SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 12, 2016 – Modeling the call made yesterday by National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) to become agents of peace and to rise up and become a light to the world, NHCLC churches in Mississippi, Colorado and Connecticut hosted successful events in their respective communities following an unprecedented week of violence across America.
On Sunday, July 10, Iglesia Vida of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, pastored by Rev. David Martinez, who serves as the state chair for the Mississippi chapter of the NHCLC, hosted civic leaders and uniformed officers for a time of focused prayer. Among those present were Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree, Chief of Police Anthony Parker, and several officers from the Hattiesburg Police Department.
“We want to be the first in line to show our support for our great city and those who lead and protect it,” said Pastor Martinez. “Fear is a learned behavior, but so is love. At Vida, we strive to teach that fear has no place in our lives or in our church. We opened our doors to those who protect us to demonstrate to our children and our community that as a minority group, we stand with them.”
During the worship service, the entire church body surrounded the honored guests in a prayer circle and proclaimed a covering of protection and blessing over their city, state and law enforcement officers.
Additional NHCLC member pastors recently hosted or took part in similar events. In Denver, Colorado, Carlos Ivan Alvarez, Spanish pastor of The Potter’s House, prayed over the local chiefs of police and fire, and in New Haven, Connecticut, Rev. Abraham Hernandez, associate pastor at Grace Fellowship Church, took part in a city hall roundtable discussion yesterday with civic leaders, members of the clergy, elected officials and police brass.
“It is our hope that many churches will follow the example of these churches to stand as a bright city on a hill, as Jesus commands us in Scripture,” said Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. ”Scientifically, when various colored lights join together, the brightest light is created. What would happen if the black church, the white church, the yellow church and the brown church, if all of these different segments of the Church divided by ethnicity, would come together? We would see the purest of light and create the greatest impact.”
NHCLC is calling for churches of all sizes, denominations and ethnicities across the nation to “be light,” by working with community leaders, polices forces, African-American pastors and churches in their corresponding communities to address issues and concerns while simultaneously constructing a preventive multi-ethnic firewall against disparities in law-enforcement practices and emphasizing the image of God, or Imago Dei, inherent within all individuals – regardless of race.
NHCLC/CONEL is the world’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, which serves as a representative voice for the more than 100 million Hispanic Evangelicals assembled in over 40,000 U.S. churches and hundreds of thousands of additional congregations spread worldwide throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora. For additional information, visit https://www.nhclc.org.