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Read Hispanic Theological Initiative's quarterly newsletter to celebrate your community's many achievements, and discover Latinx resources to better serve the academy, the Church, and the world!

 
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FEBRUARY 2019

 
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What happens in Tepoztlán does not stay in Tepoztlán
 
From January 6-11, 2019,  HTI’s Open Plaza went transnational when faculty from the United States and Canada gathered in Tepoztlán, Mexico with Mexican scholars to write blogs and produce podcasts for the upcoming launch of the Open Plaza platform, which will take place Fall 2019.
 
For many of the participants, this was a welcomed respite from overly taxed academic schedules to reset their energy with bright sunrises, fresh food, clean air, and the slow pace of star-gazing.  “It allowed me to re-initiate my creative writing and speaking. For years, I concentrated on how to work more in structured academic formats. Yet, this Open Plaza work allowed for creative new ways of doing academic and community work,” Dr. Matilde Moros (2011-2012 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar) shared.  For Dr. Neomi DeAnda (2009-2010 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor) it became a shared space, that gathered contributors from Mexico, Canada, and the United States in espacio nuestro, and the encouragement, coaching, and support generated provided an impetus for the creation and production of new knowledge and content for nuestras comunidades. As the week progressed, Dr. Lauren Frances Guerra (2015-2016 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar) added, “It became clear to me that the true value of HTI comes in the form of community. There is truly nothing like working en conjunto on a project with fellow HTI scholars.”
 
Additionally, HTI scholars emphasized the invaluable insight of writing expert, Dr. Macarena Hernández, who led workshops and trainings on blog-writing and podcast-recording. Dr. Xochitl Alvizo (2014-2015 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, Co-President of HTI En Conjunto Association), said that although she had written many blogs before, podcasts were new to her. “However,” she shared, “having Macarena, an expert journalist, there and continuously brainstorming and identifying all the possible blog and podcast ideas that sparked from our regular conversations took the pressure off.” Thanks to the inspiring combination of working en conjunto and learning from Hernández, Alvizo ended up taking part in two podcasts.
 
Lastly, the scholars appreciated being in the town of Tepoztlán. Guerra shared that one of her fondest memories was “strolling through the pueblo to take in all the inspiring sights and sounds.” She expressed that for her, “there is something particularly special about being in Latin America that is rejuvenating and centering. It was an unforgettable experience and I look forward to future writing workshops with the HTI crew. Mil Gracias, HTI!”
 
Keep looking out for the launch of Open Plaza in Fall 2019, and you will see that what happens in Tepoztlán does not stay in Tepoztlán!
 
  


FROM THE DIRECTOR


Dear Friends,
 
With 2019 well under way, your HTI looks forward to the enrollment of a new cohort of scholars.  In December, we received applications for the HTI/Lilly Fellowships, and will announce the recipients in March. HTI looks forward to the advancement of its scholars as many take their comprehensive exams and others defend their dissertations.  In this issue you will have an opportunity to meet the 2018-2019 HTI Book Prize winner, Dr. Patrick B. Reyes, author of Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood (Chalice Press, 2016).   HTI is excited to have Dr. Reyes this summer at the Professional Development Conference to present a lecture on his book on June 25, 2019.  More information on this event will follow.
 
You will also find an interview of Dr. Gregory Cuéllar, who, along with his wife Nohemi Cuéllar, founded Arte de Lágrimas, a project that creates a space through art for migrant children to express their grief and encounter hope, while raising the public consciousness of their stories.
 
To learn how HTI Scholars continue making a difference in the world, I invite you to read the stories about Dr. Leopoldo Sánchez and Jorge Juan Rodríguez and their experiences in Africa.
 
Your HTI has been working diligently on its Open Plaza platform, which creates a virtual Latinx public space, and is possible through a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.  HTI continues to provide forums for junior and senior scholars who are members of the HTI En Conjunto Association (ECA) to write blogs and record podcasts which address key social issues that affect and impact Latinx communities across the nation and abroad.  The most recent of these forums took place in Tepoztlán, Mexico! Your HTI is grateful to Dr. Néstor Medina, the Senior Editor of Open Plaza and Perspectivas, for his work on both projects.  Keep tuned for the new issue of Perspectivas, the online peer-reviewed bilingual journal of HTI, which will be available in the Spring, and for the launching of Open Plaza in the Fall 2019.
 
HTI invites you to enjoy this issue and celebrate new logros included in it, and to add the new publications to your reading list!
 
Blessings,
 




Rev. Joanne Rodríguez

  
 
YOUR EN CONJUNTO ASSOCIATION (ECA) EN ACCIÓN
 
Your HTI En Conjunto Association builds relationships by strengthening a support network for Latinx scholars in religion and theology. Working en conjunto is the cornerstone of HTI programming and operations, and ECA celebrates its impact.  Since the last issue of Journeys, ECA has had two events that embody the en conjunto relationships that have grown in HTI.
 
In November, the ECA celebration of Dia de los Muertos created a space to reflect on the legacy of HTI elders that had passed on. Several HTI Scholars shared personal stories.  Here is a sneak peek of what Dr. Cecilia González-Andrieu (HTI 2006-2007 Dissertation Scholar; HTI Mentor) wrote about the impact Dr. Alex García-Rivera had on her life, “Today Alex keeps teaching us about beauty, and how to pass along the baton to my students. I know he is watching and smiling from his sunny spot in the garden of God.” ECA presented an altar for the HTI reception at AAR/SBL in Denver to honor the lives of those who had died.
 
ECA also celebrated el Dia del Amor y la Amistad on February 14 by highlighting stories from HTI alumni who have cultivated long-lasting friendships and partnerships through HTI.
 
Dr. Luis Menéndez-Antuña wrote about his friendship with a group of HTI Alumni: “This knowledge we share among us is a wisdom that transcends our academic background and our intellectual goals.” Dia del Amor y la Amistad stories illustrate how these connections and collaborations have impacted the Latinx community in religion and theology. Share your stories of #AmistadEnConjunto.
 
Your ECA is proud to announce Dr. Wendy Arce (2011-2012 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar) as its new co-treasurer. Arce is Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at Graduate Theological Union.
  
Join or Renew your membership!
 
For only $60 per year, join the ECA or renew your membership; it allows you to connect with the wider HTI network, gives you the opportunity to participate in the Open Plaza writing weeks, and helps to keep you up-to-date with events and involvement opportunities.
  
 
HTI’S BOOK PRIZE WINNER, A CONVERSATION
 
At HTI's reception during the AAR/SBL Annual Meetings, Joanne Rodríguez had the unique opportunity to announce Dr. Patrick B. Reyes, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Doctoral Initiatives at the Forum for Theological Exploration, as the winner of the 2019 HTI Book Prize, for his manuscript, Nobody Cries When We Die: God, Community, and Surviving to Adulthood (Chalice Press, 2016). Recently, HTI's student aide, Deborah Kwak, had a conversation with Reyes about his winning entry:
 
Deborah Kwak: You emphasize the importance of the Latinx community sharing stories, especially histories that have been forgotten or dismissed because they are not part of the mainstream. In which  practical and tangible ways could we support others in listening for God’s call through their own narratives?
 
Patrick B. Reyes: In terms of people’s stories, the most important thing to do is to affirm God’s call to live life in all of its nuance. I do not mean, “live your best life” as in going on cruises or celebrating with family. I mean eat, breathe, and celebrate another moment alive. I do this with individuals that are caged and affected by the justice system, in prisons, where folks are treated like animals and not humans, with folks who are surviving cancer and illnesses of all kinds, family and community members that are going through long-term illnesses. It is in these situations, where people believe their clock has ticked, where a reframing needs to happen to hear the call to life.
 
Since I work in diversity and inclusion, in higher education and other spaces, I focused mostly on narrative and storytelling. The challenge most people experience is their inability to be in touch and comfortable with their own stories. Regardless of what people think about the world, many people have not done the work to know who they are. The anxieties, fears, and phobias come from a lack of knowledge of one’s own self, one’s own origins, and comfort with how they sit in the world. Those anxieties and fears exacerbate when you confront people who come from culturally diverse backgrounds.
 
Regardless of one’s context and background, part of my work is to make them comfortable with their own background and stand firmly in that place to understand what that means. In diversity work, individuals do not take responsibility for their own prejudice and I believe this comes from a lack of self-awareness. Much of the work people need to do is simultaneously internal and external. Research has shown that the best way to do this work is with diverse teams, because diversity promotes health and well-being. However, the data also show that people first need to be able to be grounded in their own stories and comfortable with their own narratives before they can be confident enough to hear diverse perspectives.
 
Kwak: What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
 
Reyes: The biggest challenge is that the call of life requires a certain level of grace for myself, for the community, and for others to live and thrive in our own stories. I had to finish the book, but that does not mean I am done living or living out my vocation. There is a lot of diversity even within a small community and it was important to tell the story as authentically as possible so that the story told itself and I did not impose my own narrative. That was the most difficult thing, leaving grace for other peoples’ stories, which I think is a new form of writing. It was theological reflection on lives lived and for which I have not seen many examples of this genre of writing.
 
Kwak: What kind of reaction have you received from this book and how are people engaging it?
 
Reyes: My favorite reactions were deeply personal. The first came from my father to whom I had sent my manuscript. I did not actually believe he read it. Several weeks after the book had been published and he finally got his hard copy, he called crying. There was a weird echo, which made it difficult for me to hear him say, “You’re a writer, I’m so proud of you for writing this down.” I said, “Where are you? I can hear an echo.” And he said, “You didn’t tell me this wasn’t a book to read at work.” He was so moved by the experiences that he himself had lived out that he called me while at work. Feeling my dad’s love in that moment and in that way was powerful.
 
The second came from my best friend who also experienced the gang violence depicted in the book.  He said, “Pat, you’re misleading people,” and I said, “What do you mean I’m misleading people?” And he shared laughing, “You make it sound like you’re hard. I always remember you were the first one to run.”
 
Many people shared stories of how they connected to the book. A church in New York focused on LGBTQIA initiatives shared that they found value in the book. People in the Great Plains regions, have said, “We don't have any sense of your context, but we’re also discerning a call of life for folks here on the border who are saying, ‘thank you’ for giving us the permission to tell our stories as valuable theological and vocational work.”
 
Kwak: Survival, a call to life, context, hospitality, healing, transformation, paying attention to prophetic witnesses in our own lives are all-powerful themes in your book. The book was released in 2016, as you are invited to speak and share this book have you or others unearthed other themes?
 
Reyes: For my story, the theme that keeps coming up is the role and impact of grandmas/abuelas/mimis. There is something about the matriarchs of our families that are both the gatekeepers and healers of our communities. Several readers have shared after reading my book that they would love to tell the story of their grandmothers. Currently my church, the Roman Catholic Church, is going through all kinds of deep violence and changes. I believe that both our political and religious systems would be better off if they were run by grandmothers because they are the ones who care and nurture future generations. Both systems are largely run by men and they are not about creating conditions for the next generation to thrive. I am not naïve about the fact that not everyone has a great relationship with their grandmother like I did, but this theme keeps emerging for me.
 
Kwak:  What is your current life telling you now?  
 
Reyes: At this point, I feel called by my community and my ancestors to create conditions for the next generation to thrive, and for me, I am thriving in that work. Concretely, that is what my dad did for me, my grandmother did for him, and now I am doing for my children. Broadly speaking, it is working with partners, people of color, and those in education to create conditions and processes to help others thrive. That looks like everything from partnering with people like Janet Wolfe at the Children’s Defense Fund, Proctor Child Advocacy Conference, or folks like my friend at Innovation Bridge in California. Working with these partners gives my life hope and joy.
 
Reyes takes a moment to reflect with Kwak on a personal story with HTI.
 
Reyes: I am so grateful for the award. I would have said that at the reception, had I not been so tired and struggling to put words together. I wrote part of this book to celebrate those folks around me who helped me thrive and survive (Christian Brothers, dad, and grandmother). HTI has always been one of those communities.
 
My favorite HTI moment was when I was working at Northeastern finishing my dissertation.  Joanne, God bless her, through a connection with Cristian De La Rosa, invited me to HTI Winter Writers’ Workshop in January.  Many folks have read about my experiences in the New England area.  I grew up in California but I get sad in winter—seasonal affective disorder is a thing. So I was working on my dissertation full time. I was the only one in my office and my department when I got this invitation. I was so happy.  Having no money, I bought a bolt bus ticket to go to NJ for $25, but on my way, we were hit with a snowstorm.
 
I was complaining and crying that I was not able to make it down to see my friends because they shut down highway 95. However, I ended up connecting in New York City with two HTI scholars also attending the Writers’ Workshop, Altagracia Pérez-Bullard and Carla Roland. So, I changed my itinerary and I made a five-hour bus trip to New York, walked an hour through Manhattan to get in a car with them. We drove in the snowstorm, which was so bad it looked post-apocalyptic. The whole way down, cars were sliding and crashing left and right.  We finally made it to the event and I got to sit down with new friends and colleagues, writing with partners like Ulrike Guthrie (the editor), Xochitl Alvizo, Ann Hidalgo, Carla, and Altagracia, among others.
 
Being able to have dinner, share experiences, talk, and write gave value to everyone’s work and affirmed that the writing process was important. Had people who were committed to writing and being in a community as writers not surrounded me, I would not be a writer. I thought the dissertation was going to be the last thing I ever wrote.
 
I am especially grateful to HTI for the Book Prize, and for creating conditions for writers—not just scholars and theologians—to take the time to put their lives down on paper. I am deeply grateful for Joanne, Ángela, and everyone else at HTI who has made it possible for us in the academy to write and be together.
 

REFLECTIONS

Rethinking Writing, Building Community

 
The experience of writing can be quite isolating. The writer has to find that idiosyncratic lot in time and space that works for oneself. Is it absolute silence? Or maybe the company of some music? Sometimes, it is just the mild noise of a coffee shop; sometimes, the absent presence of many in one’s university library.
 
Yet, despite the many different strategies, writing solo remains the norm. It is precisely here, once again, that HTI has creatively found a way to challenge the norm. For HTI’s Writers’ Week is exactly that: a positive, creative challenge to the idea that we should just write alone. To be clear, Writers’ Week is not an attempt to reverse the norm so that now we are all obliged to write in a room together from 9 to 5. The challenge is slightly different, yet important and productive. It is about rethinking the experience of writing as a task that can be conceived en conjunto.
 
So, writing can remain as personal as it tends to be. Uli Guthrie (HTI Editor) and the rest of the team are quite respectful of our own pace and dynamics. However, there were still the evenings after dinner when we discussed the ups and downs of our day. Some people got much done; some people did not. Some people were fighting writer’s block; some were trying to get rid of too much writing. Yet in all this sharing of success and failure, of expectation and reality, writing became a shared experience. It became a collective task, where the rigor and isolation were countered by the humanity, kindness, and beauty of the company of other fellow writers struggling and conquering at once. For this week, and the gift of this comunidad, I can only be forever grateful.
 
Raúl Zegarra (2018-2019 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar), The University of Chicago Divinity School


 

Master student reflects on HTI’s Reception at AAR/SBL
 
“I applied to Princeton Theological Seminary because I had heard from friends that it was academically rigorous while also engaging society, church, and the world.  When accepted, my wife and I moved from Argentina and within the first week at a reception held by the Latinx Collegium, I heard about HTI and was intrigued.  Here was a program that had supported many of the scholars that I had read and was interested in meeting.  I interviewed for a student aide position and then HTI invited me to work at their reception during the AAR/SBL Annual Meetings.  I entered that space feeling nervous, not knowing what to expect, but as the room began to fill with academics from the United States, Canada, and beyond, the mood in the room became jovial, friendly, and filled with outbursts of boisterous laughter, feeling more like a family reunion with cheer and laughter which stood blatantly in contrast to the academic stuffiness of the week. That night, I met so many incredible people who are all deeply and passionately working in their academic fields. This experience gave me a hope to complete my rigorous academic journey, because as long as I have friends like the ones I met at HTI, I will make it.”
 
Stephen Di Trolio
Masters of Arts in Theological Studies '20
Princeton Theological Seminary
 

LOGROS
 
Comprehensive Exams
 
Congratulations to Jennifer Fernández (2018-2019 Proposal and Research Scholar) for successfully passing her Comprehensive Exams with Distinction at Graduate Theological Union.  
 
Dissertation Defense
 
“Evangelical Orthodoxy: Henrietta Mears and the Boundary Lines of Modern American Evangelicalism” is the title of the dissertation that  Melisa Ortiz Berry (2017-2018 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar) successfully defended at Claremont Graduate University. Congratulations, Dr. Berry!    
 

Dr. Daniel Ramírez, Dr. Patrick Mason, Dr. Melisa Ortiz Berry, Dr. Karen Torjesen (Left to right)

On January 27, 2019, we received news that Anandi Silva Knuppel (2018-2019 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar) successfully defended her dissertation titled “Beyond Seeing:  Embodied Multisensory Performance, Experience, and Practice in Contemporary Transnational Gaudiya Vaishnavism.” at Emory University. Knuppel shares, “Thank you so much! HTI has been so supportive – I only wish I could have joined earlier in my graduate career.”
 

(Left to right: Dr. Joyce Flueckiger (chair), Dr. Anandi Silva Knuppel, Dr. Ellen Gough. Not pictured: Dr. Jim Hoesterey).
 

New Appointments
 
HTI Scholar to serve at HTI member school
 
Duke Divinity School announced the appointment of Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza (2012-2013 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar) as a visiting professor beginning Spring Semester 2019. Henderson-Espinoza is the Director of Public Theology Initiatives at Faith Matters Network in Nashville, Tennessee.
 


Virginia Theological Seminary announces new appointment of HTI Scholar
 
Rev. Dr. Altagracia Pérez-Bullard (2014-2015 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar) was recently appointed as Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA. Pérez-Bullard has served in the Church for 30 years, most recently as Canon for Congregational Vitality at the Episcopal Diocese of New York.
 


HTI Scholar to lead the American Society of Church History
 
The American Society of Church History (ASCH) announced that their new President-Elect will be Dr. Daniel Ramírez (2002-2003 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar, HTI Mentor). Ramírez is Associate Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University and has actively served ASCH for many years. He will play a pivotal role in setting vision for the society’s future contribution to the history of Christianity. ASCH is a “scholarly community dedicated to studying the history of Christianity and how it relates to culture in all time periods, locations, and contexts.” Ramírez will serve for a three-year term: planning the 2019 Conference Program in his first year as President-Elect, addressing the society as President in his second year, and leading the Nominating Committee as Past-President in his third year. ¡En hora buena, Dan!
 
Awards
 
HTI Scholar receives Junior Excellence in Teaching Award
 
At the University of Tennessee’s annual College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Awards Ceremony, Dr. Manuela Ceballos (2013-2014 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar), Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, received the Junior Excellence in Teaching Award. Through the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Awards, the University of Tennessee recognizes faculty from across the college for their teaching, research, creative activity, advising, and leadership in diversity efforts. Ceballos is widely praised among her students to be an “amazing” professor who is known for teaching challenging topics (e.g., The Qur’an and the Literature of Islam) and for creating an open and safe classroom atmosphere that encourages connection and shared vulnerability.  Congratulations, Dr. Ceballos!
 
HTI Scholar and Mentor is awarded the 2019 Project Grant for Researchers (PGR) at Louisville Institute
 
Congratulations Dr. Gregory Cuéllar (2005-2006 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar, HTI Mentor) for receiving the PGR grant award! Cuéllar is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and his project research topic is “Religion in Immigration Detention: Securing Faiths in a State of Removal.” Since 2014, Cuéllar has led students and volunteers from Austin Seminary to the borderlands and has, since then, partnered with local churches and charities to best advocate for justice on behalf of migrants at the U.S./Mexico border (see interview). Louisville Institute’s PGR program supports research, reflection, and writing by academics and pastors concerning Christian faith and life, the practice of ministry, and/or religious institutions.
 

HTI SCHOLARS EN ACCIÓN
 
Arte de Lágrimas – being with children at the border

 
Dr. Gregory Cuéllar (2005-2006 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar, HTI Mentor), Associate Professor of Old Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, shares about Arte de Lágrimas: Refugee Artwork Project he founded with his wife, Nohemi Cuéllar.
 
Deborah Kwak: What inspired the idea of the Refugee Artwork Project?
 
Gregory Cuéllar: In 2014, my wife and I began to notice a surge of unaccompanied children coming through the main ports of Reynosa and McAllen, Texas. They were single families primarily from the Northern Triangle of Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras). That set the tone for how we could be engaged in a humanitarian way at the border. We felt the need to get involved, we have children of our own. Immigration has been a central interest in my scholarship and in my own pastoral ministry.  I began to think of ways to partner with groups who wanted to help by providing medical care, food, clothing, and presence, but we had no idea how to start. One day, we thought about how we always encouraged our children to do art, and that through art we could be present to these asylum seekers by offering them moments of drawing and art-making.

We began working with the Catholic Charities in McAllen, specifically with sister Norma Pimentel, who had set up a relief center at Sacred Heart Catholic Church that was providing free clothing, food, and shelter for single family asylum seekers dropped off by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the bus station after a temporary stay in immigration detention. We gathered a team of clergy and students and took art supplies down to the relief center. We gave children paper and colors to pass the brief time they had before they had to leave on their buses. We titled this work, “Arte de Lágrimas, Art of Tears, because we were dealing with people who have been extremely traumatized – such as the violent departure from their home country, the hardship of the migratory journey, the extreme forms of victimization by the transnational drug cartels, and the inhumane treatment at the detention centers. We believed that through art these children could, for a moment, escape from the trauma, and find a form to express their grief and encounter hope.  We also prayed a lot before we began our work because we did not want to trigger anything or coax them into anything.  We began by simply making sure that their most fundamental needs were addressed and then we would sit with the children and their mothers while they waited at the bus station to return home.
 
When we first began, the children would ask us for ideas on what to draw and we told the volunteers to say, “Draw your journey” or “Draw your home.” This idea came from my studies of exile and the Old Testament – homeland is a central theme in a lot of exilic literature and talking about the faith journey as part of migration in the Old Testament. Before getting on the bus, the children would return their drawings as a gesture of appreciation, and they would ask us to pray for them. To respect their wishes and be good stewards of their art, we put the art in the public square to raise the public consciousness of their stories.
 
We asked the church that had donated the art supplies to us if they would be willing to host an art exhibit. Several churches agreed to exhibit the art for a month or two. The work involved us going to the border, working with Catholic Charities, being at the bus station with the children, coming back with art, exhibiting them at churches, and raising the public consciousness of people of faith here in the Austin area. We did that for several years before my sabbatical and also had exhibits at  the University of Texas at Austin, St. Edward’s University, McCormick Theological Seminary, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, as well as online exhibitions curated by Sarah López, on state incarceration and immigration detention centers. After I returned back from Sabbatical, we relocated to Oxford for a year where I had taken a lot of my fieldwork at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, as a visiting scholar. There, we worked with the Center on Criminology which has a similar project – the Immigration Detention Archive. They have a number of art pieces done by detainees from Africa and Asia. Comparing the vision and imaginary in the art unveiled some interesting points of connection, like how faith is integral to the journey of a lot of parents and children; that theme was very present in a lot of art pieces by the detainees in the United Kingdom.
 
Since August 2018, I have been working back in Austin, and we are embarking on a new phase of the project.  To further this work we accepted the invitation to exhibit 15-16 art pieces at Ithaca College in December.  With a delegation of 20 students from Austin Seminary, we are returning to the border where we can begin to get a sense of what has changed with the new administration and the surge that is coming, more than five thousand of what we are calling a mobile congregation, a community of faith, not just a caravan, who are being persecuted. We are also seeing ICE reports on apprehensions, the up kick on apprehensions of unaccompanied children and single families of the Reynosa-McAllen border. As in 2014, the cycle is happening again. We are seeing it this year and we want to be ready for it at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. We not only want to raise public consciousness through the art, but we are also finding ways to connect Austin Seminary to the Mexico border. We are an institution that teaches pastors how to engage the other. How are we connecting with what is the obvious other? We are hoping to get some of the students who come with us to eventually participate in the continued work of doing art with children and families who are released from detention.
 
This art is available through these physical exhibits, but we are also working to put these drawings online. We hope to have this art available so that people around the world can see it and get a sense of the stories of these families. One of the things that is very striking, and often missed and rendered unseen in the professional literature, is the faith component to their migratory journeys and their asylum seeking experiences. That is an egregious error on the part of many social scientists – not to consider religious faith and practice as part of mass migration. Part of the intention of the website is to inform those who are operating from a mainly secular position to not overlook an important phenomenon that we are seeing in these drawings. It leaves them vulnerable to the continued effort by discourses to criminalize them. If they are absent or void of any sacredness, it is much easier to render them as non-beings. If you look at their lives, faith is such an integral part of who they are, how they move, how they discern. Here we see an untapped theology of immigration.
 
Kwak: What would you like to highlight from your experience with this process?
 
Cuéllar: One of the things I was perplexed by was when the children drew pictures of their home. The pictures often have a song with a smiley face, families usually together in their house.  They are very careful to catalogue every room and things they had to leave behind. When I saw at it in its finished state, I have to ask, ‘why would you want to leave such a beautiful place?’ We know that they are leaving due to foreclosure of any livable structure at the state level, but also at the economic level, and then the violence that comes to their front door and leaves no option but to leave. All that is not part of their image of home, so I began thinking about my own teaching of homeland, especially Isaiah 2 where the exiles portray Zion as being this restored mother, a place where peace and justice are functioning, where the children of Zion are together. I started to think that these children are giving us a prophetic image. Their ultimate hope and desire is to be at home, to have their family together. When we look at the drawings about their home, it is important to see them not as a suppression of violence or the denial of reality, but as an expression of their strong faith. They are projecting to us a prophetic vision of settled-ness and what it means to be home and to belong. That has been very valuable for me. They have taught me what hope should look like and what it is that they are longing for.
 
Kwak: What do you believe and or wish the future impact will be of these efforts?
 
Cuéllar: We know that activism ebbs and flows and people’s time and energy follows that same trend. That is one of the reasons we are trying to make this project available online and housing it at Austin Seminary as a place where people can visit to consult the art, study it, look at it from different perspectives, and hopefully it continues contributing to the discourse on mass migration, asylum seeking, and refugee studies.
 
The third installment of artwork from migrant children was released at Ithaca College on December 5th and Dr. Cuéllar gave a lecture on exploring “How to Reclaim the Sacredness of the Other in the Borderlands.” For more information, read Dr. Cuellar’s essay “Channeling the Biblical Exile as an Art Task from central American Refugee Children on the Texas-Mexico Border” in Latinxs, the Bible, and Migration (2018).
  

Gender Disparity Around Fasting
 
In January, the New York Times published “The Gender Politics of Fasting” by Dr. Mariana Alessandri  (2008-2009 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, Book Prize Reader), Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The University of Texas Rio Grande.  Alessandri shares how her own 24-hour fast stood as a physical reminder of the “emotional pain of the children who lacked not food but mothers,” the result of detained children separated from their mothers at the borderlands.  Alessandri also highlights Caesar Chávez’ and Simone Weil’s fasts as spiritual and for social reasons, but only Weil was skeptically questioned for her intentions and labeled anorexic. She challenges and critiques the double standard placed on women for their intentions of fasting, and challenges the public to rethink the self-doubt women are taught when it comes to eating.

Scholars engages the issue of religious freedom
 
In its 50th Anniversary Edition, The Loyola University Chicago Law Journal gathered the thoughts of leading legal and religious prominent scholars in the country to engage the question of religious freedom.  Most of the content for the essays was originally presented at a conference entitled “The Question of Religious Freedom: From John Courtney Murray, SJ and Vatican II to the Present,” which was held at Loyola University Chicago during the Spring semester of 2018. Dr. Miguel H. Díaz (1998-1999 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor, 2002 HTI Book Prize Winner), the John Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago, organized the conference which gathered several prominent contributors to the contemporary conversation about religious freedom from the worlds of law and religious studies, among them, Dr. Carmen Nanko-Fernández (HTI Selection Committee Member, HTI Mentor).
 
To read more, visit:
 
“Introduction to the Essays” by Dr. Miguel Diaz
 
An Unfinished Project: John Courtney Murray, Religious Freedom, and Unresolved Tensions in Contemporary American Society” by Dr. Miguel Diaz.
 
From Common Good to Convivencia: Religious Liberty and the Cake Wars” by Dr. Carmen Nanko-Fernández.
 
More than an academic experience
 
HTI Scholar Fellipe do Vale (2018-2019 HTI Second-Year Scholar) used his networking funds to present a paper at the Evangelical Theological Society Meeting in Denver, CO. He argued on behalf of the Augustinian position in which gender is affirmed in the resurrection on the basis that it better grounds the pursuit of justice in his paper titled, "Cappadocian or Augustinian? Adjudicating Recent Debates on Gender in the Resurrection."  His paper was well received and he received critical feedback to advance his scholarly work.
 
Additionally, Felipe discovered in the audience fellow HTI scholars Elmer Guzmán (2018-2019 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar) and Gerardo Corpeño (2018-2019 HTI Second-Year Scholar) and he was extremely grateful for this reconnection after the HTI Professional Development Conference in June and how HTI’s networking provides relationships of such depth - and so quickly.  
 
In the shoes of a migrant

When he was only 10 years old, Dr. Leo Guardado (2017-2018 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar), Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology at Fordham University was forced out of his native land by the civil war in El Salvador and together with his family they travel 3,000 miles to a Trappist monastery in Los Angeles, CA.  This experience led him to dedicate his life work to help migrants at the borderlands and to understanding “sanctuary as an ecclesial practice.”  In a recent article in Fordham News, he shared,  “I want my students to ask: How does theological thinking change the world? How does it change history? How does it leave an impact so that it is not just thinking about God, but actually aims to transform the world?”

Mr. Jorge Juan Rodríguez V. presents his paper at an International PhD Seminar
 
After attending and presenting his paper, “Race, Gender, and Lived Religion in the Puerto Rican Diaspora: The Religio-Politics of the New York Young Lords in their First People’s Church Offensive,” at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg in South Africa, Jorge Juan Rodríguez V. had this to say about his experience, “There is this complicated reality that arises where we are at once in a privileged space where we can engage in an international conversation, and yet we represent communities that largely do not have access to this space. It is precisely in that liminality that we begin realizing, as Dr. María Pilar Aquino challenged me earlier this year, the ways global power and global resistance are globally inter-connected. This is not to say, however, everything is the same in every context—each location has its own history, its own reality, its own way of languaging about social realities. And also, you begin seeing where things intersect because of shared history that you may not have realized until you met an individual from a distinct context.” Rodríguez is beyond grateful for the opportunity because the annual seminar gathered doctoral candidates and faculty from the United States, Brazil, Norway, and South Africa to share their dissertation projects. He is looking forward to building en conjunto relationships with students and faculty members from different contexts and countries, now that he will be serving on the Executive Board for the International PhD Seminar.
  
Response from HTI Scholars on the “Criminalizing of Latinx people”
 
Rev. Dr. Rubén Rosario Rodríguez (2003-2004 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor) wasted no time in asking fellow HTI colleagues to participate on the online symposium on Political Theology Network to respond to the border crisis from a theological perspective. They highlight the personal experiences that have shaped the lives of "the broad mosaic that is the Latinidad in the United States." The symposium hopes to address and take a stand against the "politics of division, disenfranchisement, and death." The four HTI contributors were:  

  • Dr. Leo Guardado (2017-2018 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar), Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Fordham University, who begins the conversation with a deeply personal account of his own “criminality” as an undocumented immigrant and political refugee fleeing the violence in El Salvador after a decade of Civil War;
  • Dr. Neomi DeAnda (2009-2010 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor), Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton, brings her perspective as a Mexican-American woman connected to a longstanding and rich tradition of Christian resistance along the Mexico-US border;
  • Dr. Victor Carmona (2010-2011 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar), Assistant Professor, Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Diego, focused on the recent deployment of the U.S. military to our southern border as the ultimate escalation of weaponized border enforcement targeting immigration from Central America, and;
  • Dr. Loida I. Martell (1999-2000 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor), Vice President of Academic Affairs Dean of Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky, who offers a pneumatological response to the realities of mass migration in order to embody the call in Matthew 25:35: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me in.” 


We encourage you to use the symposium in class.
 
Doing Theology Interculturally: Dr. Leopoldo A Sánchez M. on his trip to Uganda
 
“A highlight of the event was learning and thinking with others about the ways in which pneumatology is approached in an East African context, because the participants raised questions about the way we think and speak about the Holy Spirit,” shared Dr. Leopoldo A Sánchez M. He found that African leaders were particularly interested in healers and practices of healing. They questioned how such practices could or should interact with an East African worldview in which healers can have an important place in the community. Reflecting on these interactions, Dr. Sánchez found that the experience reminded him of the importance of intercultural engagement, and raised questions for him about what U.S. Hispanic theologians would contribute in a global discussion on the Holy Spirit in conversation with African brothers and sisters.
 
Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M. (2002-2003 HTI Dissertation Scholar and HTI Mentor), Director of the Center for Hispanic Studies and Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, had these conversations while teaching a course on the Holy Spirit, while lecturing in Kampala, Uganda in October. While in Africa, he also lectured at the Lutheran Church in the city of Jinja where he illustrated how the theology of the Spirit helps us imagine and reframe various teachings of the church such as Trinitarian theology, Christology, anthropology, sanctification, and ethics.  
 
HTI Scholar comes full circle
 
Last December, Héctor Varela Rios (2018-2019 HTI Proposal and Research Scholar) traveled from Chicago to Puerto Rico with the intention of starting research on churches and other religious communities as part of his dissertation. The trip went well with respect to his research but it did not end there. While in Puerto Rico, Varela Rios learned about a pressing need for an instructor in the Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico (SEPR). It was fortuitous – they had an opening for their course about the Reformation period, a subject on which he had taken an exam only a few months prior.  This opened up the opportunity for Varela Rios to teach the Theology and History 2 course at the SEPR (as a J-term intensive) – a course he took about twenty years ago at that same institution and one that started him on his current path. Varela Rios shared about this experience, “it is nothing short of a dream fulfilled. I had eight wonderful students and we had many rousing conversations.” To highlight the “en conjunto” of theology, he had Lis Valle (2018-2019 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar), as guest lecturer!
 
To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.  (Proverbs 16:1 NIV)
 

HTI MEMBER SCHOOLS EN ACCIÓN
  
Experiencing Resurrection in Puerto Rico.

 
Missy Roberts, a first year MDiv student at Princeton Theological Seminary who currently works at HTI as a student aide, shares her mission trip experience in Puerto Rico.
 
When I first arrived in Arecibo, PR this past summer, I expected to be greeted by an immense amount of destruction, desolation, pain, and grief. Instead, I was at once warmly embraced by a fiercely resilient, overwhelmingly hospitable people, with much to celebrate and the strength to keep dancing.
 
Yet, it did not take long to notice that nine months post-Hurricane Maria, the trauma was still present. There was no doubt still destruction, desolation, pain, and grief. There were fallen telephone posts, streets filled with tree debris, broken traffic lights, and countless houses with blue tarps in the place of roofs. There were lines of traumatized people at Sam’s Club with flatbeds stocked full of cases of bottled water, nonperishable food items, and flashlights, at the news of impending Tropical Storm Beryl. More than anything, there were stories begging to be told and hearts yearning to be healed.
 
As Rev. Evelyn Torres of la Iglesia Presbiteriana de Lares shared with our mission team, “there is trauma, depression and stress. But there is also new life; there are trees sprouting and green covering everywhere. I have seen the work of the Holy Spirit among my brothers and sisters. We never stopped worshiping or praising God. The Spirit of God has truly consoled, liberated, and guided us in this place, not in spite of the storm, but directly in the midst of it.”  It was not that there was no death or destruction, but that in the midst of these, people of faith persisted and experienced the resurrection power of God.
 
While I expected to leave Puerto Rico having learned how to build a house, I actually left having been taught how to construct something far more valuable—a community of hope, a resurrection people. that is something that no storm can subdue.
 

NEW PUBLICATIONS
 
Borderland Religion: Ambiguous practices of difference, hope and beyond (Religion, Resistance, Hospitalities) by Daisy L. Machado (Editor), Bryan S. Turner (Editor), Trygve Eiliv Wyller (Editor)

Print Length: 188 pages
Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (June 12, 2018)
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Language: English
                              ASIN: B07DP4H75H
 
Borderland Religion narrates, presents and interprets the fascinating and significant practices when borders, migrants and religion intersect. This collection of original essays combines theology, philosophy and sociology to examine diverse religious issues surrounding external national borders and internal domestic borders as these are challenged by the unstoppable flow of documented and undocumented migrants. While many studies of migration have examined how religion plays a major role in the assimilation and integration of waves of migration, this volume looks at a number of empirical studies of how emergent religious practices arise around border crossings.
Buy
 
Cave of Little Faces: A Novel (House of Prisca and Aquila)
By Aída Besançon Spencer (Author), William David Spencer (Author)
 
Series: House of Prisca and Aquila
Paperback: 418 pages
Publisher: Wipf and Stock (September 14, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1532650825
ISBN-13: 978-1532650826
 
When a sudden mysterious letter summons city minister Jo Archer from New Jersey to the Caribbean, she is plunged into a world of possibilities so large and obstacles so great she could gain or lose everything she holds dear. In this contemporary adventure novel full of challenge, mystery, romance, grace, plot twists, and ultimate enlightenment, Jo’s search for her identity echoes the true story struggles of two victims who became victors: Joseph, deliverer of famine-struck Israel, and Enrique, liberator of the oppressed Taino people, from whom Jo is directly descended. As Jo confronts her own life-threatening and life-changing quest, she realizes she is “walking in every forgotten, undervalued, and marginalized woman’s dream”—a chance to become the leader whom God destined her to be, amidst the highest adventure of her life.
Buy
 
Latinxs, the Bible, and Migration (The Bible and Cultural Studies)
by Efraín Agosto (Editor), Jacqueline M. Hidalgo (Editor)
 
Print Length: 209 pages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2018 edition (October 27, 2018)
Language: English
ASIN: B07JR6TGKL
 
This book examines the conjunction between migration and biblical texts with a focus on Latinx histories and experiences. Essays reflect upon Latinxs, the Bible, and migration in different ways: some consider how the Bible is used in the midst of, or in response to, Latinx experiences and histories of migration; some use Latinx histories and experiences of migration to examine Biblical texts in both First and Second Testaments; some consider the “Bible” as a phenomenological set of texts that respond to and/or compel migration. Cultural, literary, and postcolonial theories inform the analysis, as does the exploration of how migrant groups themselves scripturalize their biblical and cultural texts. Other contributors include HTI Scholars and/or Mentors: Dr. Ahida Pilarski, Dr. Gregory Cuellar, Dr. Gilberto Ruiz, Dr. Nancy Bedford, Dr. Eric Barreto, Dr. Roberto Mata.
Buy
 
What's Worship Got to Do with It?: Interpreting Life Liturgically
by Cláudio Carvalhaes  (Author), Paul Galbreath (Contributor), Janet R. Walton (Contributor)
 
Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Cascade Books (November 9, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620329719
ISBN-13: 978-1620329719
 
This book connects the living realms of the church, the self, the neighbor and the world. It envisions our daily local and global life from liturgical spaces, places where Christians worship God. Through these relations, we can connect worship with economy, preaching with raising a village, baptism with forms of citizenship, ecology and the market, Easter with immigration, liturgical knees with colonization, spirituality with minority voices, all uttering prayers that name racism, poverty and a liberation theology of glory. In these pages Cláudio Carvalhaes issues a call to the churches to move from captive and colonized spaces into where the Spirit lives: among the poor, the needy, the forgotten. With a variety of relations between the Christian faith and our cultural ways of living, Carvalhaes offers new liturgical and theological imaginings to be engaged with the most vulnerable in our societies and the earth. A creative liturgical theology of liberation that makes sense of God between the world and the table/altar, between the pulpit and local communities, the worship space and our multiple lived experiences. For liturgy is an endless song of liberation. This book is a call to life!
Buy
 
In Tongues of Mortals and Angels: A Deconstructive Theology of God-Talk in Acts and Corinthians
by Eric D. Barreto  (Author), Jacob D. Myers (Author), Thelathia "Nikki" Young (Author)
 
Hardcover: 146 pages
Publisher: Fortress Academic (November 15, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1978706812
ISBN-13: 978-1978706811
 
Through close textual engagement, theological exposition, ethical reflection, and interdisciplinary collaboration, this book presents a constructive theology of divine speech in the Acts of the Apostles and 1 Corinthians in critical conversation with contemporary issues of sociopolitical, ecclesial, and theological importance. In particular, the authors attend to pericopes in Acts and Paul that open up fresh ways of thinking about divine discourse, preaching, and advocacy in light of contemporary matters of theological and ethical import. In addition to classical modes of textual and theological analysis, the authors attend to the sociopolitical and sociolinguistic aspects of speech as they arise in these pericopes. As such, the authors are simultaneously deconstructing these texts through postcolonial and post-structural analyses to expose these texts to an alterity at work therein, an alterity that has been muted by centuries of biblical interpretation.
Buy
  
Burying White Privilege: Resurrecting a Badass Christianity Hardcover
by Miguel A. De La Torre
  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans (December 11, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802876889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802876881

Short. Timely. Poignant. Pointed. Burying White Privilege is all of these and more. This is the book that everybody who cares about contemporary American Christianity will want to read.

Many people wonder how white Christians could not only support Donald Trump for president but also rush to defend an accused child molester running for the US Senate. In a 2017 essay that went viral, Miguel A. De La Torre boldly proclaimed the death of Christianity at the hands of white evangelical nationalists. He continues sounding the death knell in this book.

De La Torre argues that centuries of oppression and greed have effectively ruined evangelical Christianity in the United States. Believers and clerical leaders have killed it, choosing profits over prophets. The silence concerning—if not the doctrinal justification of—racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia has made white Christianity satanic. Prophetically calling Christian nationalists to repentance, De La Torre rescues the biblical Christ from the distorted Christ of white Christian imagination.
Buy
  
Sculptor Spirit: Models of Sanctification from Spirit Christology
by Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.
 
Paperback: 290 pages
Publisher: IVP Academic (February 5, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0830852336
ISBN-13: 978-0830852338
 
The Holy Spirit is sculpting you. Like the work of an artist who molds a lump of clay into its intended shape, the Spirit's sanctifying work lies in shaping people into the image of Christ. Avoiding either a "Spirit-only" or a "Spirit-void" theology, Leopoldo Sánchez carefully crafts a Spirit Christology, which considers the role of God's Spirit in the life and mission of Jesus. This understanding then serves as the foundation to articulate five distinct models of sanctification that can help Christians discern how the Spirit is at work in our lives.
Buy
 

UPCOMING EVENTS
 
“Unearthing the Bonds that Hold Us Together: Pedagogy of Liberation and Theology of Liberation in Dialogue” - Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, March 14-15, 2019

 
In the light of the current global context of fundamentalisms and the rise of totalitarian regimes, the Cátedra Paulo Freire 2019 Conference will bring into dialogue the Pedagogy of Liberation and the Theology of Liberation to uncover the bonds that can still hold us together in hope and responsibility. Both are counter-narratives that emerged within the dramatic and plural universe of the poor and marginalized, fostering a critical, liberating, and relentless view of the world to address the urgencies of our times. Join us in conversation with leading scholars in their fields! Register Here
 
"A faith in movement: immigration and diaspora."
Lecture Series sponsored by AETH (Association for Hispanic Theological Education), April 26-27, 2019

 
The reality of immigration and the experience of the diaspora of whole families and peoples are as old as the Biblical writings.  Likewise, today they are so current that they are affecting politics, economy, culture, and human coexistence in many regions of the world, particularly in the United States.  Because they are pervasive and have a definite impact on our Hispanic-Latino(a) community, with great expectation and urgency AETH invites you to participate in the Lectures Series of the Justo and Catherine Gonzalez Center on "A faith in movement: immigration and diaspora." See the program here:  
 
The Lectures will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on April 26th and 27th, 2019, at the Metropolitan Center of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. Registration starts on February 8.  If you register before March 15th you can do it with a 25% discount. Register Here
 
Together en La Lucha: Seeking Justice Through Religion and Human Rights?
2019 ACHTUS Colloquium, June 2-5, 2019

 
The Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States invites you to their 2019 colloquium in Dayton, Ohio from June 2-5. 2019. This year, ACHTUS celebrates 30 years of colloquia and 5 women Presidents in a row! Over the last few years, ACHTUS colloquia have dealt with various social issues including LGBTQ+ rights, the prison industrial complex, and the environment. This year’s colloquium follows the Academy’s commitment to justice from the purview of Latinx scholars of religion, with particular attention to human rights and the various intricacies of what human rights may mean for our various communities.
 
Hispanic Summer Program, June 15-29, 2019
 
The 2019 Hispanic Summer Program (HSP) will take place from June 15 to June 29, 2019 at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX.
 
Note: Special 30th Anniversary Celebration on June 29 from 9 am to 12 pm, so make plans to stay and celebrate the HSP!
 
HSP offers seven choices of three-credit, accredited courses geared toward master-degree level Latinx seminarians and graduate students. This year's courses are:
 
Bible – New Testament
“Reading Paul Latinamente: Issues, Themes, and Methods”
Dr. Efraín Agosto, New York Theological Seminary
 
This course approaches selective readings of the New Testament letters of the Apostle Paul from the perspective of recent developments in Latinx hermeneutics, including issues of theology, ministry and ethics. In particular, we will offer close readings of Paul’s shorter letters that tend to show Paul addressing specified issues in these ancient Greco-Roman communities, that may or may not relate to current issues that impact U.S. Latinx communities in matters of religion, politics and social wellbeing. What does it mean to read the “Paulinist” materials Latinamente? Readings of Paul by Latinx biblical scholars and theologians will help us in this exploration of ancient texts in light of modern Latinx contexts.
 
Ethics
“Environmental Racism and the Struggle for Ecological Justice”
Dr. Teresa Delgado, Iona College
 
This course will investigate the recent calamities related to climate change, particularly how environmental crises impact upon and converge with racial and socio-economic injustices. We will critically engage Catholic, Protestant and multi-faith responses (including Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’) as well as the wisdom of grassroots communities struggling for justice, to understand, articulate, and practice theological visions for just ecologies. The course will pay particular attention to the disproportionate impact of climate change and environmental destruction on poor and vulnerable communities, using recent case studies as examples, such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Hurricanes Irma and María in Puerto Rico. The goal of this course is to formulate ethical responses that both utilize and challenge dominant faith traditions toward full flourishing of the planet.
 
History
“Re-Membering in the Borderlands: Gender, Trauma and Healing”
Dr. Adriana Nieto, Metropolitan State University of Denver
 
Borders often create conditions in which unequal power relations thrive. The potential for violence and conflict is ever present in border zones. Yet borders are inevitably crossed and transgressed and the resulting cultural, linguistic, and political milieu demonstrates resiliency, adaptability, and creativity of borderlands dwellers. Grounded in the U.S.-Mexico border experience, this course examines the ways in which violence and conflict, as well as creativity and healing manifest.
 
Interreligious Studies
“Religious Diversity in Latinx Communities”
Dr. Harold Morales, Morgan State University
 
This course explores issues around religious diversity as they are applied to Latinx communities. Toward this end, we engage case studies involving Christian, Yoruba, Jewish, Buddhist, and Islamic Latinx communities. We then examine discourse around pluralism through an in-depth study of how Latino Muslims problematize popular conceptions of Latinidad, of Islam, and of race-religion in the U.S. Throughout the course, we therefore seek to critically engage the discursive processes through which Latinx communities are described as religiously diverse as well as the ways that such diversity discourse has helped to shape contemporary concepts of Latinidad.
 
Liturgy – Colloquium on Preaching and Worship
(limited to 7 students)
 
“Extractivism – The Political, Emotional, Economic, and Religious Model of Our Times, A Liturgical Response”
Dr. Cláudio Carvalhaes, Union Theological Seminary
 
Since the beginning of colonization, a combination of agri-hydro business and religious colonial power have extracted and plundered both natural and human resources for the profit of colonizers. This extractivist system continues today through
 
Political forms of populism and “democratic regimes;”
The economic neoliberal market, and
Current Christian expressions of faith.
These three factors combine to organize our desires, feelings and emotions, how we live and relate. In this course, we will examine the following:
 
How these forms of extractivisms work;
How extractivism is deeply linked to liturgical (belief-practices) expressions of faith, and
How Christians can engage and respond through worship/preaching and religious forms of resilience and vulnerability.
 
Practical Theology
“Living into Pentecost: Leadership and Organizing for Ministry Today”
Rev. Canon Altagracia Pérez-Bullard, PhD, Episcopal Diocese of New York
 
Christian leaders face incredible challenges and opportunities for personal, communal, and social transformation. Using organizational theories, community organizing strategies and leadership models, we will explore theoretical and practical tools to equip leaders for relevant and vital ministries within and outside the church. Concepts covered: systems theories, leadership styles for change, community organizing, leadership development, radically inclusive congregational development.
 
Theology
“Border Theory and Migration in Theology and Philosophy”
Dr. Elaine Padilla, University of La Verne
 
This course deepens understandings of borders and migrations through a survey of theological and philosophical readings dealing with the construction of Latinx identities whose subjectivities have been located near, within, in relation to, and in-between the borderlands. Students will explore key models seeking to sketch a portrait on the meaning of the Latinx-subject at the hyphens of dominant social structures in the United States.
 
For more information visit the event’s webpage.
 
2018 Through Hispanic Eyes Workshop, June 23-29, 2019
 
Hispanic Summer Program (HSP)  will offer its 15th annual Through Hispanic Eyes workshop for non-Latinx faculty and staff in sponsoring schools, from June 23 to June 26, 2019 at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX.  This workshop is open to 10 participants.  
 
International Congress of Biblical Studies, July 16-19, 2019
 
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Revista Bíblica, the Asociación Bíblica Argentina (ABA) together with the "Asociación Brasileira de Pesquisa Biblica" (ABIB), the Asociación Bíblica Chilena (ABCh), the Asociación de Biblistas de México, and several colleagues from different Latin American countries and the United States, have organized the "International Congress of Biblical Studies" that will take place at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina "Santa María de los Buenos Aires ", from July 16-19, 2019. Dr. Ahida Pilarski (HTI Mentor, Steering Committee Member), Associate Professor and Department Chair, theology, Saint Anselm College,  as one of the organizers and presenters at this event, shared that several members of your HTI familia will present:
 
M. Daniel Carroll Rhodas (HTI Mentor, Steering Committee Member) - Blanchaud Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
 
Luis Menendez-Antuña (2013-2014 Dissertation Year Scholar) - Assistant Professor of New Testament, California Lutheran University
 
Jean Pierre Ruiz (HTI Mentor) - Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow, Theology and Religious Studies, St. John’s University
 
Fernando Segovia (HTI Mentor) - Oberlin Graduate Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Vanderbilt Divinity School
 
Osvaldo Vena - Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
 
The Congress, partially funded by a grant from the Catholic Biblical Association of America, is the first of its kind in Latin America.  Its main objectives are to link Latin American biblical scholars, make visible and continue the exegetical work and recognize contributions and the challenges.  When appreciating the important part that Revista Bíblica has had it appears particularly opportune to rethink the service that can be provided to us as a space for exchange, communication and common work.
 
 
RESOURCES
 
Theology en la Plaza - Latinx Column in National Catholic Reporter
 
The column—Theology en la Plaza—is a monthly series that features four theologians (Rev. Dr. Arturo Bañuelas (HTI Visionary) Pastor at St. Mark Catholic Church in El Paso, TX; Dr. María Teresa (MT) Dávila (2004-2005 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar, HTI Mentor) Lecturer in Religious and Theological Studies at Merrimack College; Dr. Miguel Díaz (1998-1999 HTI Dissertation-Year Scholar, Book Prize Winner, HTI Mentor) The Courtney Murray University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University, and Former Ambassador to the Holy See; and Dr. Carmen Nanko-Fernández (HTI Selection Committee Member, HTI Mentor) Professor of Hispanic Theology and Ministry, Director of the Hispanic Theology and Ministry Program at Catholic Theological Union,) writing from distinctly Latin@ perspectives on matters impacting church and society.  
 

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
 
The following job opportunities are listed for your convenience.  To view additional information including how to apply please check the HTI website. To promote a job opportunity on HTI’s social media, the HTI website, and HTI’s newsletter, Journeys, fill out this form.

  • Wesley Theological Seminary - Director of the Luce Center for the Arts and Religion
  • Emory University - Executive Director, Aquinas Center­­­­
  • Comunidad Presbiteriana La Trinidad - Interim Pastor

 
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES
 
The Center for Theological Inquiry

 
Inquiry on Religion & Global Issues:  Research Workshops on Religion & the Built Environment
Fall Semester 2020 - Spring Semester 2021
 
The Center of Theological Inquiry is an independent research institution in Princeton, NJ, with an interdisciplinary program for visiting scholars who welcome theology's dialogue with other fields.

The Center convenes research workshops, where resident members discuss their work in progress, before presenting it in a concluding symposium with Princeton University's Center for the Study of Religion. Members are provided with furnished short-term residences in Princeton to enable them to work at Luce Hall daily, Monday to Thursday. They cover all other costs, including living expenses and utilities.
 
Fall Workshop - Full-time in residence from August 24 to December 11, 2020
Spring Workshop - Full-time in residence from January 19 to May 14, 2021
Applications opened September 1 and December 1, 2019.  Apply here.
 
The Louisville Institute
 
The Louisville Institute which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., and based at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, offers several Grant Programs, Fellowship Programs as well as Collaborative Inquiry Team program which are outlined below.
 
The following grant programs support religious and theological scholarship among three strategic constituencies: pastors, academics, and researchers for the broader church.
 
The following fellowship program supportS the formation of ecclesiastically engaged academics for teaching and scholarship that serves the church and its ministries. The fellowship award stipend and link junior scholars into dynamic peer cohorts.
 
The Doctoral Fellowship (DOC) program encourages current PhD/ThD students to consider theological education as their vocation. The Institute awards up to ten two-year Doctoral Fellowships of $2,000 per year. In addition, Fellows constitute a peer learning cohort that meets six times over a two year period. Deadline for application: 3/1/2019. Apply here.  
 
Louisville Institute’s Collaborative Inquiry Team (CIT) program supports teams of four to eight pastors and professors who propose projects to strengthen the life of North American Christian congregations. Teams spend 18 to 36 months exploring together a living question currently confronting church and society. The grant amount is up to $45,000 for three years.  Deadline for Application is 4/1/2019.  Apply here.
 
¡Excelencia in Education!
 
¡Excelencia in Education! invites nominations for the 2019 Examples of Excelencia awards. Consider nominating a program at the associate, baccalaureate, and graduate academic levels, as well as community-based organizations, that use evidence-based practices to accelerate Latinx student success in higher education. Learn more about the nomination process. Nomination deadline is March 15, 2019.
 

CELEBRATION!
 
On Sunday, January 20, 2019, Andrés Roberto Albertsen married Colton Michael Baker. Congratulations to Andrés and his new family!
 

FOR PRAYER
 
It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Juan F. Martinez’s mother, Bertha Irma Guerra Martinez.  She passed away peacefully after battling health issues.  Please keep Juan’s family and friends in your prayers through this time of grieving and loss.

 
We continue to pray for Dr. Carmen Nanko-Fernández and her family as they mourn the loss of her mother at the age of 94.
 
In December, Dr. Justo González had a moderate heart attack and he was treated for a cardiac catheterization procedure at Emory Hospital in Decatur. He is stable and in good spirit as always. Please continue to keep Justo’s health in your prayers. Justo and Catherine appreciate your prayers.
 
In January, Dr. Cristian De La Rosa’s mother suffered a stroke.  We keep the family in prayer as they navigate her mother’s recuperation.
 
We keep Francisco Peláez-Diaz and his family in our prayers during this time of mourning and celebration for his sister, Guadalupe, who passed away in January.  



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