TLDR: The opening liturgy for our ministries to Spanish Speakers was a great success, covered by the media and our Diocese’s communications department. Now join us for what’s next.
Saint Dunstan’s ministry to Spanish speakers started with a great service on August 28, 2022. The “Gran Apertura” (Great Opening) was attended by 64 people from within our congregation, the Diocese, several Spanish speaking congregations, and local visitors, in addition to 33 people who watched us online. The service was a modified installation liturgy for Fr. Pinzon who was officially named as Saint Dunstan’s Missioner for Spanish Speakers. Following the service, we offered a tour of our facilities to all of our attendees, followed by a catered lunch in our Price Fellowship Hall. During the lunch, Aliento de Dios Radio conducted a live interview with Fr. Pinzon, me, and Fr. Alex Montes Vela, one of our Diocesan missionaries for mission amplification. Fr. Montes Vela has been a great support to our ministry over the last six months. Also in attendance were personnel from our Diocesan Communications Department who wrote a wonderful article on our Gran Apertura, complete with fabulous photos of the event. See article here. See the gallery of photos here.
Following this great opening, we have had two services on September 4 and September 11 at 1:00 pm, each attended by 48 people, of which 27 attended in person on the fourth and 23 on the eleventh. The rest attended via our online livestreaming platforms. These are incredible numbers for a service that is just beginning. We have been recruiting and interviewing musicians for this service, compensated for at least three years through a generous donation of a parishioner. In the meantime, David Horn, our Director of Music and Choirs has been playing and singing at these services. David, who is a trained opera singer, can sing in four different languages including Spanish. He has done a phenomenal job so far. I am glad to report, however, that we have entered into negotiations with a Spanish Praise and Worship band of three people, each of whom plays a number of instruments including the Ranchera accordion, guitars, base, piano, drums, and other instruments. They will start on Sunday, October 2, 2022, at 1:00pm.
Our services so far have been a Liturgy of the Word with Communion from the Reserved Sacrament. We have purposefully delayed the full celebration of the Holy Eucharist until October 2 for two reasons: First, We wanted to iron out all wrinkles of a service in a new language for at least a full month. Both Fr. Alvaro and I are new to presiding the Holy Eucharist in Spanish using the Book of Common Prayer. I have always ministered in English-speaking congregations, and he celebrated in Spanish using the Roman Catholic Missal for almost 20 years, but is new to the BCP. Additionally, the services at his former Episcopal Church were a bit less structured and more casual. Both he and I have learned a great deal over the last three weeks, and with the help of Katie Lamb (who is a really good liturgist) and the able assistance of Kyra Helmick, we have created excellent bulletins in Spanish. We are getting ready to start our full services in October. Second, I wanted to wait until we had a full complement of musicians before we started the Holy Eucharist. I believe that how we start a ministry is extremely important, and by the time we launch the full Holy Eucharist, I want to have a smooth, elegant, reverent, and lively service that has the same level of professionalism and preparation as our English services. I believe that withholding the full service of communion has built a bit of hunger for the consecration words, and most of us are really looking forward to early October. I hope some of you will choose to join us.
We are in the early stages of creating a number of events and programs to engage our new members. Food is extremely important to ministry with folks form Latin America. We have responded to this need by creating an Almuerzo Comunitario (Potluck Lunch) on the last Sunday of every month at 12:00 noon, followed by our Spanish service. Additionally, Fr. Alvaro is creating a Noches de Adoracion (a prayer group in Spanish) once a month on a Friday evening. More information about these prayer groups will be made available very soon. On November 11, from 8:00am-3:00pm, we will have a Spiritual Retreat in Spanish, which will feature theological reflections, prayer sessions, music, and the Holy Eucharist. Anyone who would like to join us in this spiritual retreat is encouraged to send an email to Fr. Alvaro or Fr. Roman, so we can know how many people to prepare for. Lastly, we cordially invite all of you to attend our service on October 16 to celebrate the end of Hispanic Heritage Month. At this service we will invite folks to dress in typical Latin American outfits, process the flag of their countries as we start the service, bring a national dish to share with the congregation, and bring specific prayers for their country which we will read during the prayers of the people. This will be a festive day and we will be processing the American flag in celebration of all people born in this country to Hispanic and Latino parents. It would be an honor to have as many of you as possible at this service.
I would like to end this blog by thanking all of our Ushers, Vestry, Lay Eucharistic Ministers, Acolytes, Technology Volunteers, and staff for supporting these services. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Our goal is to recruit folks from within the service to fill most of these roles, but this will take a while. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support. If you would like to volunteer in our Spanish services or would like to make a financial contribution to these ministries, please contact Laurie Riggs or me for more information.
Blessings to all,