House of Deputies

The Nuevo Amanecer conference, which was born in the year 2000 in Los Angeles, was intended to inform, support and revive Episcopal Latinos. The 2012 celebration at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, N.C., on August 27 – 30, with the theme Many Countries, One Family, is the fourth, most diverse and most attended of these conferences with about 300 participants. 

The most impressive element of this particular conference, however, was the abundant presence of English-speaking persons. This was the key element of the whole conference because it demonstrated without a doubt that Latino/Hispanic ministry does not require any more proof of citizenship in the Episcopal Church. It is categorically considered to be a key element in the growth of our church.

All of the sessions and presentations of the conference proved and reinforced this thesis. Dr. Víctor A. Feliberty-Ruberté from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico started by astonishing us for almost an hour with statistics and graphics that demonstrated the growth of Hispanics in this country. The final discourse by the Rev. Simon Bautista, Latino missioner in the Diocese of Washington, was an eloquent presentation to prove and demonstrate that Hispanics are definitively prophets, missionaries, evangelical, sacramental, and spiritual. Who would not be overtaken by such a wealth of gifts? Without a doubt, from this day forward Latino/Hispanic ministry will be the herald for Episcopal growth!

For me, the even more convincing presentation was that of Bishop Dan Edwards from Nevada, whose message served as the marrow of the Latino “New Dawn.”  His presentation was gentle and intentional as he quietly and deliberately made a case for his diocese as he shared that it was literally dying until, thanks to Latino/Hispanic ministry, the whole diocese is now growing. It is growing by imitation and contagiousness that is being sparked by Hispanic ministry. And if his diocese grows it is because, as Bishop Edwards affirmed, “Everyone – imitating the Hispanics, has begun speaking about Jesus Christ, inviting others to come to church, and is baptizing more children.”  These are three key factors to church growth.

In addition to the three presenters, there was an abundance of others who were exceptionally gifted. Among them was Julio Cuellar with music, Edgar Giraldo with technology, and Hernan Afanador with radio interviews that are already nurturing and informing thousands of listeners through his radio programs.

A new element at this “Amanecer” was the presence of families who brought their children and youth.  This provided a relaxed atmosphere and a positive element of hope for the future of our church.

The Rev. Isaías A. Rodríguez
Canon for Hispanic Ministries
Diocese of Atlanta