Mid-Kentucky Presbytery
Hispanic/Latino Commission
Rev. Antonio (Tony) Aja, Coordinator

 

The ministry continues strong and creative thanks to the involvement of many people and congregations. Here are some of the highlights:

 

English as a Second or Other Language: The program continues with 3 congregations (Beulah, Beechmont, and Crescent Hill) and almost 30 volunteers. Over 50 students of all nationalities, but mostly Latinos, have been served by the ESoL sites. All the sites also offer a meal for volunteers and students as well as child care.    

 

Outreach in the Preston Highway area, known as “Little Mexico” continues under the leadership of the Rev. Elmer Zavala. Rev. Zavala works on a half-time basis and already has three Bible study fellowships going and provides both social and pastoral care to many families and individuals. Thanks to new funding secured through the CDU, the 1001 Worshipping Communities program and other sources the ministry will be able to continue through 2015.

 

Elmer’s groups have also begun to reach out to the families of those who have been deported back to the home countries due to lack of immigration status with their social needs as well as spiritual support. A new bible study fellowship was formed thanks to this outreach effort.

 

Beechmont and James Lees churches continue their ministry with Hispanics. Beechmont does it from the perspective of a multicultural model (with Arabic-speaking Sudanese and Anglos), ESOL and other outreach ministries. James Lees hosts a Latino group that meets there regularly for Bible study and informal worship and fellowship.

 

The Brazilian fellowship at Anchorage PC continues to meet. Elder Rick Ary is the leader. He is now taking the courses required to become a Commissioned Ruling Elder.

Bardstown Road PC hosts a pastoral/counseling service program for Spanish speakers. Adam Ruiz is the counselor.

 

Several bilingual Presbyterians along with immigration attorneys and others in the community continue to visit the Boone County Detention Center once a month. The purpose is to interview those awaiting deportation individually to assess their case to see if they can be helped by immigration attorneys working pro-bono.

 

The coordinator, with help from Commission members, continues to be involved in local events targeting the Hispanic community with informational booths and other outreach efforts. The coordinator also continues to connect with presbytery congregations by preaching, meeting with pertinent committees, pastors and leaders, and giving workshops on immigration issues and ministry opportunity with/for Hispanics.

 

The coordinator is also involved in city, state and national grass roots and religious organizations which advocate on behalf of immigrants, specifically for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the enactment of the DREAM Act, undergirded by the policies of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

 

At the national level the coordinator has been directly involved and taken leadership (along with another member of the Commission) in events of the Hispanic National Presbyterian Caucus on areas of theological education and immigration reform. The coordinator was the convener for a GA mandated national conversation on Hispanic leadership in the PCUSA. He also staffed the GA Special Committee on the Nature of the Church in the 21st Century.

 

These involvements resulted in reports and recommendations approved by the General Assembly of the PCUSA regarding immigration and ministry with and for Hispanic/Latinos.

To access the entire National Strategy for Ministry with the Hispanic-Latino Constituencies go to:

http://www.pcusa.org/resource/hispanic-strategy/

To see an article on the most recent recommendations for Hispanic/Latino ministries, go to: http://www.pcusa.org/news/2012/4/25/growing-pcusa-deep-wide-and-diverse/

 

Rev. Antonio (Tony) Aja, D.Min.
Coordinator - Hispanic/Latino/Immigrants Ministries
Mid-Kentucky Presbytery/Presbyterian Church (USA)
347-628-3609