CHM Reports:

2009 ReportCHM Home Page2006 Report
2000 Report,  1999 Report to MAYM
1998 Report, 1997 Report

2010 - Coalition for Hispanic Ministries

July 22-24, 2010 –Report to EFC-MAYM and the Home Missions Board
Presented by David C. Byrne – CHM Executive Director

When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him.  34The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born.
Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.     Leviticus 19:33-34

I want to encourage Friends to read these verses and then read them again.  I’ll wait.

There is a political earthquake taking place in this country over immigration and it is time for Friends to speak out.  It is time for me to speak out. 

CHM’s mission to develop and promote ministry to the Hispanic community has primarily focused on the needs of the churches as they directly relate to Hispanic church ministry and that will continue to be the case.  Currently, however, the tone of the immigration debate has taken such a negative turn that I feel a need to begin to directly address this as a moral issue facing our society.

Of course there is a great deal of concern and even fear as people in the United States face the prospect of a changing future.  The resistance to demographic change that we are seeing today has accompanied every significant wave of immigrants in U.S. history, and the things that are being said today about Hispanics were also said with regard to the Germans, Irish, Italians, and Chinese as well as in reference to the black Americans who integrated into American society since slavery and right up to our own generation.

The demographics in this country will continue to move inevitably toward a higher proportion of Hispanic people whether or not our borders are shut down due to the natural birth rate of those who are already here.  The Anglo birthrate in the U.S. is 1.8 compared with the Hispanic rate of 2.3 (http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p20-558.pdf) so that it is only a matter of time until there will no longer be a majority “white” population in the United States.  This is already the case in many parts of the country. (Texas, California and New Mexico are already “majority-minority” states and Maryland, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, New York, and Mississippi are not far behind.)

As the church, we can celebrate those changes.  Each year we spend millions of dollars to send missionaries to the ends of the earth in order to share the Gospel.  David Boyd, in his book:  You Don’t Have to Cross the Ocean to Reach the World makes a case for the church to make it a priority to be multi-cultural in an attempt to reach the many multi-cultural and bi-cultural individuals around us with the skills for taking the good news they receive here to their own people.  This is a vision for a world-wide expanding outreach that would mirror the way the Hellenistic Jewish Christians in the early church were used by God to help take the Gospel to all nations.

There are obviously problems with the immigration system in the United States.  It is not a simple question of law-breakers crossing our borders simply because they want to get rich here and take the jobs that should belong to Americans.  There has been a long history of restricting immigration to unreasonable levels that have precipitated this crisis and made it nearly impossible for immigrants to legally come to fill the labor positions that U.S. firms must fill.  When legal restrictions are unreasonable and unenforceable, they tend to be ignored.

One of the latest arguments against finding reasonable immigration solutions for this country is to point out the restrictive policies of Mexico.  There is no doubt that Mexican immigration law is restrictive.  Those laws were drafted out of a history of foreign interventionism where foreign powers – both colonial and religious – exercised almost irresistible power within Mexico.  When the Mexican revolution overthrew the foreign control and influences, the new constitution put in place very restrictive measures to assure that those powers could not assert themselves again in Mexican politics.  Yet, Mexico has suffered as a result of those policies in terms of its own development and in foreign investment and it is a prime example of what happens when legal restrictions are unreasonable and unenforceable.

This is an issue that CHM needs to address as an advocate for the Hispanic church that is being seriously impacted by the anti-Hispanic rhetoric and policies of conservative politicians.  Christians must take a stand in favor of those who are in need and marginalized in our society.  We can respect the law by working to make the law into something that reflects our values and the needs of our country.

It is my expectation that during the rest of this year and into 2011 CHM will need to dedicate considerable time and resources for education and leadership on this issue that will include workshops, speaking, writing and consensus-building with a modest goal of helping to bring understanding to the issue and to move Friends in particular toward a role in proposing and advocating for solutions that are sympathetic to the immigrants’ situation as well as to the cultural heritage of the values and culture of the U.S.

At the same time we will continue our programs for the Hispanic church, for leadership development, and for developing partnerships with the Anglo church for Hispanic ministry. 

The Instituto ALMA (institutoalma.org) has been undergoing steady growth through the technological innovations that Director Jerry Clarkson has brought to the endeavor.  He is developing new classes for use on the internet and has done more to streamline the system so that individuals and groups can easily walk through an entire class in a way that requires very little direct oversight.  That is a strategy we have been pursuing for years and we are pleased with the fruit we are now seeing.

This past year has been a good year for strengthening core areas of CHM’s ministry including its:

During the rest of this year we will be:

But in addition to these regular activities, I pray that you will join us in the task, not only of making Hispanic ministry the priority, but also in taking bold steps to influence the immigration debate to bring Christ’s compassionate voice to the conversation.  We thank you for your support and encouragement.

Your Servant in Christ,
Dr. David C. Byrne
Director:  CHM



(Back to top

Coalition for Hispanic Ministries

July 24, 2009 – Report to the Home Missions Board of EFC-MA
Presented by David C. Byrne – CHM Executive Director

What a transformational time this past year has been for CHM!  We have been praying for years to increase our staff in order to fulfill more of the goals we have set for ourselves and to do more in meeting the needs of the Hispanic church, but it was not until the Clarkson family joined us in June of 2008 that I have more fully realized what a key step this has been.

I am very pleased that in this year we have made some long-overdue upgrades to our Instituto ALMA leadership-training program and have improved our online classes and materials, with substantial changes and improvements still in process.

This partnership in ministry means that I am once again able to devote more time to the strategic relationships with local Hispanic ministers and with our core leadership across the continent, and am also able to personally respond to invitations to carry the vision for Hispanic ministries to churches in other parts of the country.  I praise God for the opportunity now to follow through in these primary areas of CHM’s ministry and give thanks to our Lord for the joy of seeing His hand over this ministry in so many ways.

The need for targeted Hispanic ministry becomes more apparent each year, even as more denominations and churches are getting involved.  Demographically, the United States has already passed a tipping point in its ethnic makeup that will not be reversed even if all immigration is brought to a stop – which, in itself is highly unlikely.

Dr. Stephen Klineberg, a Rice University professor who each year since 1982 has published an annual demographic and economic study of the Houston area (available online at www.HoustonAreaSurvey.org) spoke recently at a clergy breakfast for “Interfaith Minist-ries” on how integral the Hispanic population is to Houston, to Texas and to the U.S.  His investigation shows that although much of the population increases in recent years have come through immigration, now, due to an aging Anglo population compared to a much younger Hispanic demografic with larger families, Hispanic population will continue to grow even if immigration is frozen.

Of course, these are the very trends that CHM was designed to address when it was first organized in 1994.  The population growth combined with the huge disparity in educational levels and the resulting economic disparity between the varied ethnic communities makes an emphasis on Hispanic ministry not only an opportunity for the Anglo evangelical church, but a moral imperative.

God’s Blessing:  Over the course of the last year, CHM has been a part of God’s moving among His Hispanic church.  From the international conferences through the new Instituto ALMA classes we’ve hosted in our ministry center and the classes we’ve offered online, this has been an active year of ministry and ministry development.

The CHM-sponsored conferences for North American Hispanic Friends were held in Northern Mexico in April 2008 and in October with good participation and with Mexican leaders indicating their commitment to sponsoring future conferences that will bring together the widely scattered Mexican churches.  The first of these was held just last weekend. 

This April our pastor’s conference was held in EFC-ER at the Kingston Iglesia Amigos where we were warmly received.  We look forward to celebrating our 13th North American Hispanic Friends Conference in Kingston, New York in October.

Many of the Friends Yearly Meetings have been very active in their support for their Hispanic Churches and there was solid growth in most of them this past year with new churches planted and with increased participation.

God’s Provision:  We thank God in particular this year for calling Jerry Clarkson and his family to the Houston area to work as Instituto ALMA director.  It has been a blessing to see how this step of faith has been met by God’s faithfulness in providing the extra finances during 2008 to end the year in the black in spite of the increased budget; the worldwide financial crisis that has hit some of our key supporters; and Hurricane Ike damage to our facilities in both South Houston and League City.  It was by God’s grace and through the extraordinary end-of-the-year gifts from family and friends that this took place and we are thankful.

As good stewards, however, we are also concerned that a significant portion of the 2009 budget is unsubscribed and we are actively soliciting additional support from current and potential partners in this ministry.  We are also taking the following steps to address our budget pressures:

·    Jerry has taken a course in raising support for missionaries.
·    David and Jerry will both be active in sharing the vision for CHM and the Instituto ALMA in order to increase prayer and financial support.
·    The CHM board approved David’s request for a modest reduction in his salary and is investigating court interpretation as a possible bi-vocational means of support if needed.

These are simple steps toward ongoing faithful stewardship as we rely on our Lord to provide for the needs of this ministry.

God’s Calling:  As God has been blessing during this last year, it has become clear how much more we can accomplish.  While making contact with area Hispanic churches in preparation for the November Instituto ALMA class, we began to reconnect with those servants of God who are working faithfully under His direction in local churches.  The Instituto ALMA has much to offer these servants and I delight that we are once again able to provide new local classes.

Part of the process of redeploying the Institute will probably involve the development of an Instituto ALMA Advisory board that can help guide the development of at least the local part of the program.

Likewise, as Jerry is taking most of the responsibility for ministry in League City, I will be increasingly available to offer training and consultation for churches involved in Hispanic ministry.  That networking and interaction is at the core of the Coalition for Hispanic Ministries.  The Coalition itself is made up of churches and individuals who are called to get involved in Hispanic ministry.  We need to learn from and share with one another in order for God to be glorified among all of His people.

In I Thessalonians when Paul prays for the believers to be completely sanctified “through and through” by the God of Peace, he concludes by assuring them that, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”  As Jerry and I have considered the tasks and opportunities before us as well as the responsibility in leadership in this key ministry, we have shared that the task sometimes seems too big.  I thank God for the words of Paul that echo into the present.  God has called us, He will do it!

Your Servant in Christ,
Dr. David C. Byrne


2006 Report - (updated January 2007)
Coalition for Hispanic Ministries
Presented by Dr. David C. Byrne - Director

Politically, 2006 has been a fiery year for the immigrant community in the United States.  The immigration issue heated up early in the year with immigration crack-downs resulting in mass-marches by Hispanics in many US cities, and then culminated in an election that was marked by vocal anti-“illegal” immigrant campaigning with a resulting political realignment in the Hispanic community.  Now, local communities are enacting local legislation to keep “illegals” from working or renting in their towns.

The message to Hispanics is clearly motivated by cultural protectionism.  Political decisions about immigration involve complex practical issues of economics, social integration, law and popular perceptions.  Those decisions are influenced by the ebb and flow of political will and may take a new turn next year with a different party controlling Congress. 

What does not change for us is Christ’s call to His followers.  Our call is clear: to go out; to make disciples; to preach the good news to everyone; to love; to do God’s will.  Christ emptied himself of his divine identity to redeem a broken humanity that definitely did not share in His kingdom’s cultural values.  Each of us is influenced by our own backgrounds and cultural presuppositions, but we must be reminded of the fact that our “Kingdom is not of this world…,” and that as much as we love and are convinced of the rightness of our own cultural values, other cultural groups will see things differently.

17learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. 18"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:17-18; NIV) 

It is still shocking to receive those prophetic words.  The Lord addresses His people and refers to “your sins” being “like scarlet.”  We need to “reason” with the Lord about our own sin and do what is right, just, and compassionate instead of justifying ourselves before the Lord by comparing ourselves and our sins with others.   

The “raison d’etre” of CHM is to take up the cause of ministry and partnership in ministry specifically among the minority Hispanic people in this country.  This is a calling we take up when it is popular and when it is not – and especially when it is not.  CHM is not a political action group that fosters a particular political agenda.  It is a ministry organization that reaches out in partnership between cultures to advance ministry in both.

2006

In the past year, a great deal of my activity as CHM director revolved around the renovation of the League City Ministry Center and the development of the local ministry contacts in the League City area.  It has felt like I’ve been pulled between the “Martha” and the “Mary” activities. 

Martha was compelled by her own temperament to complete the mundane tasks that were the necessary support for the Lord’s ministry.  The League City project seemingly has no end to those types of activities which have included everything from organizing and supervising volunteer crews on work projects to purchasing and installing plumbing supplies.  It has been a long, time-consuming project that is only worthwhile as we look down the road at the future results.

Currently, the Oasis of Faith Church has been actively ministering in the building and actively supporting the remodeling and renovation projects.  The church is in the process of association with the Friends Church at both the local (AFGC) and regional (EFC-MAYM) levels although it was initially associated with another denomination.  If it were not for this group with their labor and expertise, we would still be in the initial stages of the church building renovations.  As it is, there is still much to be done.

Besides the considerable costs that have included everything from food that was purchased for workdays, to utility expenses and contract services (like leveling the foundation and refinishing the hardwood floors), there have also been countless volunteer hours donated by Friends from area churches and by the “Oasis de Fe” Church members.  We have also received several thousands of dollars worth of materials and supplies donated..

I am deeply grateful for all those who have been involved in this project and trust in God to bring about His fruit in its time.

Even in its initial stages of renovation, the building is being put to good use.  Apart from the regular use by the “Oasis de Fe” Church, I am offering discipleship classes through the Instituto ALMA program on Thursday nights and we have a Sunday morning worship cell in preparation for beginning an English language worship service in early 2007.  We also conducted an experimental Instituto ALMA class in English with Spanish translation on Spiritual Formation presented by Dr. Jack Rea on Dec. 1-2.  Unfortunately, the timing was not good with the Christmas holidays coming up and attendance was low.  Those who attended were enthusiastic about the classes.  Hopefully we can stage other similar events that will bring the Spanish and English-speaking communities together through leadership training opportunities and use the League City Ministry Center as an entry point to support ministry in both English and Spanish in a way that will highlight Hispanic ministry.  Another example of this type of community-enriching ministry is an “English as a Second Language” class that we are hosting in January in partnership with contacts out of the Clear Creek Community Church.

It is a blessing to be able to worship the Lord with individuals and groups who are seeking to serve the Lord together.  These are the “Mary” activities that bring joy to a minister’s heart.  It is invigorating to spend increased time in local ministry and in letting the Word flow through me to others who are not familiar with it.  This is a time of growth for me personally that should sharpen my own ministry skills to be better able to share with others.

Some of the CHM ministry highlights from 2006 include:

The Hispanic Pastor’s Retreat in Aguascalientes, Mexico in July:  The retreat was designed to be a time of refreshment and spiritual growth for Friends’ pastors from Mexico and the US.  Additionally, our hope was that the retreat would provide a context for highlighting EFM’s new mission point in Aguascalientes among Hispanic Friends and begin to bring Mexican and U.S. Hispanic Friends together.

Joe and Sally Roher were a great blessing in leading the retreat (through translation) and giving the pastors an experience in spiritual development that left a lasting impact.  There was an excellent representation from the Mexican churches but only a few pastors were able to come from the U.S. due to the costs and logistics of international travel.  Overall the retreat was a success that should pave the way for further cooperative ministry projects among the Hispanic churches.

In some ways, the Aguascalientes spiritual retreat was a predecessor of a planned pastor’s retreat scheduled for March of 2007 that came out of the 10th North American Hispanic Friends Conference last October in Philadelphia.  During those meetings the group also sensed the need to go back to the roots of the conference and to provide a support and growth opportunity specifically for the pastoral leadership of the churches.  That pastor’s retreat will be held in Las Vegas, which is the same location for the 2007 general conference to be held in October.  It will serve as both a planning session for the North American Hispanic Friends Conference and a retreat and training time for the pastors.

Those preparations reflect one of the high points of the Philadelphia conference, namely the growing maturity for cooperation and strategic planning.  The Philadelphia churches were responsible for most of the preparations and logistics of the conference itself and did a fantastic job with excellent participation from local leaders.  Business meetings were led by Pastor Arnoldo Garcia from Pomona Friends Church in California who did a good job of bringing people to consensus and a common vision.  The conference sessions were inspirational and challenging, focusing on evangelism and on Christian holiness.  Evening sessions were attended by up to 500 and were broadcast over the internet so that others from as far away as Guatemala and California could participate.

The “Instituto ALMA: ALcanzando al Mundo Alrededor” leadership-training institute turned an exciting corner this year as Amy Peña began to work part-time as associate director for the development of internet training.  She has been researching the systems and procedures to use in a virtual setup for the institute program that will link students and facilitators in online groups.

One of the challenges in past years has been for the facilitators to bring their groups together consistently and for materials to be distributed quickly.  This new system should help resolve both issues.  Groups will be given weekly assignments and will view or listen to presentations online.  They will then meet together to share assignments and to chat with a facilitator about the lessons through either voice or text chats.  This will also allow us greater ease with many of our international students giving them easy access to videos without international shipping and allowing online payment options.

In spite of taking a full-time position at the end of 2006, our hope is that Amy will be available to continue part-time with the Instituto ALMA into 2007.   An initial trial class for the online ALMA program is scheduled to begin in mid-January.

In early September, I again had the privilege to see the contribution the Instituto ALMA has had in the lives of its students when I was able to travel to Oregon for the graduation of four students from the Newberg Instituto ALMA group.  Students, their families and their church celebrated the effort and the ministries of these students.  The fruit that is coming from their service to the Lord is evident.
 
Overall, there are many very positive signs of Hispanic ministry advancement and of CHM’s contribution to it.  EFC-ER continues to expand their works and to allow me to work with their churches and to help coordinate with them administratively.  CHM’s and Instituto ALMA’s internet sites are well-used and accessed throughout Latin America for literature, materials and guidance in leading the church.

And the end is not in sight.  Given that about 1 in every two people added to the U.S. population between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005, were Hispanic; given that the median age of Hispanics in the U.S. is 27.2 compared to 36.2 in the general population; given that Hispanic businesses have grown at three times the national average for all businesses in the U.S., with $222 billion in revenue in 2002; Hispanics in the U.S. seem bound to continue to increase in number and influence.

It is a privilege to be a part of this organization that sees these changes as an opportunity to minister in the name and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  May God continue to bless our efforts together.

Your Servant in Christ,
Dr. David C. Byrne


2000 Executive Director's Report to the CHM Board
Seventh Annual CHM Planning Retreat

In the story Jesus told about the good Samaritan, he turns racism on its head to make the point that the true neighbor is the one who demonstrates love for the needy.  The outcast Samaritan who represented a despised nation within a nation was the hero of the story and the true neighbor.  Later, in the last words Jesus spoke to his followers before his ascension, Jesus again mentions the Samaritans when he says to his followers that they would receive power and that they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.

The Samaritans again represent a nearby people group that would normally be overlooked by the Jews who preferred to rub shoulders with "their own."  Jesus was intentional about seeing that the Samaritans were not overlooked and he left his disciples with his personal example (the woman at the well) and the missions strategy that assured this nearby people group would not be forgotten as the Gospel was carried to the uttermost parts of the earth.

The Coalition for Hispanic Ministries is a part of God's strategy today to help Friends and others to reach the special people group of Hispanics in North America.  According to Carlos Arce with Nustats International, Hispanics in the U.S. as of the first quarter of 1999 now number 31.4 million, or 11.5 percent of the total U.S. population. By mid-2002, Hispanics will become the largest minority group in the United States.  Over the course of the last decade, the Hispanic population grew at quadruple the annual growth rate of the overall U.S. population, and these figures do not include the three million undocumented Hispanics that the INS estimates are in this country.

This is a people group that must not be ignored by the American church.  CHM is actively involved in calling the church to this mission field and helping to develop and promote those ministries that advance the Hispanic church.
 

CHM's Work & Achievements (1999-2000)

In the past year, CHM has been active in several key areas.

1.  CHM serves to call the American church to Hispanic ministry.  This is an important ministry of the CHM that serves to support both the American and Hispanic churches in their outreach endeavors.  Communication has been an important part of this task as we have sent out newsletters and prayer notices about the activities in the Hispanic ministries across the country.

We have also acted to raise support for specific ministry needs that have ranged from transportation needs to raising funds for missions trips and projects.  As director of CHM, I have been able to help coordinate mission trips to México and also Hispanic conferences that have served to raise awareness of the ways that the entire body of Christ in North America can minister well in the Hispanic community.

Part of this activity includes visiting, preaching and consulting at "Anglo" congregations that are poised to begin Hispanic ministries.  It is encouraging to see new ministries begun in such diverse places as Hugoton, KS; Friendswood, TX; and Martinsville, VA. as a result of a God-given vision that challenges Christ's church to action.

One of the obstacles in beginning these new works is simply the lack of communication, of trust and of understanding.  CHM has been acting as a link that brings together the diverse cultural and theological groups in order to make sure that Hispanic ministry remains the priority.  The very existence of CHM shows:


2.  CHM unifies and strengthens existing and new Hispanic Friends churches.  In many ways, CHM is simply a service organization for the Hispanic church and we have fulfilled that mission in many ways in the past year.

Among Friends, CHM is the only organization that links Hispanic groups nationwide and across the continent.  Each Yearly Meeting of Friends has its own contact with their Hispanic ministries, but CHM has been used of God to create an awareness of the move of God among Hispanic Friends across the nation.  When CHM hosted its first North American Hispanic Friends conference in Houston in 1995 there was little sense of connection between the diverse groups and (on the contrary) a constant sense of friction between the churches and leaders on issues of faith, practice and worship styles.  That meeting was attended by about 45 Friends.

In last year's conference, with about 70 in attendance, the emphasis on prayer allowed a healing between the leadership as we all drew closer to our Lord in seeking forgiveness and reconciliation.  The resulting respect among the different groups that still have many differences that divide them allowed the 2000 Hispanic Friends Conference held two weeks ago in Baltimore to be a great blessing for all.  Instead of the 70-80 we expected in attendance there were over 160 attendees from outside of Baltimore with average attendance in our worship times of well over 200.

Some highlights of the recent 2000 conference include:

Besides the Hispanic conference, CHM has actively promoted communication between groups through our upgraded website for both the Instituto ALMA (www.institutoalma.org) and CHM (www.institutoalma.org/CHM).  We are regularly adding new Spanish-language literature to the site that can be used in the Hispanic churches including articles, Faith and Practice documents, historical documents, seminar outlines, and entire Sunday school lesson series out of the materials published in Guatemala.  We have posted the "Corazon y Vida" lessons from 1999-2000 and will soon be posting the lessons for 2001 which we recently received from Guatemala.  These classes have helped to provide for the need in the churches that struggle to find good material for adult members.

CHM has also served the Hispanic church by providing specific motivation, inspiration, and vision for the ongoing Hispanic ministries.  This has been accomplished in part through the following:

Each denominational group is involved in these areas of supervision, administration and ministry, but CHM has been able to bridge the cultural and linguistic gap in a non-threatening way for the Hispanic churches in order to facilitate the contact and ministry that allows the American church to bless what God is doing among Hispanics in North America.

3.  CHM, through the Instituto ALMA, provides leadership training materials that evangelical Hispanic churches are increasingly using for the development of present and future leaders.

Some of the advances in this past year of the Instituto ALMA Leadership Training Program include:


The Future of CHM:
CHM will have a continuing ministry for the Hispanic evangelical church and for Friends as Hispanic churches and leadership develop.  Increasingly, key Hispanic leaders across the country are gaining a vision for a strong Hispanic church that will do its own church planting, pastoral support, and communication within existing denominations, yearly meetings, and church organizations.  This is an exciting transition that is already beginning to happen and will cause CHM's ministry to shift slightly as time goes by away from promotion of Hispanic ministry and more toward supporting the Hispanic churches.  Both roles will continue to have relevance and the change will only reflect the growing maturity of Hispanic ministries.

God has blessed Friends Church Southwest where Amílcar Sosa is now on staff in supervising the Hispanic ministries and Dr. Gene Pickard has begun working in Bible Training and leadership development.  In MAYM and EFC-ER there are leaders who are beginning to take the reins of overseeing an overall strategy for Hispanic ministry by Friends.

CHM's role will change as the Hispanic church matures, but in terms of keeping Friends focused on Hispanic ministries, communicating the needs and opportunities for both the Hispanic and "Anglo" churches, and helping to prepare current and future leaders in ministry - CHM will continue to make an important contribution.  CHM is an investment in the future of the Hispanic Friends Church and a contribution toward the growing Hispanic evangelical movement in North America.  CHM is just one aspect of Christ's effort to reach out to Hispanics in North America, but it is a key coordinating organization that facilitates the ministries of others.

Respectfully submitted,
Dr. David Byrne
Executive Director: CHM
www.institutoalma.org/CHM/   Back to top of page.
 

1997 Executive Director's Report to the CHM Board
Fourth Annual CHM Planning Retreat

Over the past year I have been in contact with Friends from all over the country, representing many different churches and yearly meetings.  In my conversations with these Friends, I have been impressed with how long and how broadly God has been preparing the way for the ministry of CHM through the prayers of His people.  Over and over I have been hearing about churches and individuals who have been praying that God would open the doors for a ministry to the growing Hispanic population around them.  As I see the amazing way that God is opening doors before us, I am convinced that these prayers are bearing fruit in the ministry of CHM.

We are seeing results in both awareness and activity among Friends as God moves among us to serve the Hispanic communities across the United States.  CHM is providing the rallying cry to ministry and the resources in terms of expertise, vision, and leadership that is allowing new ministries to develop.

It is incredible how God brings the answers to our prayers knocking at our door!  Acts 12 recounts that great story of when the apostles are gathered together praying for the release of Peter who is in great danger in Herod's prison.  When God intervenes and sends an angel to escort him out of the prison, Peter, the object of the apostle's prayers, knocks at the door of the home where they are gathered.  In their disbelief, they leave Peter knocking at the door until finally someone lets him in.  Friends have been praying for cross-cultural ministries, and now God has put opportunities for cross-cultural ministry at our door.  Increasingly, Friends are excited about the opportunities we have in Hispanic ministries and are looking for ways to open that door to ministry.

It is rewarding for me to look back over the past year and see the ways that God has been moving in and  through CHM.  Some highlights:

Instituto ALMA

The first two year cycle of the Instituto ALMA program was completed in the spring of 1997, and on July 12 the first graduation ceremony was held.  Four students who had been involved in the program since its inception in summer 1995 celebrated their graduation before friends, family, and other students, giving moving testimonies of the impact the program has had upon their lives.  These four men of God are a credit to the Institute and an example to the students who will follow in the months and years to come.  Back to top of page.

Numerically, the Institute is experiencing rapid growth as it becomes increasingly well-known throughout the area.  We continue to do mailings to some 200 Hispanic churches and individuals; I have had several opportunities to share the program with gatherings of Hispanic pastors (accompanied by enthusiastic endorsements of current students), and we are hearing from more and more students who have become aware of the program through word of mouth.  We regularly receive calls from pastors who have been referred to us by friends and colleagues in ministry.  At this point last year, approximately 35 students had participated in some aspect of the program; we are currently well over 100 and as the Institute moves into its next phase of development I believe that the growth will be explosive.  I am encouraged that we receive constant affirmation of the vision and design behind the ALMA program.  This program is touching a need that had not been previously addressed and is doing so in a way that is appropriate to the target group.

As you are aware, the first two years of the program involved bringing expert speakers to the Houston area to present classes in leadership training (see class list following).  But our vision has always been to go far beyond the Houston area to places across the country and throughout Latin America where training is desperately needed.  We are currently in the process of editing the taped ALMA sessions into class units which are accompanied by a written study guide.  It is designed for use by small groups with a leader/facilitator and involves viewing short video segments interspersed with activities and interaction between the students and the facilitator.

MidAmerica Yearly Meeting has generously provided funds for the purchase of video editing equipment which is being used for preparation of the tapes.  The first series of video classes was presented at the ministry center in September to an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response by students.  Surprisingly, the class done by video was even more effective than the original class done "live"with the visiting professor.  Editing the tapes and providing the study guide enabled us to give the sessions a clearer focus.

I am currently in contact with several different groups which are interested in using the ALMA materials for training their leaders.  Next month I will be traveling to Mexicali, Mexico to get a group started on the program there.  As the materials become available for use in virtually any geographical setting, I believe that the ALMA program will have a tremendous impact on Hispanic ministry.  The editing process is very labor-intensive, and since plans for the upcoming ALMA sessions here in Houston involve the use of videos rather than bringing in additional speakers, there will be some pressure to produce them quickly.  Please pray for God's continued blessing upon this project.  Although it has involved a substantial investment of time and finances, the results are already becoming apparent and, Lord willing, will continue to grow in the years to come.

One goal we had hoped to reach in 1997 was the appointment of a half-time director for the Instituto ALMA program.   Funds have not yet become available to implement this goal, but it is important that we continue to look in this direction.  As the local program continues to grow and as we expand nationally and internationally, this position will become important for the viability of the Institute.
 

 Church planting

The long-term goal of the ALMA program is not merely the training and equipping of effective leaders, but the planting of Hispanic Friends churches throughout the U.S. and Latin America.  As we begin to have graduates from the program I look forward to a dramatic increase in church planting efforts since there will be a supply of new leaders to work with these groups.  I often receive calls from churches or yearly meeting officials who are looking for trained leaders to work in Hispanic ministry.  It was extremely gratifying to me to be able to put one of the first graduates of Instituto ALMA, Pedro Guzman, in touch with the Newberg Friends Church which was seeking leadership for its Hispanic ministry.  Pedro has received a call to Newberg and plans to move to Oregon in the near future. Back to top of page.

The ALMA program serves pastors and leaders from many denominations, but I believe that  we as Friends  will be blessed  by our participation in this ministry and will see an increasing number of workers available to plant the churches that we envision.  As director of CHM I try to work with existing Friends congregations in seeing the possibilities of Hispanic ministry right in their own communities.  Without Spanish-speaking leaders  it has been difficult for most of these churches to take steps toward reaching out to their Hispanic neighbors, but as we begin to develop a group of trained leaders I hope to work with these existing churches to see many new Hispanic groups established.

Locally, I continue to work closely with Isaias Cordero at Iglesia Amigos and with the new Hispanic group at Langham Creek.  Isaias has found it necessary to discontinue the meeting that was initiated at League City due to personal situations involving the health of his family as well as transition in the League City church which complicated ministry involvement there.  In time I believe the door will be opened to ministry in this community and others - please be in prayer for the church planting efforts of CHM.

Nationally, there has been a steady increase in the number of Hispanic churches affiliated with the various Yearly Meetings.
 

National Hispanic Minister's Conference

One of CHM's key goals that was approved at last year's planning retreat was to host a National Hispanic Minister's Conference.  This has been an area where God answered prayer even beyond our expectations.  The conference, held in Friendswood from October 6-8, was a time of great blessing for the participants, approximately 40 Hispanic Friends leaders from California, Kansas, New York, Texas, Mexico, and Canada.  Along with the encouragement they received from being together, praying for one another, and worshipping, the group made important progress on issues such as combined efforts to publish Friends literature in Spanish, outreach to unreached people groups,  leadership training, and other ways they can work together to accomplish more for God's kingdom.  Volunteers from Friendswood Friends Church,  Iglesia Amigos, and League City Friends Church did a wonderful job of hosting the visitors and providing meals.  Several yearly meetings provided funds to enable representatives from their Hispanic groups to travel.  Back to top of page.

Initially we had hoped to encourage the group to set a goal of meeting again two years from now, but before I had chance to mention this possibility one of the leaders from Yorba Linda volunteered to work on hosting the group there in 1998.  They are looking forward to meeting again.
 

Funding

In  addition to the expanding participation in the Coalition by individuals and churches we are expecting the income base from the Instituto ALMA ministry to rise significantly from the franchising and the sale of materials.  It is reasonable to expect that the denominations and groups that will be receiving benefit from the ALMA program in the future will contribute to its ongoing viability.  A business plan for the distribution of the ALMA program is included with this packet.
 

Personal

In May of this year I experienced a milestone in my personal life when I graduated from Houston Graduate School of Theology with a Doctor of Ministry degree.  This was the culmination of three years of study and research which has been extremely beneficial both for me and for CHM.  The structure  of the D.Min. program allowed me to focus my studies on Hispanic ministry.  I believe that integrating my ministry involvement with my studies has enabled me to conduct some of the research and preparation that went into the Institute program in a more professional manner.  I am grateful to the faculty and administration of HGST for their assistance which allowed me to participate in this program.  Back to top of page.

One of the many blessings of being involved in ministry is the prayer support which our family receives from supporters across the country.  We sense the impact of these prayers in the lives of each member of our family, and are thankful for the joy and blessing we experience in our family life together.  The five of us are content in the ministry God has called us to and look to the future with excitement.
 

Funding

In  addition to the expanding participation in the Coalition by individuals and churches we are expecting the income base from the Instituto ALMA ministry to rise significantly from the franchising and the sale of materials.  It is reasonable to expect that the denominations and groups that will be receiving benefit from the ALMA program in the future will contribute to its ongoing viability.  A business plan for the distribution of the ALMA program is included with this packet.  Back to top of page.
 

1998 Executive Director's Report to the CHM Board
Fifth Annual CHM Planning Retreat

Back to top of page.
Instituto ALMA: ALcanzando al Mundo Alrededor:

One of the key considerations that was discussed in last year's board meeting was the need for CHM's executive director to dedicate large blocks of time to the production of video and written materials that will be used in the Instituto ALMA.  The past year has proved that the process of materials development is indeed time consuming!  Hundreds of hours have been spent in this task and yet we are still in the initial stages.

To date, the classes that are ready to be used (or tested) by Instituto ALMA cell groups are:
Iglesia: Crecimiento y Cultura with Dr. Daniel Sánchez
Hacía una Administración Eficaz with Guillermo Luna
Modelos de Ministerio Entre Hispanos
Historia del Liderazgo en la Iglesia Cristiana with Dr. Justo González
Teología Pastoral with José Dimas

Currently in production:
Homilética with Dr. Pablo Jiménez

As you are aware, the video is designed to guide the class through the same experience that students have had in the Instituto ALMA program in South Houston.  The study guide serves to enhance that experience by providing detailed notes for the church leader and enabling each person to leave the class with a complete set of notes.  The theory behind this approach is that adult learners who are motivated for improving their skills in ministry do not require the rigors of an academic environment but can benefit from the insights of new materials and the interaction with those materials in a group of peers.

Recently, Miguel Orozco has brought to CHM a new dynamic and productivity as he has worked beside me in the production of the videos and study guides as a part-time production assistant.  Over the past month he has worked in editing and reviewing taped material, writing and revising study material, and acting as an educational and linguistic consultant.  He is highly talented with a gift for video production.

This coming year will require that we invest more in his ministry if we hope to see the realization of the rapid growth in the Instituto ALMA program is being planned for the coming year.

Several of the completed classes have been used on a trial basis by  groups in Texas, Mexico, Wichita and New York.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and the groups are anxious to receive additional classes.  Feedback from these initial trials has been helpful in continuing to develop the program as we identify the weaknesses and strengths of the video approach and the particular class presentation.  Back to top of page.

An important focus in the year ahead needs to be the marketing and distribution of the videos.  Zoila Feaster has done some part-time work with CHM helping to set up a database program to manage student records.  This has been an important first step in preparation for the large-scale expansion of the program that I believe will take place as we make it available on a broader level.  Unfortunately, Zoila has changed jobs and will have less time available to work with CHM; and the system will require further modifications before it is ready for the its full scale implementation.

Networking:

The past year has once again provided many opportunities for contacts with other groups, both Friends and other denominations, to share ways of working in Hispanic ministry.  I continue to keep in touch with the Hispanic Commission of the National Association of Evangelicals and AETH (the Association for Hispanic Theological Education).  I have traveled to several of the Friends Yearly Meetings, either to Yearly Meeting sessions or individual churches (Rocky Mountain, Southwest, Eastern Region, and Mid-America).  It is encouraging to see that Friends leaders have an increasing vision and burden for Hispanic ministry and also to see the Hispanic Friends leaders grow in their vision and excitement.  A highlight of the year was the second international conference for Hispanic Friends Pastors and Leaders held in California this past September.  The sessions were very well-attended and were a great encouragement to those who participated.  The host churches did an excellent job of preparing for and hosting the conference.

The Hispanic pastors from Kansas and Texas have offered to host next year's conference in Wichita.  They have already held a committee meeting by conference call to work on initial plans and are in the process of sending out a mailing to the churches so that people can reserve the dates of October 7-10, 1999.  There will also be an international pastors' conference in Guatemala next year for EFI, but it is the feeling of those involved in the National Hispanic Friends Conference that it meets many needs of Hispanic Friends in the United States and Canada that could not be addressed in an international gathering.  There is also a concern not to lose the momentum of the projects that this group has initiated in terms of establishing a mutual aid fund, cooperating in literature, and setting up missions projects. Back to top of page.

It is rewarding at times to see how far the influence of CHM has reached.  In an unplanned visit recently to a Baptist Church I was blessed  when a woman shared her testimony about winning some family members in Mexico to the Lord at a party she attended.  She was thrilled about the experience and how the Lord had used her.  I was curious when the pastor asked her what method of evangelism she had used.  She did not hesitate for a second but said, "The method my pastor taught us."  I thought that was great, but then the pastor explained to me and the congregation that this particular method was one that he had learned from Dr. Vidal Valencia in the Instituto ALMA.  What is most encouraging is to know that God is now working in new ways in hundreds of people now because of the ministry of CHM.

Honduras Disaster Relief:

At the time of this year's board meeting I am deeply involved in preparations for a ministry trip to Honduras, Central America.  I appreciate the vision of our board president, Jack Rea, in proposing that CHM initiate and give leadership to such a trip.  Obviously, this is not a ministry that could have been foreseen and planned as a part of our goals, and yet CHM is uniquely positioned to be able to act as a catalyst in meeting this need together with other groups.  Thus far God has blessed our efforts in amazing ways.  We have a team of 6 people representing 3 different Yearly Meetings who, Lord willing, will be in Honduras from November 17-24.  The Texas area churches have been very generous in financial support and provision of food, supplies, and medicines to take to Honduras.  I have been in contact with both missionaries and national leaders in Honduras who are anticipating our arrival.

The disaster in Central America has long-term implications for relief work and  it is possible that CHM will continue to be involved at some level in the coming months as the situation develops.  Although this does not fit neatly into our mission as the Coalition for Hispanic Ministries we recognize that there are times in life and in ministry when one must move to meet an area of desperate need.  This is one of those cases and CHM is in an excellent position to be able to contribute to the effort to bring relief to those who have been devastated by Hurricane Mitch.

In closing, I must note that CHM is both a national organization and a local organization.  We minister interdenominationally, in the broader body of Friends, and also we seek to minister locally.  In this spirit, we look with excitement to the year ahead and the possibility of collaborating with Friendswood Friends Church in establishing a Hispanic ministry as a part of their ministry.  This project was born out of our last local board meeting and has tapped into a deep interest in the Friendswood Friends congregation.

Initial plans call for a language and culture class that Joyce Byrne will lead and that will introduce conversational Spanish along with choruses in a context of fellowship with Hispanic Christians.  This group will form a base group for beginning outreach and ministry among the Hispanic families in the Friendswood area.  CHM will be on hand to counsel, guide, and minister to bring about this yet unborn child of the Friendswood Church.  Back to top of page.

God has blessed CHM over this past year with a special place of ministry and service among Friends and He continues to lead us forward to creatively bring the American church and the Hispanic church to effective ministry among Hispanics.  To God be the glory!

Respectfully submitted,
David C. Byrne
CHM Executive Director

Back to top of page; CHM Home Page