150 United Methodists, including 30 youth and young adults, from across the denomination gathered in El Segundo, CA for the 43rd gathering of the Metodistas Asociados Representando la Causa Hispano Americana, Methodist Associated to Represent the Cause of Hispanic-American, or MARCHA.
MARCHA began 42 years ago to advocate for the Hispanic/Latino people inside and outside of the church. MARCHA meets annually to learn with one another, vote on resolutions, and to elect its leadership for four-year terms.
Bishop Warner H. Brown (California-Nevada Conference) delivered the sermon in the opening worship service at Los Angeles Korean/La Tijera United Methodist Church and Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño (California-Pacific Conference) delivered the sermon in the closing worship service at The Hacienda Hotel in El Segundo, CA.
Among the many things accomplished at this year’s gathering was a statement in support of the unaccompanied migrant children currently in detention by the United States government. Entitled, ”Declaration on Humanitarian Crisis at the Border,” MARCHA declares solidarity, “with those who suffer in the hands of an antiquated immigration system and demand[s] our elected government in Congress and the President of the United State to develop effective humanitarian responses to a situation that transcends their political and partisan self-interests.” Supporters are asked to sign the online petition.
And, this was a special MARCHA gathering for the California-Pacific Conference in particular as a number of Cal-Pac persons were recognized:
- Reverend Leo Nieto who was the first District Superintendent for Hispanic Churches in the California-Pacific Conference. The position later became what is now the Associate Director of Hispanic/Latino Ministries. Rev. Nieto currently resides at Pilgrim Place in Claremont, CA.
- Mr. Al Pineda for an outstanding lay career in the United Methodist Church, including at one time serving as a Director of Hispanic Ministry which is now the Associate Director of Hispanic/Latino Ministries. He is currently a member of El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church in Santa Paula, CA.
- Mrs. Betty Huebner for being the first Hispanic Methodist Youth President and leading as an organizer of the Museum of Social Justice at La Plaza United Methodist Church.
MARCHA 2014 was a great time of worship, fellowship, celebration, and action. Prayers for MARCHA, now, as they prepare for MARCH 2015 in the North Central Jurisdiction at Madison, WI!