San Diego County and its surrounding areas are home to a large number of Latinos/Hispanics, yet most of the Episcopal churches in the Diocese of San Diego have a proportionately low number of Latino/Hispanic members. Recognizing this as a sign that we could do more to reach out to this population, the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego applied for and received a grant from the Episcopal Church for a leadership training program.
Early in 2014, the diocese began working with San Diego State University’s Consensus Organizing Center to develop a program that would serve to raise up and train Hispanic/Latino members of the Episcopal Church. The consensus organizing model focuses on identifying the self-interests of collaborative partners and developing goals that fulfill all parties’ interests. With this in mind, the project has been divided into four steps:
The first step, analysis of the community and participants, began in the summer of 2014. During this stage, the Consensus Organizing Center and the diocese worked toward locating Latino/Hispanic members, and others who are interested in this ministry, and meeting with these people on an individual basis. One of the main goals in this process was to learn about the interests and visions each person has for their church and community, and ensure they are ready and willing to become involved in the process.
The next two steps involve selecting and training prospective Latino/Hispanic leaders. On January 24, 2015 all participants from throughout the diocese will gather for a training session. SDSU will provide training in the Consensus Organizing model, which will be geared towards the goals and visions that have been expressed. The purpose of the training is to provide resources and support for Latino/Hispanic leaders in the Episcopal Church, and in doing so, create space for increased Latino/Hispanic participation and growth in our churches.
The final stage of this program is the implementation of the mobilization plan. Following the January training, the representatives will return to their parish communities and begin putting into practice the skills learned. The representatives from SDSU will continue being in contact with the participants as they implement set areas of improvement.
As we progress through the final stages, we ask your prayers of intercession for continuing discernment of God’s will and participation in our efforts. We also ask your prayers of thanksgiving for the participants who are willing to commit to this project, and all involved in making it a success.
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