Over the weekend twenty new students gathered for the first School for Lay Ministry class to be presented in Spanish. Simpson College in Indianola served as the site for the event. Students spent all day Saturday together and concluded their class just before noon on Sunday. Instructors for the class included Enna Antunez, one of our pastors in Perry, and Ruben Mendoza, one of our pastors at Broadway United Methodist Church in Council Bluffs.
The Hispanic population is growing in many parts of Iowa, and this new initiative was developed in response to the need for more church leaders who are fluent in Spanish. For two decades the Iowa School for Lay Ministry has been equipping leaders for ministry in local churches and the greater mission field. The new class is a natural extension of this innovative ministry, which has been recognized throughout the United Methodist connection for its leadership development practices.
Nitza Dovenspike, the chair of the Iowa Conference Hispanic Ministries Standing Committee, helped to coordinate this collaborative effort among several agencies, including the Board of Laity and several of our District Connectional Ministries Councils. Apportionment gifts from United Methodist churches across the state of Iowa helped to provide scholarships for participating students.