TLDR: Our Vestry has agreed to welcome diocesan ministry, Nacer de Nuevo (New birth, New Beginnings, New Life) to our campus. The following is what we have agreed to do for Nacer de Nuevo.
In 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic, a group of lay leaders from several churches for Spanish speakers in Pasadena and Houston started hosting prayer sessions every evening via Facebook Live. When congregations were allowed to return to their sanctuaries, this ministry of prayer added a new component: Assistance to Hispanic missions and communities. This assistance takes on several forms: 1. Neighborhood canvassing to introduce the mission or church to the community and to pray for any neighbor in need. 2. Seasonal spiritual retreats at various missions or churches for the members of the church and their guests. 3. Liturgical dancing at special church events like Hispanic Heritage Month, Pentecost Sunday, anniversary of the church, etc. 4. Missions to other dioceses in need of strengthening their Spanish-speaking ministries. The team went to the Diocese of El Salvador last year and has plans to visit two other Latin American countries this year.
The prayer sessions in Spanish continue to take place five days a week via Facebook Live. The group’s assistance of new missions in the Diocese has also continued. Over the last six months, the team has been very involved in a new Episcopal Mission in Bryan and has led retreats at an existing mission in Cleveland. They have also been very significant in their support of our new ministries for Spanish speakers at Saint Dunstan’s. They have participated in spiritual retreats, dancing, and at least one canvassing walk of our neighborhood.
Throughout 2022 and 2023, the group requested the recognition of the Diocese as a diocesan ministry, in hopes of obtaining some funding for their ministries. They provide breakfast foods for some of their retreats, spend money traveling long distances to assist various ministries, and incur considerable expenses traveling to other dioceses to assist in missions. In 2023, the Diocese agreed to recognize the lay-led ministry of prayer and support as a diocesan ministry, assigning Fr. Alvaro Pinzon as their Spiritual Director. The Diocese also requested that the mostly virtual group find a homebase and create a website to connect new missions together, to recruit volunteers, to advertise their ministries, and to fundraise for some of their expenses. After praying hard about where their new home might be, the executive committee of Nacer de Nuevo met with us in October and requested that Saint Dunstan’s provide space in our campus for their ministry. The Vestry agreed to bring them onboard at the November Vestry meeting. The following is what we have agreed to do for Nacer de Nuevo:
- We will provide an office in our campus where they can meet as a committee several times a month to plan, pray, discern, etc. We will provide a computer and monitor, connected to our network and our printer. We will allow them to advertise our address as their new home address, and we will assign them a mailbox for their mail. (Update: We have identified an unused space in the B.E.C. for this new ministry and we have found an extra computer and monitor we can provide without incurring any additional expense. The team will move into their space by February 1, 2024.)
- We will create a line in our budget under “Nacer the Nuevo” and we will allow donations to the ministry to be written to Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church with a MEMO line “Nacer de Nuevo.” We will then create a check request procedure for them, similar to the existing procedure we have. This will NOT be a new account, but rather a line in our Operational Account. There is no financial incumbrance on our budget, as the ministry fundraises for all their expenses and, eventually, the Diocese will fund some of their activities. (UPDATE: I have met with our Director of Operations who will make these adjustments to our Operations Budget.)
- We will link their website to our website, to help people find the ministry by entering our own website. We will NOT build or maintain a website for them. They have received a small grant to build their own website and they have engaged a graphic designer to build it over the next three months. Once built, we will link it to our website, but they will remain responsible for the maintenance of the site. (UPDATE: I have met with our Communications Department and they are ready for this link.)
- We will allow them space as needed to conduct dance rehearsals, to have regional spiritual retreats, to train new volunteers, etc. (UPDATE: I have trained their team about how these requests for space are made and what our expectations are. When expenses that are above and beyond normal work schedules are incurred for our Sexton, they will be responsible for these expenses, similar to when we need extra help for funerals, weddings, and other special events.)
- We will invite the committee to any events associated with the life of Saint Dunstan’s, including picnics, 9:01 events, Holy Smokes, etc. These invitations will be important for them to feel included and “part of the family” and will allow us the opportunity to develop relationships with them, volunteer for some of their ministries, and connect them to our 9:01 service as prayer partners, mentors, and friends. (UPDATE: Two of their board members who don’t yet have a church home have been worshiping with us regularly at 9:01 and are thinking about becoming members here.)
Please continue to pray for Saint Dunstan’s and Nacer de Nuevo as we enter into this new partnership. I believe Nacer de Nuevo will become very important to our own ministries for Spanish speakers, helping us to grow and to develop new inroads into our community. Call me if you have any questions about this diocesan ministry.
Blessings to all,