In Winston-Salem, N.C., the Moravian Church has a growing ministry to the Hispanic community there with a name who’s translation fits very well with our church’s unofficial motto: “We Are United.”
Estamos Unidos Moravian Ministry started with a provincial vision to reach out to the immigrant community in Forsyth County area by the Moravian Church Southern Province in early 2017 after a thoughtful and prayerful process. In September of that year, the now Rev. Angelica Regalado Cieza was ordained to create and developed this ministry. Here, she shares the story of this new venture.
It took about a year of discernment and working alongside the Hispanic immigrant community in Southside Winston-Salem before Estamos Unidos came to be. After a careful and thoughtful assessment, we decided to partner with Sunnyside Ministry to use its facilities to start this ministry. The first year started with community meetings at Sunnyside Ministry and Trinity Moravian Church, both of whom have a presence in the area where we hoped to work.
By collaborating with other local organizations that share our focus on the Hispanic community outreach and improvement, we have provided, and will continue to provide, a wide variety of educational opportunities in English and Spanish. We soon realized that education is a very important key to any immigrant in succeeding in this country; therefore, we tried to follow our Moravian forefathers and foremothers in meeting people where they are, focusing on meaningful relationships and community, and, most importantly, listening in Christian love to how can we work together in helping them achieve their American dream.
In September 2018, we started a weekly Wednesday night program providing one adult Spanish Bible study class, one adult ESL Basic class, one adult ESL intermediate class, one adult Spanish for indigenous Hispanics (who speak a dialect) and/or for illiterate Hispanics, one keyboard class for children (age 9+), one guitar class for children (9+), one ukulele class for children (9+), and activities and games for the smaller kids.
We reached out to the immediate community through Sunnyside Ministry and are expanding to more neighborhood people. The Wednesday program started with a few families, but it is rapidly growing, and with that, our volunteer engagement has also increased. We have had volunteers from Friedland, Olivet, and Come & Worship for our weekly program. During our Vacation Bible School, volunteers from Konnoak Hills, Home, Fairview, Kernersville, and a few other churches provided and served food and donated materials. We have additional community partners, including the Hispanic League, Cancer Services, Second Harvest Food Bank, North Carolina State University, Crosby Scholars, and Forsyth Tech Community College, with whom we partner on education and advocacy initiatives. Other Moravians have also partnered with us, specifically Anthony’s Plot (summer literacy program, Block Party, Las Posadas, others), Trinity Moravian Church (facilities, ID drive), and of course, Sunnyside Ministry (facilities, financial literacy training, and other programs).
Currently, we have grown so that Sunnyside Ministry’s facility is becoming too small for our group. On an average Wednesday, there are around 40 kids (children + teens) and about 20 adults. We always start with a devotional where we share the Word of God, sing songs, and share announcements. In everything we do, we strive to present God’s love to our neighbors by living our Moravian essentials of Faith, Love and Hope.
We are excited with what God is doing in this ministry. We are starting a teen group every Saturday afternoon; we already have 10 teens interested in this. Also, we are providing a 16-week financial literacy class to 10 women on Fridays, hosting a college workshop and participating on the CROP walk for the first time.
We are a fairly new ministry, but the enthusiasm and opening from our Hispanic community to this ministry is a blessing to many of us who are helping develop Estamos Unidos. I feel truly blessed and grateful to God for allowing me to serve in this community. Even though it has never been easy, God is our guide and provider.
Jesus told us to “go out into the world and preach His word to everyone” (Mark 16:15) with love (John 13:35) and fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42), this is what we are doing at Estamos Unidos.
Please pray for this ministry, for the people we serve, for the people that volunteer their time to help out, for the leaders, for the donors, for the people we partner with, and for our children. May God continue blessing this mission/ministry, may God give us wisdom to seek Him first in everything we do, and may the Holy Spirit work in the lives of each person in this community—in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!
If you are interested in knowing more about his ministry feel free to contact the Rev. Angelica Regalado Cieza at [email protected] or Like us on Facebook: Estamos Unidos Moravian Ministry to see more pictures or visit our provincial website: https://www.moravian.org/southern/2019/09/estamos-unidos-moravian-ministry/ If you feel in your heart to help this ministry financially, the Moravian Ministries Foundation has an online giving portal for Estamos Unidos https://mmfa.info/estamos-unidos-donation-form/
Estamos Unidos Moravian Ministry is here to reach out to our Hispanic brothers and sisters in the Winston-Salem community to share God’s faith, love and hope through the provision of educational opportunities that allow positive change for their future.
Our goal is to present our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to our Hispanic brothers and sisters in the community through service and education. In doing so, we strive to build a supportive community that reaches beyond the barriers of language and culture, allowing us to discover God at work in the world around us.