by Dr. Maritza A. de Gonzalez
WORCESTER, MA (10/09/2012) -- God is so GOOD! The UCC Council of Hispanic Ministries (CHM) of New England held a Conference September 7-8, entitled "Tertulia 2012." Tertulia is a Spanish word that signifies a gathering, a party, a conversation of deep issues as was our case. This conversation covered Open and Affirming issues as well as Racism, Classism, and Sexism.
Invited were board members of each of New England’s Hispanic Churches, Latino pastors and seminarians. Manantial de Gracia (Spring of Grace), of New Britain, participated in this gathering. Both the church’s President (Dr. Maritza Angulo de González) as well as the President Elect (Luz Berrios Taveras) are members of CHM’s Executive Committee. The gathering’s facilitator was the Rev. David Mateo, UCC pastor of the first ONA Hispanic church which is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The conference itself took place at Lakeview Congregational Church UCC in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Tertulia 2012 was the first attempt at having an intimate, open, honest, and transparent conversation while being cognizant of our cultural diversities and theological understandings. The event asked the question, “What does it mean to be in a covenant of love, and embrace the transformative UCC Statement of Faith, in a world where God is still speaking?”
We have a long way to go; we agreed to continue this conversation in our churches and ministries.
Tertulia 2012 was held as a celebration as it also served as the opening activity to Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15). National CHM leaders joined leaders of CHM NE-Region in writing reflections with the theme "I'm Hispanic... I'm UCC." These reflections were gathered in a journal provided to all participants during the Tertulia; some of them will be published in UCC Daily Devotionals and Worship Ways during Hispanic Heritage Month.
CHM-New England wants to say thank you to Justice and Witness Ministries, Health & Wholeness Advocacy, Wider Church Ministries, and the Connecticut and Rhode Island Conferences for their vote of trust and faith as they sponsored this, our First Tertulia. Gracias!
Dr. Maritza A. de Gonzalez is pastor of Manantia de Gracia "Spring of Grace" in New Britain, and President of the Council of Hispanic Ministries, New England Region.