Growing in Love of God and Neighbor

Hispanic Heritage Month

During this final Sunday of Hispanic Heritage month, the members of the God’s Diversity Committee ask that we pray together in thanksgiving for the richness of diverse voices in our country:

“Creator God, we thank you for our wondrous diversity, for our cultures, traditions and languages, for all the ways we celebrate our humanity and praise Your Divinity. We value all peoples, and in this time, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. May we remember in our churches the leaders, teachers, and theologians that have been part of our Christian faith tradition. May we continue to hear from diverse voices that speak the truth of God’s love, peace and justice for all peoples. Guide us in ways of new understandings to build a more inclusive church. In the name of Christ Jesus, our Savior, Redeemer and Friend, we pray. Amen.” – Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell, Senior Pastor, Queen Anne Baptist Church, Seattle, Washington.

And a prayer for grace, wisdom and strength:

“O God of all nations and peoples, help us to remember that we live in a nation of immigrants, and one in which the diverse gifts of many peoples have contributed to our energy and strength. Yet it is one in which some immigrants are discriminated against because of the color of their skin, their language, or the country of their origin. Help us, by your grace to offer hospitality to all strangers, as our father Abraham did in the desert. Grant us the wisdom and skill to enact just and merciful immigration reforms so that the hospitality and access to this great land may be offered equally to people of all colors and races and nations. Amen. –  Episcopal Diocesan Commission to End Racism

The members of the God’s Diversity Committee invite you to join us during this third week of our recognition of our fellow Christians of Hispanic and Latino heritage in saying the following prayer:

“O God, you have made of one blood all the people of earth, but you have also richly blessed us with a world of many languages, cultures and traditions. We thank you today for the many contributions which Hispanic Americans have made and continue to make to our great country. Enable us always to learn from and appreciate each other. Make us even stronger as one nation because of our diverse gifts and experiences. Enrich our minds, bodies and spirits, we pray, as we celebrate together on this beautiful day. Amen.”  – Mitchel Lewis, Ordained United Methodist elder, North Georgia conference.

As we continue our recognition of our Latino/Hispanic fellow Christians, we ask that you join the members of the God’s Diversity Committee in praying for the Diversity of Races and Cultures: “O God, who created all peoples in your image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, and show us your presence in those who differ most from us, until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (The Book of Common Prayer, page 840).

As we begin our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, (September 15 – October 15), the members of the God’s Diversity Committee invite you to pray with us for the spiritual and physical well-being of our fellow Americans of Hispanic/Latino ancestry. We also wish to recognize the continuing efforts of the Episcopal Church to welcome this large and growing segment of our population into our worship communities.

In 2009, the Episcopal Church adopted a strategic vision for reaching Latino and Hispanic Christians with the goal of increasing the number of active and viable Latino/Hispanic Episcopal congregations. The Church’s Office of Latino/Hispanic Ministries created congregational resources and opportunities for Churches to become more welcoming to a more diverse group of Christians. Since 2009, the Episcopal Church has established new Latino congregations in states with large first, second and third generation Latino/Hispanic populations, where services are offered in Spanish. In a number of Dioceses, long established congregations with a small but growing number of new members from Central and South America and the Caribbean, now offer at least one service in Spanish.

Presently the Diocese of New Jersey has eight Latino congregations with bilingual clergy and services. Our Diocese also assists English-speaking churches wishing to establish ministries in Spanish with resources and experts to guide the process of becoming a multi-cultural community. For more information, you may contact the Rev. Canon Ramon Ubiera, the Canon Missioner for Hispanic Ministries in New Jersey.

Please join us in prayer: “Creator, we thank you for the gift of our Hispanic and Latino brothers and sisters. Grant that we continue to be a place with open doors, open hearts, making room for all. Give us generous hearts that we may continue to use our gifts to support one another. Amen.” (From “We Give.” The United Methodist Church.)