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April 28 NHCLC/CONELA Hispanic Christian Leadership Convention Focuses on Current Cultural Issues

April 28 NHCLC/CONELA Hispanic Christian Leadership Convention Focuses on Current Cultural Issues

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HOUSTONApril 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)/CONELA today announced a new name – NHCLC/CONEL – and began its annual three-day convention of Latino Evangelical leaders in Houston, during which the following issues were discussed:

Supreme Court Oral Arguments on Same-Sex Marriage, Prayer for Nepal & Baltimore
During the opening session of the Convention, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of NHCLC/CONEL, challenged the hundreds of attendees to earnestly pray for the Supreme Court to uphold the traditional, biblical definition of marriage.

"As we are speaking, something critical is taking place right now at the Supreme Court of the United States," Rodriguez said. "We could be politically correct and have everyone love us, but there is no such thing as a 'comfortable Christian.'

"We believe in the biblical message and the spiritual covenant of one man, one woman," Rodriguez continued. "At the same time, we repudiate all vestiges of homophobia. We open our churches to welcome every person on the planet. We are not a social club; rather, we are called to minister to the suffering and the hurting."

In addition, Rodriguez led attendees in praying for the individuals in Nepal who were impacted by the April 24, 2015 earthquake as well as the current unrest in Baltimore, Maryland following the death of Freddie Gray.

In a later afternoon session, Dr. Russell Moore, president of The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also addressed the issue of protecting the family and traditional marriage.

"There are some people that would tell us [Christians] that if we want to reach the culture around us, we have to stop talking about the Gospel... the only way that we can reach culture around is with an authentic Gospel," Moore said. "If we hold to what Scripture teaches, that marriage is between one man and one woman and that marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church, they will tell us we are on wrong side of history; but the Christian church started on the wrong side of history."

Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) spoke to the attendees during the evening session, addressing the issue of immigration, specifically protecting innocent children.

"The [immigrant] community is hungry for information, and the only community centers to which they can go is the Church, so I came here to say, 'Thank you,' said Gutierrez. "You influence the way people live their lives and navigate the world, and how to raise their families. Speaking for the stranger was not easy for Jesus and it is not easy for you."

Gutierrez went on to explain his parent's own journey of immigrating to the United States in 1952.  "My mother came here from Puerto Rico," he continued. "She came with no job, no clothes and no money, and it was the Church that gave her a coat and a job."

Prior to Gutierrez's address at the Convention, Jesse Rincones, executive director of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, joined him at a press conference and also recognized the Church's role in caring for immigrants.

"There are things our congregations can do that the government cannot do," said Rincones. "The government can pass laws and write a check, but it cannot love."

Pro-Israel Coalition Launch
NHCLC/CONEL officially launched the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition (HILC) during today's convention, which will create the world's largest and most influential Pro-Israel Latino entity.

HILC's vision is to build bridges of reconciliation between Jew and Arab, to create a firewall of protection against the persecution of Arab Christians throughout the Middle East, to educate the church about the Christian persecution and to spread the Gospel to the Muslim Arab World.

Mario Bramnick, senior pastor of New Wine Ministries Church in Cooper City, Florida, will serve as President of HILC, working alongside NHCLC/CONEL President Rodriguez.

"This coalition is critical for Hispanics and our nation," said Bramnick at a press conference announcing HILC. "Those who curse Israelwill be cursed. As biblical believers in the Word of God we must be pro-Israel. The day America turns its back on Israel will be day God's judgment comes down."

New Organizational Name

In reference to the new organizational name, NHCLC/CONEL, Dr. Gus Reyes, chief operating officer, explained that "con el," Spanish for "with him" better reflects the dual mission of NHCLC working with Christ to make an impact around the world.

A full list of sessions and press conferences for April 29 and further media information can be found at

NHCLC/CONEL is the world's largest Hispanic Christian organization. It serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches and another 500,000 congregations spread throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. For additional information, visit

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SOURCE National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference