I am a candidate in the PC(USA) ordination process, under care of the Presbytery of San Francisco. I am called to serve the community of Jesus Christ through sharing the Word and the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
I enjoy exploring the Hebrew Bible, with a focus on diasporic texts, such as the books of Daniel and Esther, as they speak to third culture populations. With the pursuit of a degree in Practical Theology, I aim to correlate how these texts can be used to inform preaching, spiritual, and worship practices in Latinx and other third culture communities of faith.
Below is a list of the congregations/ministries I have been part of, as well as select examples of the work I participated in amidst these roles and others.
Select Ministry Examples
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Located in Trenton, NJ, WPC is a small urban church with a 120 year history, serving a truly intercultural congregation.
Rev. Karen Hernández-Granzen had been pastor for twenty-five years and served as my mentor and supervisor.
During my twelve week stay at WPC, I held leadership and participated in a variety of ministries, including planning the worship bulletin and delivering liturgy each week.
You may watch some of my sermons online.
Bethany House of Hospitality
A mission of Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery of New Brunswick, Bethany House of Hospitality (BHoH) was my home during my time with WPC.
Housing young adults who serve the region of Trenton in a variety of ways, the house also serves the community through its garden, food related programs, and other social-educational gatherings.
Residents of BHoH and invited guests meet weekly to tend the house garden together, share a meal, and partake in a reflective activity. In a session I led, we engaged the practice of Lectio Divina with a photography book as a form of contemplation. Recognizing that not all residents and guests are Christian or religious, we were able to have conversation with images that spoke to us, irrespective of doctrinal beliefs.
Using ingredients from the garden paired with inexpensive options from the grocery story, BHoH resident and Suppers program facilitator Christina teaches local people how to cook and eat healthier.
LGBTQIA+ & Allies Reunion
It had been three years since BHoH and WPC hosted a gathering of their LGBTQIA+ & Allies group.
After fellowship and a meal, I led the group in conversation concerning the question: What does it mean when we are so inclusive that we become exclusive?
WPC Elder Cherry documented our conversation through a graphic recording.
Hispanic Summer Program Chapel
As a team of four, my classmates and I organized and led daily chapel for the two-week intensive Hispanic Summer Program (HSP) in San Antonio, Texas.
Our theme was creation, which includes the lives and bodies of our siblings crossing the border into the United States. Over the course of two weeks our table evolved, collecting the elements of creation and the names of those who have perished crossing El Rio Grande. A memorial service was held to remember those who have lost their lives crossing into the United States and also those who died in U.S. custody.
Hispanic and Latinx Association
The Hispanic and Latinx Association (HALA) at Columbia Theological Seminary is a seminarian-led group that provides care, education, and support to Hispanic and Latinx seminarians and their allies. The group also leads educational events on campus and leads worship services for the seminary chapel.
You can hear my sermon for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Hispanic Heritage Month
Above: As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, HALA organized a book display on Latinx Ministry concerns by Latinx scholars for use at Columbia Theological Seminary's library. There was also a display of children's books.
Right: A table display for our closing chapel service celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.
El Refugio Pastoral Care Trip
HALA makes an annual trip to Stewart Detention Center. With the guidance and support of the non-profit El Refugio, we offer pastoral care to men who have been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.).
After speaking with the detainees, HALA members, El Refugio volunteers and staff, and families who were visiting their relatives at Stewart, sit for a meal and fellowship.
Atlanta History Center: ¡Nuevolution!
HALA visited the Atlanta History Center for their exhibit on Latinos and the New South. It was a good bonding experience and also informative. The exhibit aimed to show how the U.S. South was being transformed by a Latinx presence and also how Latinx peoples were being transformed by the South.
San Francisco Night Ministry
Since 1964, San Francisco Night Ministry (SFNM) has been serving the city through a ministry of presence. Most of the work takes place between the hours of 10 pm and 4 am as Night Ministers walk the streets of the city, offering a listening ear and the occasional sock or food item to any person who needs a moment of companionship and compassion.
SFNM also offers a weekly Bible study and two street-side worship services, one on Sunday afternoon and the other on Thursday evening. Both services are followed by fellowship and a meal. As a Clinical Pastoral Education site, SFNM is a training ground for seasoned and future pastors and chaplains alike. Because the ministry has no walls, there is no distinction between who is part of the ministry and who is not. Everyone, including your own colleagues, is your parishioner.
Preaching during a street-side Sunday worship service by Civic Center Plaza in the heart of the city.
Bonding with CPE teammates on a hike.
Leading prayers and reading scripture during a weekday evening service in the busy and populous Mission district.