Nearly a hundred people gathered in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church for “Diferente,” the initial Latinx ministry celebration. Coming together on September 29, 2019, the community experienced a time when “todos son Bienvenidos,” all are welcome.
According to First UMC Pastor Edgar Solis, the new ministry will be a celebration of community in which people will share in prayer ministry and be encouraged to participate in Bible studies. “We’ve had contact with people from Miami, from Puerto Rico, Panama, Cuba, Central America, and Mexico. They wanted a place where they could get more activities and develop more ministry among Latinos…and we have that connection.”
Click here to see photos from “Diferente”
Music was a big part of the first Sunday evening worship. “Music expresses worship and praise to God,” Solis said, “and there’s a lot of energy in that music…a lot of energy, with a lot of enthusiasm and passion…passion to express joy and thanksgiving!”
With a meditation based on Psalm 133 and Jeremiah 28, Ismael Withaker assured the community, “God wants to be present in everyone’s journeys. God has a plan.” He issued the challenge to “bring God’s presence to our city (Des Moines)…when we act as one this city will be blessed.” He asked, “Do You Know Jesus? Do you love Jesus?” and offered the assurance, “He loves you!”
“Dierente” was Spanish language worship gathering. It was interpreted for the English-speaking worshippers.
Christine Anders, Minister of Discipleship for First UMC offered the opening prayer. Rev. Heecheon Jeon, Superintendent of the Iowa Conference Central District brought greetings from Bishop Laurie Haller and on behalf of the Conference. Rev. Bill Poland, Director of New Faith Communities, also offered a prayer. With a band and additional singers, Daniel Withaker led the evening’s music.
Rev. Solis is particularly grateful for the support of First United Methodist Church for the emerging Latinx community. “I feel really blessed to see how First Church is opening their hearts and their doors. More than witnessing transformation and change they are actually participating and making this possible.” He added, “To open the doors for people from different communities to express God’s grace and compassion and love for people in our community here in downtown is a tremendous blessing.”