Hispanic Church Studies
Hispanic Church Studies has been a part of the seminary’s MDiv curriculum for over thirty years. Throughout that time, the seminary has offered a variety of courses, programs, and means of support to prepare leaders for Hispanic/Latino ministry. The seminary recognizes that demographic shifts make it increasingly necessary for all students to have some familiarity with the tools for ministry with Hispanic/Latino populations.
Through the study of Hispanic/Latino theology and culture and through engagement with specific resource persons, texts, and contexts, all students will be able:
- To identify historical, cultural, and devotional expressions of Hispanic/Latino Christian faith;
- To display a receptivity toward innovation, enculturation, and difference for the purpose of extending the Christian community to include a variety of groups of people.
Hispanic Church Studies Concentration
The Hispanic Church Studies concentration is a curricular specialization offered by Southwest to prepare and equip students who have discerned a particular calling to or are exploring ministry with Hispanic/Latino communities.
Through the study of Hispanic/Latino theology, culture and Christianity and through engagement with specific resource persons, texts, and contexts, concentration students will be able:
- To evaluate a diversity of models of ministry in Hispanic/Latino settings, including ministry with Spanish-dominant, immigrant communities and ministry with English-dominant, acculturated communities;
- To apply skills for pastoral ministry in Hispanic/Latino and multicultural contexts;
- To interpret theological and social issues from the perspectives of various Hispanic/Latino and Latin American theologians.
Students complete the concentration by taking two 3-credit hour elective courses offered through the concentration and two required courses for all MDiv students. All junior MDIV students enroll in the course “M1320 Encuentro: Mission in Latino Contexts.” Likewise, all middler MDIV students enroll in the required course “P2140 Ministry Across Cultures.” Students enrolled in the Hispanic Church Studies Concentration are required to undertake their placement for this course in a Hispanic/Latino setting.
Students in the concentration will gain cultural competency while acquiring skills and sensibilities for the practice of ministry in Hispanic communities. The seminary’s offerings in Spanish language acquisition will assist students who desire to minister in Spanish-speaking settings but are not yet proficient in the language. Students in the concentration take all their required courses with their MDiv peers while using their elective courses for the concentration. The courses in the concentration are also available as electives for all students. Students who complete the concentration graduate with a transcript that indicates completion of the Hispanic Church Studies concentration. Students in the MAR, MCPC, MSF, DTS, and DAS degree programs may also tailor their studies to take advantage of the concentration. For further information on the Hispanic Church Studies Concentration, please contact the Rev. Al Rodriguez, interim director of Hispanic Church Studies.
Faculty for Hispanic Church Studies
The Rev. Jay Alanis, PhD, executive director of Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest
Dr. Horacio Peña, senior instructor
The Rev. Al Rodriguez, interim director of Hispanic Church Studies
Spanish Language Learning
A course in Spanish language learning is offered each semester by Dr. Horacio Peña, instructor of Spanish. The course is tailored to address Spanish language acquisition in pastoral settings.
Library resources at Southwest
• La Colección Hispana includes theological, Biblical, and liturgical books in Spanish, plus holdings from other seminaries.
• Winterbotham Collection preserves historical works in Spanish from 18th-20th centuries.
• Hispanic and Spanish-language scholarly journals in theology and religion are available.
• Students receive borrowing privileges at the Benson Latin American Studies library in Austin, one of the largest Latin American Studies libraries in the world.
Special Summer Programs
• Language immersion in Latin America is available for credit.
• The Panama Project. The Seminary Council on Mission (SCOM) an organ of the Council of Deans of Episcopal Seminaries, selects up to four students each year to attend a four-week immersion program in the Episcopal Diocese of Panama each June.
• Hispanic Summer Program (Programa Hispano de Verano) offers two weeks of for-credit courses from Hispanic perspectives. A consortium of seminaries funds the program, and the site rotates each year. Successful completion of the Hispanic Summer Program course can count towards the Hispanic Church Studies Concentration. Ten percent of the Hispanic Summer Program student body consists of non-Hispanic students.
• Students may apply for two different grants that will allow them to learn about the church in mission in Latin America or in Hispanic communities in the United States: The Seminary Consultation on Mission (SCOM) grant and the Evangelical Education Society of the Episcopal Church (EES) grant.
The seminary co-sponsors a day-long “Crossing the Border Conference” on a Saturday once a semester with Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the Lutheran Seminary Program In the Southwest. The conference is in Spanish and free of charge for students. Participants come from a variety of denominations to hear Hispanic theological educators teach on theological and pastoral issues relevant to the Hispanic community.
The Episcopal Church’s office of Latino/Hispanic Ministries sponsors “Nuevo Amanecer Conference,” a denomination-wide conference on Hispanic ministry at Kanuga Conference in late August every other year. The seminary provides financial support for students enrolled in the concentration to attend the conference.
Nuevos Horizontes Conference
In the year that the Nuevo Amanecer Conference does not occur, Seminary of the Southwest sponsors a denomination-wide conference on Hispanic ministry on the campus of the seminary in August. The conference is bilingual and free of charge for students.
Students are made aware of various other conferences, workshops, and seminars that occur throughout the year. When possible, students receive financial support to attend these events.
For more information on Hispanic Church Studies at Southwest, please contact the Admissions office at 512.472.4133 or.