DALLAS — The Mexican American and Hispanic-Latino/a Church Ministries Program at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University invites applicants for its inaugural Cultural Sensitivity and Hispanic Ministry Training cohort. Applicants should be leaders with a desire to understand cultural differences and build bridges across ethnic groups. Successful candidates will receive an honorarium of up to $1,000, along with CEU credit and a certificate of completion from Perkins School of Theology.
The new training program, which comes as MAP at Perkins celebrates its 40th anniversary, is made possible by a recent $70,000 grant from The United Methodist Church’s General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) Action Fund (CAF). According to a GCORR Announcement, the $70,000 CAF grant to Perkins was part of more than one $1.2 million awarded for “bold, innovative initiatives across local churches, annual conferences, jurisdictions, seminaries, and central conferences that will increase intercultural competency or vital conversations about race, cultural diversity, and systemic equity leading to action.”
“We are excited about this new opportunity to offer cultural sensitivity and Hispanic ministry training,” said Dr. Philip Wingeier-Rayo, director of the Mexican American and Hispanic-Latino/a Ministries Program (MAP) at Perkins School of Theology. “The dramatic growth of the Hispanic/Latino population underscores the critical need for greater cultural understanding in the church and in society at large, particularly as the church strives to fulfill its mission among all peoples to ‘make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.’”
The grant request originated as a proposal by MAP at Perkins, relating to the creation of the new Rio Texas Annual Conference from a merger of the Southwest Texas and Rio Grande Annual Conferences. GCORR’s award specifies that “A team of key leaders will receive cultural competency training (via open discussion forums, in-person trainings, and webinars) to address potential cultural conflicts resulting across the conference and in local congregations from the merger of the Southwest Texas Annual Conference and Rio Grande Annual Conference into the new Rio Texas Annual Conference.”
According to Dr. Wingeier-Rayo, applicants for the training program should be interested in Hispanic/Latino ministries with a willingness to learn, but no experience is necessary. “The selection committee will seek a representative group of applicants, laity and clergy, men and women, young and mature with a balance of ethnic diversity,” Wingeier-Rayo explained, noting that priority will be given to applicants in the Southwestern conferences experiencing the most robust growth in the Hispanic population, especially those conferences welcoming the transfer of former Rio Grande Conference churches. “Persons across the United Methodist connection are encouraged to apply, however,” Dr. Wingeier-Rayo emphasized.
GCORR Announcement of 2014 Action Fund grants
Mexican American and Hispanic-Latino/a Ministries Program (MAP) at Perkins
Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.