First United Methodist Church in Perry has supported the development of a Latino ministry to create new places for new people in their region. Ministerio La Luz began in 2010. Its current ministries include worship, Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, and Bible study. “The existence of this ministry opens new possibilities for an entire population” to become disciples of Jesus Christ who transform the world, wrote co-pastor Paul Burrow.
A Matthew 25 grant from the Central District has helped members attend leadership training opportunities, including the Mission U event in Marshalltown sponsored by the Iowa Conference United Methodist Women. The funds, which are made available because of apportionment gifts from the United Methodist churches of Iowa, also purchased Disciple Bible Study materials in Spanish for use by the congregation.
Leadership development has been an important aspect of their ministry. One leader serves as a participant in the Healthy Church Initiative process, and another sits on the Hispanic/Latino Ministries Standing Committee of the Iowa Conference Board of Global Ministries. Three more members have been leading worship, Sunday school, and Bible study activities. In addition, several members of Ministerio La Luz are looking forward to taking Lay Servant classes that will be taught to speakers of Spanish this coming March.