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Hispanic assembly time to celebrate faith
From the opening worship Wednesday to the banquet Saturday evening the assembly of Obra Hispana was a celebration of faith in Jesus - "Let's Celebrate What We Believe - Christ, Alpha and Omega". Animated preaching by National Pastor Huberto Pimentel, Dr. Samuel and Rev. Dr. Noemi Pagan was accompanied by lessons from the book of Revelation.
More than 120 volunteers from Casa de Oración in San Diego welcomed assembly-goers to the church, supplied valet parking, cooked and served gourmet meals, and provided energizing music for worship.
Samuel Pagan explained in a series of lectures that the texts, when viewed in their context, are not intended to cause anxiety, but rather bring hope, not judgment but salvation. He made his points with a gentle humor and candor.
They make room at the Hispanic Assembly to witness at the border. About 25 Disciples - both lay and clergy, local and general ministry staff - took time on Saturday to travel to the border with Mexico where they prayed on behalf of Central American children arriving at the border.Pastor Huberto Pimentel, prayed and commissioned them.
Pimentel shared not only a sermon but also his personal reflections on the context of the ministry of the Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries. His message reminded the congregation of our mission to bring grace and truth to the broken by reflecting God's love in the world as Jesus did. In his report, Pimentel issued a call to the Hispanic churches to renew their relationships with both the Disciples and the Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries. He was forthright in laying out the financial situation and called for a youth development fund. Sadness at the departure or closing of 28 Hispanic congregations was shared. But he also lifted up in joy the growing vibrant churches, which included Casa de Oración, Coral Gables, Arise and others. Pimentel has announced his retirement in April 2016 prior to the next Hispanic Assembly.
And as with most meetings of this kind, there was business to be done and reports to be heard. Many general ministries as well as General Minister and President Sharon Watkins gave an accounting of their work and current initiatives. Reports from the Hispanic Conventions highlights were shared. Richie Sánchez, chairperson of the search committee for the next national pastor presented the names of the members and a projected timeline.
At Saturday's banquet, the assembly came together to celebrate and honor the following individuals with "Somos Uno" awards for their contributions to Hispanic ministries:
- Rev. Elizabeth Carrasquillo, advocate for Obra Hispana since inception
- Antonio "Tony" Rodriguez, second vice moderator for the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
- Pastor Isay Alvarez and the Primera Iglesia Cristiana de Vista, San Diego
- Rev. Mary Harris of Christian Theological Seminary
The Executive Hispanic Board of Directors was also installed on Saturday as part of the business section including: Rev. Joel Saucedo, Moderator; Pastor, Sammy Ramirez, Moderator Elect, Pastor Lori Tapia, Second Vice Moderator, Rev. Lorna Hernandez, secretary; Millie Semprit, sub secretary; Guillermina Percales, women's ministries vocal; Rev. David Cortez, vocal.