Read Hispanic Theological Initiative/Consortium's quarterly newsletter to celebrate our community's many achievements, and discover Latina/o resources to better serve the academy, the Church, and the world!

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June 2015

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In this edition of Journeys:

I have written many letters for Journeys in the past thirteen years, and I have never before experienced so many Logros  (accomplishments) in a quarter, and/or in a year!  It has been unprecedented and remarkable!  Like spring blossoms, so has HTI/HTIC!  Thirty-seven students have been enrolled for the 2015-2016 academic year, the highest in the history of HTI/HTIC, and the participation from our member schools is also at its highest with 23 member schools enrolling students.  HTIC’s graduation rate is also at an all time high with four graduates this quarter.   And we are delighted to announce recently tenured, and promoted scholars. These Logros are testimonies that demonstrate how the en conjunto model is infusing theological and religious education all over the nation.  Working persistently with different partners, and investing knowledge, time, energy, and financial resources in our programs has resulted in a strong group of trained leaders who love the church and the academy and want to serve en conjunto”!  I invite you to read on to familiarize yourself with all the ways in which the HTIC is enhancing theological and religious education through the commitment of our member schools and the brilliance of the HTI/HTIC scholars! 


Harvard Divinity School (HDS) is proud to be a member of the Hispanic Theological Initiative Consortium (HTIC) and joins with the organization in celebrating Roberto Mata (2014-2015 Dissertation Scholar), who graduated in May as HDS's first HTIC scholar.
While the school's membership may be young, it is already having tremendous impact.  Mata received a master of divinity degree from HDS in 2006, and this year will receive a doctor of theology, concentrating in New Testament and early Christianity. In 2014, he received a Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) Fellowship for Latino/a, Asian, and First Nations Doctoral Students and he was recently offered a position as assistant professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University in California. Mata credited the networking and mentoring he received through HTIC, and other organizations such as FTE, as being instrumental in helping him land the job.
When he started at HDS as a master's student more than 10 years ago, Mata was one of only a handful of Latino/a students, he said. Mata was proactive and helped create a resource for the Latino/a community at HDS by cofounding the student group Nuestra Voz. Part of the group's mission at the time was to help incoming Latino/a students transition effectively into the academic life at Harvard, and to work with other students groups, faculty, and staff to advocate for a more ethnically diverse school.
"Today, HDS is a place that students from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds can call a home, a place where diversity is valued and its plurality of voices embraced. Today, it is no longer unusual to encounter students from underrepresented communities contributing to classroom discussions," said Mata. "I am encouraged to see the School taking concrete steps to recruit more students who are racial and ethnic minorities, but to also provide the resources and support they need to succeed at HDS."
As examples, Mata pointed to two key efforts: the School's collaboration with HTIC, and its unique “Diversity and Explorations” Program. DivEx is a three-day, all expenses paid educational opportunity for college undergraduates who have a commitment to diversity and social justice and who are considering careers in ministry or other fields in which the study of religion, theology, and ethics would be an asset. The program, and the School's membership in and support for HTIC, are just some of the important steps it has taken to demonstrate how serious HDS is about increasing the number of students from underrepresented backgrounds.
"As statistics will show, minorities are underrepresented in academic fields, and the fields of religious studies and theological studies are not the exception. In my view, both HDS and HTIC share common goals," said Mata. "I leave HDS confident that the relationship will continue to flourish and other students coming after me will continue to benefit from it."
HTIC has already identified its second fellow at HDS, Adrian Emmanuel Hernández-Acosta (2015-2016 HTIC Doctoral Scholar). Hernández-Acosta, who will receive a master of divinity degree in May, will this fall begin studying as a doctoral student at Harvard.  He said he chose to stay at HDS because of the relationships he formed with the faculty and because of the opportunities he received through the master of divinity program, such as being able to gain experience in hospital chaplaincy and providing academic services for those on probation or parole.
Hernández-Acosta was also able to cross-register in courses within other Harvard University departments. It was the courses he took in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and Department of Anthropology, that helped him develop his doctoral project, which will focus on the ways in which literature (specifically Caribbean literature) and theology can interface and learn from each other.
"Sometimes I think of the work as a practice of translation and ask, what are the tools available in academic spaces that can translate into Latino ministry, and, vice versa, what are the practices that have been developed in Latino ministry that academic spaces can think more about," he said.
In addition to its students, HDS also has ties to HTIC within its faculty. Mayra Rivera Rivera, associate professor of Theology and Latina/o Studies was an HTI fellow from 1998 thru 2005 during her master degree and doctoral work.  "When I became part of HTI, I had just moved to the United States, which meant I had a lot to learn about being seen as 'Latina,' (I had until then been 'Puerto Rican') and how that would impact my scholarship," she said. "HTI helped me find the resources I needed both through formal presentations of scholarship and through informal discussions."
HDS and its faculty create new knowledge about the world's major religions and train practitioners and others who use that knowledge to advance religious literacy, spiritual growth, and understanding between different societies and cultures. Rivera Rivera, who joined the HDS faculty in 2010, is the author of several books. Her latest, Poetics of the Flesh, which explores the connections between theological, philosophical, and political metaphors of body and flesh, will be published in this fall.
The most valuable element of the Initiative for her was the connections with her colleagues – both students and faculty – working at the intersection of Latino/a studies and religion. She said the relationships formed then are still an important part of her life as a scholar.
"As someone who benefited from the program, I deeply value what HTI continues to do through HTIC and hope more students can benefit from it," she said. "I am glad HDS sees it as part of its mission to diversity to help strengthen a program that has a proven record of helping Latina/o students succeed."

We have experienced an unprecedented spring regarding HTI/HTIC Logros, so let us not delay any longer in sharing all of the great news!  This spring four HTIC Dissertation Year Scholars defended their dissertations, and three of them defended in the same week!  It gives us great joy to share these newly minted PhDs and the institutions they will be serving in the near future.  
On March 19th, 2015, José E. Balcells (2014-2015 HTIC Dissertation Year Scholar) defended his dissertation, titled “Household and Family Religion in Persian-Period Judah: An Archaeological Approach” at Graduate Theological Union.  Dr. Balcells returned to Puerto Rico and is currently adjunct teaching at the Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, and the Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico.   

On April 20th, Robyn Henderson-Espinosa (2014-2015 HTIC Dissertation Year Scholar) passed the dissertation defense, called “Anzaldúan Materiality as the Entanglement of Bodily Knowing: Matter, Meaning, and Interrelatedness”!  Robyn completed doctoral studies at the University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology, and is the director of Communications at More Light Presbyterians. 

Xochitl Alvizo (2014-2015 HTIC Dissertation Year Scholar) defended her dissertation "A Feminist Analysis of the Emerging Church: Toward Radical Participation in the Organic, Relational, and Inclusive Body of Christ" on April 22nd, 2015 at Boston University School of Theology. She has also accepted a position as assistant professor of Religious Studies in the area of Women and Religion and the Philosophy of Gender (LGBT), Sex, and Sexuality at California State University, Northridge.

On April 22nd, Roberto Mata (2014-2015 HTIC Dissertation Year Scholar) also defended his dissertation! Roberto completed his doctoral studies at Harvard Divinity School, and in the fall will begin as assistant professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University.

Also in the spring four HTIC scholars defended their dissertation proposals, and are a step closer to completing their doctorates!

Rubén Arjona-Mejía (2015-2016 HTIC Dissertation Scholar), Princeton Theological Seminary
Ángel Gallardo (2015-2016 HTIC Dissertation Scholar), Southern Methodist University
Lauren Guerra (2013-2014 HTIC Comprehensive Exams Scholar), Graduate Theological Union
Néstor A. Gómez Morales (2014-2015 HTIC Comprehensive Exams Scholar), University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology
HTIC is also delighted to announce and celebrate new appointments and promotions of HTI/HTIC graduates and mentors:
Dr. Edwin David Aponte (1997–1998 HTI Dissertation Fellow), chief executive administrator of Palmer Theological Seminary and professor of religion and culture at Eastern University (St. Davids, PA), has been named executive director of the Louisville Institute at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Aponte will begin work at the Louisville Institute on July 1, 2015.

Dr. Paul Bartón (1998-1999 HTI Post-doctoral Fellow, HTIC Mentor) was recently appointed as director of the Mexican American and Hispanic–Latino/a Church Ministries Program at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.  He will also serve as the director of the Regional Course of Study School, under the auspices of The United Methodist Church. Both appointments will be effective July 1. As an aspect of being director of the two programs, he will also have the title of Professor of Christian History and Missiology.The program, founded in 1974, prepares church leaders for effective ministry in Spanish-speaking contexts and cultures. In addition, the program recruits, prepares, and provides continuing education for people in ministry with Hispanics-Latinos/as.
Congratulations to Dr. Victor Carmona (2010-2011 HTI Dissertation Year Fellow) who was promoted from instructor to assistant professor of Moral Theology at Oblate School of Theology!

Dr. Alex Gonzales (1998–1999 HTI Dissertation Fellow) will join the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary at Houston as assistant professor of Bible Exposition.  ¡Felicidades!

Dr. Jose R. Irizarry (1998–1999 HTI Dissertation Fellow, HTI Mentor, HTIC Selection Committee Member) has accepted the offer to be the appointed professor of Religious and Theological Education at Villanova University.

Dr. M. Daniel Carroll Rodas (HTIC Mentor) has been invited to serve as the Blanchard Chair in Old Testament at Wheaton Graduate School. He will also be serving as a doctoral mentor to students in the Bible and Theology Departments.

Dr. Santiago Slabodsky, has just been hired as the Florence and Robert Kaufman Chair in Jewish Studies at Hofstra University-New York. 

It also gives us great pleasure to share five newly tenured HTI scholars. Join us in congratulating them!
Dr. María Teresa (MT) Dávila (2004-2005 HTI Dissertation Fellow, HTI Mentor) recently received tenure and promotion to associate professor of Christian Ethics at Andover Newton Theological School.

Dr. Leticia Guardiola-Saenz (1998-1999 HTI Dissertation Fellow) was promoted to associate professor and granted tenure at Seattle University’s School Theology.

Dr. Felipe Hinojosa (2008 - 2009 HTI Dissertation Scholar), was promoted to associate professor of History at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Adriana Pilar Nieto (2008-2009 HTI Dissertation Fellow), was promoted to associate professor of Chicano/a Studies at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

Dr. Rady Roldán-Figueroa (2006–2007 HTI Dissertation Fellow) was promoted to associate professor of the History of Christianity at Boston University School of Theology.

Did you know that in addition to being a PhD student at Emory University, Tony Alonso (2014-2015 HTI Comprehensive Exams Year Scholar) is an accomplished composer and singer of English, Spanish, and bilingual contemporary liturgical music?  Tony’s music is recognized globally as it has been featured in compilations and hymnals across Christian denominations. Tony just released his newest CD titled “A House of Prayer," a collection of music suitable for use throughout the liturgical year, available at  Tony has also authored several books on liturgy for youth and youth ministers. To learn more about his amazing work we invite you to visit


"Las Hermanas: The Struggle is One" - An Interdisciplinary Symposium at the University of the Incarnate Word. San Antonio, March 19-21.

Sponsored by the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, University of the Incarnate Word Office of Mission & Ministry, and The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, this interdisciplinary symposium honored the history, development, and legacy of Las Hermanas, a grassroots Latina movement formed 40 years ago to challenge and change the church and its role in society. The conference included outstanding keynote speakers, and HTI/HTIC is elated to announce that there was an unprecedented ten HTI/HTIC graduates, and current scholars presenting en conjunto at this historic event!
Dr. Theresa Torres (2001-2002 HTI Dissertation Fellow and HTI Mentor), associate professor of Religious Studies, Sociology, and Latino Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Featured Address:
“The Paradox of Latina Leaders in the Catholic Church”
Rev. Dr. Cristian De La Rosa (2011-2012 HTI Dissertation Fellow), director of Contextual Education and Community Partnership and assistant professor of Contextual Theology and Practice at Boston University
“Embodied Processes of Transformation: Struggles and Gifts of Latina as Pastors and Scholars”

Rev. João Chaves (2015-2016 HTIC Comprehensive Exams Scholar), PhD student at Baylor University
“A Case for an Unlikely Mestizaje: Social Activism and the Possibility of an Evangelical-Liberationist Disposition”
Lauren Frances Guerra (2015-2016 HTIC Dissertation Scholar), PhD student at Graduate Theological Union
“Black Madonnas: Mary as Mediatrix and the Role of Inculturation”

Dr. Jacqueline Hidalgo (2007-2008 HTI Dissertation Fellow), assistant professor of Latino/a Studies and Religion at Williams College
“Scriptures, the Utopian, and The Spiritual Plan of Aztlan in the Chican@ Student Movement”
Dr. Theresa Yugar (2011-2012 HTI Dissertation Fellow), adjunct faculty at California Lutheran University
“U.S. Latina Feminist Paradigm: Model of Inclusive Twenty-First Century Ecclesiology”

Dr. Victor Carmona (2010-2011 HTI Dissertation Fellow), assistant professor of Moral Theology at Oblate School of Theology
“Detenida: Mujerista Insights on Moral Agency and Justice in the Ongoing Struggle for Immigration Reform”
Dr. Timothy Matovina (HTI Mentor), professor of Theology and the executive director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the  University of Notre Dame
Featured Address: “Las Hermanas and the Historiography of Latino/a Catholics”
Dr. Lara Medina (1999-2000 HTI Post-doctoral Fellow and HTI Mentor), professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Northridge
Keynote Address: “Las Hermanas: A Legacy of Commitment, Courage, and Spiritual Activism”
Horácio Vela III (2011–2012 Dissertation Fellow), PhD candidate at University of Notre Dame, and assistant professor of Religious Studies at University of the Incarnate Word, was one of the main organizers. 

According to Lauren Frances Guerra, one of the highlights of the event for her was meeting founding member of Las Hermanas, Sr. Yolanda Tarango. She has served as a tireless advocate for the Latino/a community. Lauren shared with the support of HTI/HTIC she has been able to participate in many venues and build amazing relationships that have helped her shape her scholarship. 
HTI/HTIC is proud to see so many of its scholars coming together to break theological ground and pave a path forward for the church.

Symposium: "How Love Transforms" - Teresa of Avila 500th Anniversary
 “How Love Transforms - Teresa of Avila 500th Anniversary Symposium,” hosted by the Spirituality and Pastoral Care Department of the Catholic Theological Union, on March 20 2015, drew a crowd of almost two hundred participants eager to learn more about Teresa de Avila, the first woman to be named a Doctor of the Catholic Church. Mary Frohlich, RSCJ organized this one-day event, which brought together six scholars to discuss five centuries of impact of Santa Teresa de Jesus’ life and writings. Anthony Suárez-Abraham (2005-2006 HTI Doctoral Fellow), theology instructor at Dominican University and doctoral candidate in Systematic Theology at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, in his response to Frohlich, firmly situated Teresita within Latino/a historical and theological traditions. He claimed, “With the insights of Latina theologians such Dr. [Maria Pilar] Aquino, [professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego]; Dr. [Carmen] Nanko-Fernandez [(HTI Mentor and Selection Committee member), director of the Hispanic Theology and Ministry Program and professor of Hispanic Theology and Ministry at the Catholic Theological Union]; Dr. Neomi DeAnda [(2009-2010 HTI Dissertation Fellow) assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton, Ohio], and others, we can further think about the mystical writing of Teresa to illustrate how at a fundamental level she used the individual and social dimensions of her life story as an epistemological and hermeneutical locus theologicus.” Neomi De Anda, also discussed twenty-first century implications for Teresitas’ writings in her response to Bernard McGinn. In a Twitter-like-manner, De Anda depicted four hashtags as major points for her response: #Freedom; #WomenCodingReligion; #DiversityOfReligions; #TheSelf. This day marked great celebration for the community gathered to honor and remember Santa Teresa de Avila five hundred years after her birth.

Women in the World Conference- 30 Years and Going Strong: Celebrating Women and the Word

On March 25th 2015, the Anna Howard Shaw center at Boston University School of Theology hosted the 30th Women in the World Conference. Dr. Cristián De La Rosa (HTI 2011–2012 Dissertation Fellow), clinical assistant professor of Contextual Theology and Practice and director of Contextual Education and Community Partnerships, and Dr. Xochitl Alvizo (2014-2015 HTIC Dissertation Year Scholar) assistant professor of Religious Studies at California State University, Northridge were invited to speak.
After the conference, Dr. Alvizo shared: This year’s event marked the thirtieth anniversary of the yearly conference and I was invited to participate as one of the respondents. Responding to Diana M. Swancutt, who reflected on the women’s liberation movement and its contributions to the future of LGBTQ communities and scholarship, I spoke about the continued importance of countering the embedded prejudices that are still at play in our church liturgies, art, prayers and God-talk.

The uniqueness of feminist theology, which was inspired by the women’s liberation movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, was not its critical principle per se – the affirmation of the full humanity of women – but the fact that women claimed this principle for themselves. During my response, I invited us to reflect on whether we, as a church, are expanding that critical principle so as to also affirm LGBTQI persons within and beyond the church. What are the ways in which we either affirm or deny the full humanity of all the persons who make up the body of Christ? Are the practices, language, and symbol systems that make up our collective life together reflective of this critical principle? In what ways do we succeed and fail, both in regard to women and LGBTQI persons, to affirm the plurality of persons that make up the body of Christ - persons of all abilities, nationalities, immigration status, race, class, and gifts? I concluded my response with a challenge to think creatively about the ways in which we form ourselves as church, as the diverse body that we are, so that we may intentionally counteract the harm and violence done to certain persons of our society. The church can be where we raise attention to the continued need to actively counteract the cultural prejudices embedded in our society and where we model a new and more just way of being a body together.

The Shaw Center has a long history of being a place of hospitality and fellowship for all people, as well as a place of research, support, and advocacy for women and other marginalized persons. It was an honor and pleasure to get to participate in its thirty year celebration and to contribute in a small way to its ongoing work.”

The Preferential Option for Culture in Latino/a Theology

On March 26th, at Loyola University Chicago, eight HTI/HTIC fellows, scholars, and mentors participated in an unprecedented colloquium on the topic: The Preferential Option for Culture in Latino/a Theology, event in which His Eminence Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, also participated.   The conference, organized by Dr. Miguel H. Díaz (1998-1999 HTI Dissertation Fellow, 2002 Book Prize winner, HTI Mentor), John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago, and former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, allowed speakers to engage the history of Latin@ Catholics and to discuss the future of Latin@ theology.  
The HTI/HTIC community members were:
  • Dr. Maria Teresa Dávila (2004-2005 HTI Dissertation Fellow, HTI Mentor), associate professor of Christian Ethics and advisor to the Master of Arts Programs at Andover Newton Theological School
  • Dr. Neomi De Anda (2009-2010 HTI Dissertation Fellow), assistant professor of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton
  • Dr. Miguel H. Díaz (1998-1999 HTI Dissertation Fellow, 2002 Book Prize winner, HTI Mentor), John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago, and former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
  • Dr. Orlando O. Espín (HTI Mentor, Selection Committee member, and Book Prize reader), professor of Systematic Theology at the University of San Diego
  • Dr. Roberto S. Goizueta (HTI Mentor), Margaret O'Brien Flatley professor of Catholic Theology at Boston College
  • Dr. Néstor Medina (2006-2007 HTI Dissertation Fellow), assistant professor of Theology and Culture at Regent University
  • Dr. Carmen Nanko-Fernández (HTI Mentor, Selection Committee member), associate professor of Hispanic Theology and Ministry at the Catholic Theological Union
  • Dr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz (HTI Mentor, Steering Committee member), associate professor and Senior Research Fellow, Theology and Religious Studies at St. John’s University in New York 
Dr. Dávila shared, "While glad to discuss ‘a preferential option for culture’ with my colleagues and friends doing Latin@ Theology, I was reticent about how much of it would be received and 'digested' by the guest of honor - and our main audience! - Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Frankly, as has often happened in mainstream academia, I was afraid that the material presented would be regarded as quaint, particular to the experience of Latinos and Latinas, but of little concern to the rest of the church family. I was truly impressed by the many ways Cardinal Ravasi not only closely followed the presentations and engaged us in conversation, but how quickly, faithfully, and seriously he related the material he had heard to the tasks of the Vatican, his own Council, and Pope Francis' own theological aims. It made the gathering a mutual interaction, where I felt challenged by Ravasi's articulation of what he had heard throughout."
We are grateful for the impact members of the HTIC community were able to make at this important event!

Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty

Dr. Victor Carmona (2010-2011 HTI Dissertation Fellow), assistant professor of Moral Theology at Oblate School of Theology and Rev. Gabriel Salguero (2003–2004 HTI Comprehensive Exams Year Fellow), director of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NALEC) and pastor of The Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in New York City, were recently invited to participate at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University.  This event took place in May 11-13, and was organized by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University and the National Association of Evangelicals to address key questions related to the moral, human and economic costs of poverty in the United States. Co-sponsors included the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, World Vision, the PICO Network, and Oxfam America. President Obama was also in attendance and addressed these issues in a speech.
To read more, visit:

Current Scholars En Acción 
One of the benefits of the large HTIC network is that we are able to celebrate all of the ways that our scholars are making an impact in their respective communities. We’ve asked Ángel Gallardo (2015-2016 Dissertation Scholar) to share a little bit about his new endeavors with the United Methodist Church (UMC):

“Spring marked a historic occasion: the 3rd National Consultation for Hispanic/Latino Ministries. Summoned by the National Plan for Hispanic and Latino Ministry and the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, this event was hosted at Duke Divinity School from March 12-14, 2015.  The Consultation brought together pastors, bishops, scholars, seminarians, and lay leaders from around the country to discuss the promises and challenges facing UMC Latin@ ministry and ultimately cast a vision for its future.
In addition to being a participant, I had the privilege of serving as a scribe for the focus group on Ministerio en Español. By drawing on ministry experience in Spanish-speaking congregations and the personal knowledge of bi-cultural existence in the United State, I was able to contribute to the discussion. The Consultation's overall objective was to produce a Recommendations Summary, a document outlining the main priorities.   Subsequently, the first draft would be revised into the final version, which would be submitted to the UMC administration for consideration.
I also met several inspiring and committed UMC leaders.  They described the initiatives seeking to improve mentorship opportunities for seminarians, as well as the efforts to expand access to higher theological education for Latino/a youth.  The organizers encouraged all the participants to "take action" by applying one or two of the lessons learned from our time together. As such, I will be serving as the bi-lingual Academic Resource staff person for the Summer Course of Study at Perkins School of Theology.  In the end, the 3rd National Consultation confirmed that, regardless of how bleak our situations may appear, 'El Espíritu is upon us.'”
In addition to his work with the UMC, Ángel will also be serving as the Book Review Editor for Apuntes, and as the Academic Resource for both sessions of the Spanish Summer Course of Study at Perkins School of Theology this summer.  In his words, “Working with Latin@ students in this capacity will help ground [his] reflections and serve as further inspiration to press on in [his] scholarship.” Congratulations, Ángel!

João Chaves (2014-2015 Comprehensive Exams Scholar), PhD student at Baylor University, has certainly been busy lately! Below, he explains how #HTIimpact has helped him branch out professionally in 2015.
“This year, thanks to the financial support provided by HTIC, I presented papers in five academic conferences. These conferences helped me get to know scholars whose works are important for my specific research agenda and other PhD students who share similar interests. Also, I was able to get crucial feedback on my work by scholars whose research focus overlap with my own. In two of the conferences that I attended this year— the Society for Pentecostal Studies Annual Meeting and the Las Hermanas Conference—I was able to connect with a number of former HTI/HTIC fellows and scholars, and current HTIC mentors. Through these connections, I have maintained on-going conversations with scholars and fellow students that are proving crucial to my professional development and scholarship. The other two conferences in which I presented papers—the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies (SWCRS) and GCSR (UT Austin)—also proved fruitful for feedback and connections. This year I will be attending at least two more conferences. I will present a paper at the annual meeting of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion and I will be attending the American Academy of Religion national meeting. In these meetings I plan to make more connections and to keep sharpening my scholarship through the conversations in which I will engage.”
Here is a detailed list of conferences in which João had the opportunity to present:
  • “The Influence of Pentecostal Leaders in Brazilian Legislation: Pentecostalism and the Shaping of Brazilian Political Imagination.” Society for Pentecostal Studies. Lakeland, FL—March 12, 2015. 
  • “Exporting the Neo-Pentecostal Experience: The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God in Africa and America.” Southwest Commission on Rel. Studies. Dallas, TX—March 14, 2015.
  • “A Case for An Unlikely Mestizaje: Social Activism and the Possibility of an Evangelical-Liberationist Disposition.” Las Hermanas Conference at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX—March 20th 2015
  •  “Satan the Polemicist: The Performative Use of ‘Evil” Afro-Brazilian Entities in the Demonization of Competitors in the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.”  Graduate Committee for the Study of Religion, UT Austin, Austin, TX—April 11, 2015.  
  •  “Latina/o Education Prospectively and Retrospectively: Memory and Purpose in Identifying Place.” Latino Graduate Education Panel of the Baptist University of the Américas in San Antonio, TX—April 21, 2015.
  • This month, he will be presenting "Religion in the Latina/o Community: History, Identity, and Conscientization Through Religious Education” at the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion (NABPR).
Finally, he recently contributed a new chapter, entitled “Latin American Liberation Theology: The Creation, Development, and Contemporary Situation of an On-Going Movement,” in The Brill Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity. Leiden: Brill, 2015, 113-128.
Well done, João!


The Asian/Asian-American Center for Ministries and the Hispanic/Latino(a) Latin American Center at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary sponsored a guest lecture titled: “Decolonial Judaism: Why Christians Should Care”, presented by Dr. Santiago Slabodsky, assistant professor of ethics and globalization at Claremont School of Theology, who has served as visiting professor at universities in Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Spain, Colombia, Macedonia, and Argentina. 


Antonio Cuesta Mendoza: Un Capítulo Doloroso
Antonio Cuesta Mendoza: A Painful Chapter.

Edited by Dr. Jesús Rodríguez Sánchez (2002–2003 HTI Dissertation Fellow), professor of Pastoral Theology, Personality, and Culture at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico
Publisher: Publicaciones Gaviota (2015)
Telephone: (787) 281-7166.
Language: Spanish

This book presents and analyzes Fr. Antonio Cuesta Mendoza’s memoir explaining what happened in Puerto Rico during the year of 1930, when the Spanish Mission of the Province of Castile in Puerto Rico was transferred to the American Capuchin Fathers of the Province of Pittsburgh. Many consider this transfer as the outmost evidence of the American bishop’s hidden agenda to Americanize the Puerto Rican Catholic Church and the clergy. Nonetheless, Cuesta Mendoza provides ample evidence contradicting this point of view.

Receiver, Bearer, and Giver of God's Spirit 
by Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M. (2002–2003 HTI Dissertation Fellow, HTI mentor), Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies; Werner R.H. Krause and Elizabeth Ringger Krause Endowed Chair for Hispanic Ministries; associate professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary
Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: Pickwick Publications (March 27, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1625642822
ISBN-13: 978-1625642820
What difference does the Spirit make in the life of Jesus and in our lives? Answering that question without doing away with the divine dignity of Christ has been a challenge in the distant and recent past. But this need not be the case. The current work is a contribution to the growing field of Spirit Christology, which seeks to enrich the classic Logos Christology of the ecumenical Councils with a Spirit-oriented trajectory. Sánchez tests the productivity of a Spirit Christology as a theological lens for assessing the main events of Jesus' life and mission, accounts of the atonement, the significance of the incarnation, the concepts of person and relation, and models of the Trinity. Seeing Christ as the privileged locus of the Spirit also has implications for the church's life in the Spirit. Sánchez shows how a Spirit Christology fosters Christian practices such as proclamation, prayer, and sanctification. Among the highlights of this work the reader will note the author's assessment of early church fathers' readings of the place of the Spirit in the anointing of Jesus, a constructive proposal towards the complementarity of Logos and Spirit Christologies, ecumenical engagement with various theological traditions in the East and the West, and the first constructive assessment of the field informed by the Lutheran tradition.
The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Latino/a Theology (Wiley Blackwell Companions to Religion)
Edited by Dr. Orlando Espin (HTI Mentor, Selection Committee Member) professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego
Series: Wiley Blackwell Companions to Religion (Book 1)
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 7, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1118718666
ISBN-13: 978-1118718667
The first single volume reference work offering a comprehensive and ecumenical account, of the significant and fast-growing area of Latino theology, by a group of outstanding contributors.
  • The first one volume reference work to provide a comprehensive and systematic survey of the past, present and future of Latino/a theology
  • The contributors represent the most influential voices in the field and comprise an ecumenical and broadly diverse community of scholars, including a large number of women
  • The essays provide unparalleled breadth and depth in the discussion of the key issues
  • Each chapter offers a review of existing literature and then proceeds to the author’s constructive contribution on her/his topic
  • The editor is a leading Latino theologian currently working and writing in the field
Diáspora, Fe Cristiana y Restauración Según Santiago (Spanish Edition)
Diaspora, Christian Faith, and Restoration According to James

by Dr. Aquiles E. Martinez, professor of Religion, coordinator, Religion Studies Program at Reinhardt University
Paperback: 236 page
 Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (February 22, 2015)
Language: Spanish
ISBN-10: 1507829272
ISBN-13: 978-1507829271
In this book, the author utilizes the concept of “dispersion,” taken from the word “diaspora” in James 1:1, as an exegetical and hermeneutical key to interpret the entire letter in its historical, social, and literary context, but also from the realities of human displacement and the fragmentation that many migrants experience today. The recipients of the letter, who were forced to move because of the persecution that erupted immediately after the martyrdom of Stephen, living outside Palestine in a context of " sprawl " and "fragmentation" at various levels, whose faith the writer tries restore and strengthen through a series of practical tips and prophetic wisdom.
All the profits from this book will support the ministry of the My Family Center: Serving Migrant Communities, Inc.

Decolonial Judaism: Triumphal Failures of Barbaric Thinking (New Approaches to Religion and Power)
by Dr. Santiago Slabodsky, assistant professor of ethics and globalization at Claremont School of Theology
Series: New Approaches to Religion and Power
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (July 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1137365315
ISBN-13: 978-1137365316
Decolonial Judaism: Triumphal Failures of Barbaric Thinking explores the relationship among geopolitics, religion and social theory. It argues that during the postcolonial and post-Holocaust era, Jewish thinkers in different parts of the world were influenced by Global South thought and mobilized this rich set of intellectual resources to confront the assimilation of normative Judaism by various incipient neo-colonial powers. By tracing the historical and conceptual lineage of this overlooked conversation, this book explores not only its epistemological opportunities, but also the internal contradictions that led to their ultimate unraveling, especially in the post-9/11 world.  Forthcoming in paperback in June 2015.

Jesus, Disciple of the Kingdom: Mark's Christology for a Community in Crisis 
By Dr. Osvaldo D. Vena, professor of New Testament Interpretation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Pickwick Publications (January 8, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1610979400
ISBN-13: 978-1610979405
That Jesus started his career as a disciple of John the Baptist is an idea that has gained almost universal recognition in the scholarly world. His coming from Galilee to be baptized by John in the river Jordan is the most compelling proof of Jesus' subordination to John. But quickly after John was executed Jesus started his own career, not as a disciple anymore, but as a teacher in his own right. In this book Osvaldo Vena makes the claim that throughout his ministry Jesus remained a disciple, not of John, but of a higher power, God, and God's kingdom. Thus, Jesus called men and women to join him as co-disciples as he went about proclaiming the nearness of the kingdom through word and action. In this work Vena contends that in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is presented as a prototype of true and faithful discipleship, a model to be followed and imitated by ancient as well as contemporary believers. This presentation amounts to an emerging Christology espoused by the early Markan community on the verge of destruction from outside forces, specifically the Jewish-Roman war, as well as internal divisions resulting from struggles for power in the community.


ACHTUS Colloquium

The next colloquium of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the United States (ACHTUS), will take place from June 7 until June 10, 2015, at the Ambassador Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The event is titled “… and All Flesh Shall See the Salvation of God.” (Luke 3:6). 

The Hispanic Summer Program
The 2015 Hispanic Summer Program (HSP), which brings together bright students and prestigious Latin@ professors from around the country, will take place on June 13 – June 27th, 2015 at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. 

This year, four HTI fellows will be teaching at HSP:
Jesus the Migrant: A Decolonial Reading of the Gospels
Dr. Leticia Guardiola-Sáenz (1998-1999 HTI Dissertation Fellow), assistant professor of Christian Scriptures at Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry

Christian Social Ethics and Contemporary Movements for Justice 
Dr. Teresa Delgado (2001-2002 HTI Dissertation Fellow, HTI Mentor, HTI Selection Committee member, HTIC Steering Committee member), Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics and Director of Peace and Justice Studies Program at Iona College

Race and Pentecostalism in the Borderlands
Dr. Rudy V. Busto (1999-2000 HTI Post-doctoral Fellow), associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara 

Pentecost, Theology and Pedagogy: Creative Explorations in Pneumatology
(Pentecostés, Teología y Pedagogía: Explorando Pneumatología Creativamente)
Dr. Loida Martell-Otero (1999-2000 HTI Dissertation Fellow and HTI Mentor), professor of Constructive Theology at Palmer Seminary. 
This year’s event will count with the participation of Dr. Cornel West of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, who will talk about Black/Brown issues and their importance to the public square with responses by Dr. Teresa Delgado and Dr. Samuel Pagán (HTI mentor).  The talk will take place on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  For more information and to register, visit

Hispanic Theological Initiative First Independent Scholars Lecture
July 1st, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton NJ
As part of this year’s HTIC Summer Workshop, HTIC will be hosting its First Independent Scholars Lecture — a lecture series highlighting publications by independent scholars.  This year’s speakers are:
Dr. Joel M. Cruz, author of The Histories of the Latin American Church: A Handbook.  Fortress Press 2014

Dr. Hjamil AMartinez-Vazquez (2002-2003 HTI Dissertation Fellow), author of Made in the Margins: Latina/o Constructions of US Religious History (New Perspectives on Latina/o Religion). Baylor University Press 2013

Dr. Theresa Yugar (2011-2012 HTI Dissertation Fellow), author of  Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Feminist Reconstruction of Biography. Wipf & Stock 2014 

The lecture will be held in the Daniel J. Theron Assembly Room, Princeton Seminary Library.  This event is free and open to the public.  To access a map of Princeton Seminary visit

Not only is it important for people to be able to articulate their faith, but just as important is how to live it out.  Education on all fronts is vitally important, and so as the Latin@ community continues to grow in the United States, government agencies like the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) are responding pro-actively by introducing online information about its many services.  Infόrmate, meaning Inform Yourself, is a monthly online newsletter produced by ACF to inform individuals and leaders of churches and non-profits about job training, childcare, Head Start, temporary assistance for families struggling to get back on their feet, and other vital human services. One of ACF’s main goals is to be more inclusive of and responsive to the needs of the Latino community.
Access current and past issues of Infórmate visit, and do not forget to share the link with your community.



Texas Christian University Department of Religion
Lecturer in Religion
The Texas Christian University Department of Religion invites applications for a one-year lecturer appointment in Religion for the academic year 2015-2016. Teach a 4/4 load of predominantly introductory courses. Position Requirements PhD required (no ABD's will be considered). A minimum of two years in full-time teaching required. Introductory teaching experience in two of the following areas required: World Religions, Biblical studies, Society and Culture (see for examples).
Consideration of candidates will begin April 20 and continue until the position is filled. Submit a letter of application, a one-page teaching statement and a curriculum vitae to and arrange for two letters of reference that address teaching to be sent by the reviewer directly to As an AA/EEO employer, TCU recruits, hires, and promotes qualified persons in all job classifications without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ethnic origin, disability, genetic information, covered veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.
Contact Name: Nadia Lahutsky
Contact Email Address:
Contact Phone: 817.257.6451
Contact Fax: 817.257.7495
Contact Website Address:
New Brunswick Theological Seminary
Urban Ministry

The Dirk Romeyn Professor of Metro-Urban Ministry

New Brunswick Theological Seminary invites applications for a full-time tenure-track faculty position with a specialization in Urban Ministry. The primary focus of this position will be teaching courses in Urban Ministry and to train students for transformational leadership to the global church.
Responsibilities include teaching urban ministry courses, classical discipline courses, academic advisement and faculty committee work. Depending on expertise, an additional administrative position may be negotiated, as well as inauguration into the endowed chair associated with the position. Preference will be given to candidates who have significant ministry and teaching experience. A terminal degree in fields related to urban ministry, ethics, church and society, sociology of religion, practical theology or urban planning is strongly preferred. Rank and salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Must be an active member of a local congregation and willing to embrace anti-racist practices.
Successful candidates will be creative in their approach to urban ministry education and work well within a collaborative learning environment. Candidates should be able to begin full time employment in the fall of 2015.
New Brunswick Theological Seminary was founded more than 230 years ago – the first Protestant seminary established in North America. Our dedication to providing rigorous and accessible training for a diverse community of students has made us the institution of choice for those who demand an exceptional seminary education, a flexible academic schedule and the sustenance of a spiritually rich community.
Although New Brunswick Theological Seminary is a teaching institution of the Reformed Church in America, the Seminary considers it a privilege and a responsibility to train persons from many other denominations for ministry. As a result, NBTS’ faculty and student body reflect the rich diversity of God's whole people.
An ecumenical and urban institution, NBTS offers distinguished academic training for our present and future American mosaic. Students come from a wide variety of careers and backgrounds, bringing with them rich experiences in faith and life. Our innovative curriculum provides the context in which all this diversity of ethnicity, culture, denominations and experience can be expressed in a single conversation: an educative process which values each person's calling and gifts.
Our Professors take a personal interest in their students, understanding that preparation for ministry involves more than classroom instruction. A blending of high standards in traditional academics and in community analysis and public theology rests upon a foundation of an action-reflection model of theological engagement. Committed to excellence in ministry, the Faculty teaches with passion and creativity, encourages active critical thinking, and practices ongoing self-reflection in its work together and with students. The result is an unparalleled educational opportunity for the women and men who will lead the church in an increasingly complex and pluralistic context.
Especially welcome are applications from those who bring diverse ethnic, racial, and international perspectives to their teaching, scholarship, and Christian faith.

Interested parties should email a cover letter and vitae to Dr. Willard W. C. Ashley, Sr., Dr. Ashley serves as the Dean of the Seminary and Associate Professor of Practical Theology, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, 35 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901.

Dr. Roberto Mata (2013-2014 HTIC Dissertation Scholar), his wife Neomi, and their daughter Rebeka, recently announced the arrival of Rebeka’s new sister, Victoria.  Congratulations to all, and big “bienvenida” to Victoria, the youngest member of the HTIC community.
On April 22nd 2015, Manuela “Mela” Trevino Alanis, the mother of Dr. Javier Alanis (2001–2002 HTI Dissertation Scholar) passed away. Please keep Javier and his family in your prayers.  Javier is the Executive Director of the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest.
HTIC's dear friend, Matthew Williams, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) was recently diagnosed with cancer. He has been a faithful advocate for HTI and HTI/HTIC's scholars. 

The Hispanic Theological Initiative is a valuable venue to attract candidates for open positions at academic institutions, church related organizations, and non-profit organizations, among others. The following policy and procedures have been adopted to provide guidance regarding job postings:
Positions will be active on the HTI/HTIC website ( for a period of three (3) months unless we are notified to change the status to closed/filled. Upon notification, the job posting will be removed from the website.
The job posting will be displayed and used in the exact manner in which it is submitted. Before submitting, please verify that all information is accurate and correct. Once submitted, HTI/HTIC is not responsible for any errors in the posting.  Accuracy is the responsibility of the employer posting the position.
The cost to list a position on the HTI/HTIC website, Facebook, and newsletter is $150 for non-member schools, and $100 for schools with HTI/HTIC Scholar as faculty.  HTIC member schools job postings are free of charge.  To list an open position, please visit:

As always, we ask all of our community members to keep us posted of any news items you would like to have considered for inclusion in our newsletter by emailing us at Remember to include pertinent information, such as website or email addresses, as well as any photographs (preferably in .jpeg format). The deadline for receiving submission is the 20th of each month. Keep in mind that each submission should be no more than two paragraphs long, and remember to help us maintain our newsletter.
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