With support from the synod’s Mission Endowment Fund and hosted by St. James Lutheran in Houston, the Spanish-language congregation Misión Luterana Santiago Apóstol is making great strides, reports Pastor Pedro Suarez.
The congregation’s first Latino worship was held Dec. 12, 2012 remembering the Virgin of Guadalupe, with attendance of 50. A second worship service was held on Epiphany, the Celebration of the Three Kings, on January 6, 2013 with 75 in attendance. Since then, worship services have continued with an average attendance of 35.
More than half a dozen children are attending Sunday school classes, and three children along with their mother were baptized in November. A prayer circle is meeting weekly on Wednesday evenings with about a dozen participants. More than 125 people attended the Women’s Group Christmas program.
Meanwhile, the congregation’s outreach efforts are addressing many other critical needs in the community:
Five immigration forums have provided free consultation to potential beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. More than 250 persons received pro bono consultations from the George R. Willy law firm.
Four juvenile probation workshops developed by FLC and offered in multiple locations were attended by some 150 juveniles and their parents. Emergency aid to families has been expanded through a partnership with MANNA, an ecumenical social service agency, along with training sessions for families and fathers through a partnership with the Hispanic Family Initiative
A partnership with Tecnológico de Monterrey Foundation is providing classes for families to learn English, obtain their GED, and learn basic computer skills, while a silent auction raised funds to buy 10 computers for the ESL, GED, and computer literacy classes. Weekly tutorial programs have been organized for students at Black Middle School
In 2012 the congregation increased regular giving by 50%. If that trend continues, Suarez says, “We will have no problem being self-sustained by 2015.”
If you would like to make a donation to the Mission Endowment Fund to support New Congregations, please contact Melissa in the synod office, 281-873-5665.