedo, Moderator, National Hispanic and Bilingual Fellowship (NHBF)
Servando Perález, Past Moderator, NHBF
Sammy Ramírez, Moderator Elect, NHBF
Bere Gil-Soto, First Vice-Moderator, NHBF
Lorna Hernández, Secretary, NHBF
Milly Semprit, Sub-Secretary, NHBF
Soriliz Rodriguez, Representative at Large, Pres. Nat. Hispanic Women Ministry
David Cortés, Representative at Large, Search Committee Chair
Vilson Hurtado, Moderator, SE Convention
Alicia Rodriguez, Representative, SE Convention
Rosy Ricart, Moderator, MW Convention
William Almodóvar, Representative, MW Convention
Myriam Soto, Moderator AZ Convention
Aurelio Lopez, Representative AZ Convention
Delmy Amaya, Moderator Pacific Convention
Pedro Valladarez, Representative Pacific Convention
Servando Peralez, Moderator SW Convention
Irene Escamilla, Representative SW Convention

General Board Representatives

Bill Rose-Hiem, Regional Minister, Greater Kansas City Region
Teresa Dulyea-Parker,Regional Minister,IL/WI Region
Dawn Robinette (excused), General Board Representative, Detroit, MI
Young Lan Kim, General Board Representative,Pacific Southwest
Héctor Velázquez, Representative of the Hispanic Board of Directors/Obra Hispana to the General Board

Ex-Officio Members

Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, CC(DOC) in USA and Canada
Lori Tapia, National Pastor for Hispanic Ministries

IV. Theological Education

1.     CPOHM, in partnership with Lexington Theological Seminary, offered the Certificate in Hispanic Ministries Program from May 23-27, 2016. This program provides theological, biblical and ministerial training to men and women for leadership in Spanish speaking congregations. Courses in this program examine the 16 competencies as required by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as submitted by the GCOM. Over the duration of four consecutive summers to accommodate busy schedules, students will attend a five-day intensive training each year at Lexington Theological Seminary in Lexington, KY. Each course will be offered in Spanish, and students who successfully complete all 12 courses will earn a Certificate in Hispanic Ministries or CEU credit. While 2016 was the pilot of this program, 42 pastors and lay leaders from across the life of the Obra Hispana took the program to capacity, creating the need for a waiting list. This speaks to the desire of the Spanish speaking community to enhance ministry through theological education and reminds us of the scarcity of this valuable resource for the whole church. The following program was provided in 2016:

A. An Introduction to the Old Testament – Dr. Samuel Pagán

B. Preaching – Rev. Dr. Pablo A. Jiménez

C. Creative Worship – Pastor Liza Miranda

Director of Certificate in Hispanic Ministries: Dr. Pablo A. Jiménez

Promotion and Marketing: Rev. Vilson Hurtado, Moderator Southeast Hispanic Convention

Due to the high demand for the program, the capacity has increased to 70 students for the program to be offered June 5-9, 2017. The following program will be provided in 2017:

A. Theology- Dr. Lester McGrath

B. Evangelism & Mission- Rev. Eliezer Ronda

C. New Testament- Dr. Pablo Jiménez

2. The Southwest Hispanic Convention, with seed money from Brite offered a Summer Program. The following classes were offered on June 6-10, 2016:

A. Mission and Vision – Dr. Carlos Cardoza

B. Christian Ethics: Dr. Hugo Magallanes

C. Counseling and Pastoral Care – Rev. Dr. Luis Bernard

D. Disciples History – Dr. Carmelo Álvarez

3. The Certificate of Ministry Program (CMS) is another program joint effort with Disciples Seminary Foundation in Los Angeles and San Diego, California, offered in Spanish for the Commissioned Hispanic Pastors and Lay Leaders. Rev. Xosé Escamilla is the Director of the program.

The Certificate of Ministerial Studies (“CMS”) is designed for adults who are interested in an introduction to the kind of studies found in seminary and is for the purpose of completing the educational requirements for licensed or commissioned ministry, learning more about advanced theological education, enrichment for lay leaders, or any combination of reasons. CMS is a unique program focused on contextual learning for ministry today. Part of the richness of the CMS is that individuals bring their personal experiences and/or professional considerations to the program. The purpose of CMS is, above all, to give its participants a basic theological framework for evaluating and developing knowledge for ministry and at the same time consider the contributions and knowledge that each person brings to the program. In 2016, approximately 30 students participated in the program.

We continue to seek out help from our Disciples partners in mission, envisioning the future of theological education in new and innovative ways for the Obra Hispana.

  1. CPOHM is committed to support M.Div. seminarians through scholarships. CPOHM provided $2,018 in scholarship support to 6 seminarians in 2016. Each seminarian under the care of a Commission on Ministry is granted +/- $40.00 per credit hour in an ATS Seminary as budget conditions permit. There are presently 7 Hispanic Seminarians studying in Disciples Seminaries and other ATS Seminaries where there is no Disciples Seminary presence.

The fruit of the emphasis on theological education is demonstrated in better equipped leaders for the local congregation. In the second half of 2016 alone, 4 Latino/a clergy were ordained, three of which are women. Additionally, in the first half of 2017, 3 additional Latina clergy women will be ordained, with at least two additional in fall of 2017.

 V. The CPOHM & the Church-at-Large

CPOHM supported and continues to support the goals and vision of our Church in the following:

  1. Mission First: CPOHM coordinated with the Hispanic Conventions to hold Mission Gatherings in each of the geographical areas. Gatherings were facilitated and offered in Spanish and/or a bilingual setting ensureing the voice of the Hispanic community was represented in this vital process for the future of our church.
  2. Pro-Reconciliation: The National Pastor is part of the Reconciliation Commission. Collaboration with the Reconciliation Ministry, five bilingual (Spanish/English) individual have been identified to receive anti-racism trainer training, increasing the opportunity for the Spanish speaking community to engage in rich and in-depth discussion around racism and create systemic change through increased awareness. This will additionally facilitate anti-racism training requirement for Spanish speaking clergy who are within regions that are unable to provide this resource. CPOHM has submit a proposal to the Reconciliation Ministry Commission to further this vital work across the life of the Obra Hispana.
  3. Immigration: The CPOHM recognizes the present times of unprecedented negative rhetoric against immigrant groups, documented and undocumented, produce fear, anxiety and uncertainty for a large number of Spanish speaking congregations and pastors. CPOHM is committed to building solidarity throughout the church and to provide support, resources, and protection and response models for immigrants and immigrant families facing separation due to deportation or detention. Partnership with the Refugee and Immigration Ministries and with Disciples Legal Counsel continue to empower and educate the Spanish speaking community and beyond to create safety nets for those in need. We denounce any administrative or congressional action that perpetuates the oppression and marginalization of undocumented immigrants and are committed to seek justice through advocacy and education.
  4. New Church: CPOHM supports the growing number of Hispanic new congregations and networking with New Church Ministries, supporting leadership academy and other efforts. Increased relationship with the College of Regional Ministers continues to foster a spirit of collaboration when working with new church development. The CPOHM emphasizes the importance of partnership in supporting new church starts into relationship with the convención, region and Obra Hispana.
  5. Transforming congregations: The different educational ventures of the CPOHM seek to empower and transform our existing congregations, particularly by helping our ministers to be better pastoral leaders. Increased access to training and resources in Spanish will continue to enhance the life of the church.
  6. Forming and reforming leadership: CPOHM continues its emphasis on leadership development. CPOHM also organizes and resources ministerial retreats, workshops and assemblies for Latino and Latina ministers. Many of these workshops and seminars take place during Hispanic Convention Assemblies and others during pastoral visits from the National Pastor where some Hispanic churches gather for a Saturday Workshop. Additionally, support to local congregations who are experiencing difficulty has increased, and is a sign of the effects of a changing climate in which we live. Training and resourcing has increased in the areas of immigration and church administration.
  7. The Hispanic Assembly at Central Christian Church in Coral Gables, FL during July 14-16, 2016 was a success and for the first time in many years produced income for the CPOHM. The Assembly celebrated the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Huberto Pimentel for his 10 years of service to the Obra Hispana as National Pastor and witnessed the transition to leadership under an interim National Pastor, Lori Tapia, for a period of two years. The Rev. William Almodóvar served as the Interim National Hispanic Pastor from May 1st through July 16th, 2016 during the transition and the CPOHM is grateful for his leadership during this time.
  8. CPOHM is proud to be part of the Christian Churches Together (COCU) named Latino COCU. These are Executive Hispanic leaders from the Historical churches, Pentecostal churches, Catholic, Charismatic, and Independent Pentecostal leaders who gather to discuss issues of unity, immigration, younger generations, and poverty (Bread of the World is included). While the gathering in January 2017 was cancelled at the last minute, the work of this group to address the needs and fears of the undocumented immigrant community is moving forward with a plan for education, protection and advocacy.
  9. CPOHM strives to support clergy and pastors from the Spanish speaking community called by a congregation and has been working to build partnership at the regional level to accompany these minister through the process. This includes working with Search and Call to support ordained and commissioned ministers to better utilize this system, increasing the quality of applicants as access to background checks is available. Present efforts to provide access to the Search and Call system in Spanish in underway.

VI. Financial Statements

CPOHM finances are adminstered by the OGMP’s Finance Department. Presently the CPOHM is experiencing an increase in giving, and the Board of Hispanic Ministries has approved the investment of funds for a period of 3 years with Church Extension Fund.

VII. Conclusion

While CPOHM has undergone a transition in leadership, a solid and healthy leadership team is committed to moving the Obra Hispana into a new era that empowers, equips and connects the Hispanic community to eachother and to the greater church. We understand our vital contribution to the life of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and are committed to working to increase communication and connectivity within all expressions of the church.

In times of uncertainty as our country experiences a shift in leadership, it is necessary, now more than ever, for the Church to stand together in solidarity and as a voice for justice, equality and dignity for all people. The CPOHM is committed to remain an active and engaged partner and collaborator, listening and responding to the call of those in fear and pain, afflicted and oppressed, marginalized and overlooked, documented and undocumented; and to work together to share the love of Christ for all those in need. Somos Uno in the movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.


The General Board has reviewed GA-1702 from the Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries. The report is submitted to the General Assembly for presentation and discussion. No action is required. (Discussion time: 12 minutes)