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!


February 2020



HTI Office Coordinator, Suzette Aloyo, reflects on the Open Plaza podcast titled, Leadership and Youth Development in Local Congregations, “This episode brought me back to my teen years growing up in my local church and the important role my church community played in developing my faith as well as my leadership capacities. Every week we would gather, whether in a church home or church basement, to have conversations about faith and our role within the church and community. At these gatherings, we asked questions about scripture and faith while also being encouraged by our church mentors to develop our talents and gifts as leaders of the church.”
Aloyo has a unique behind-the-scenes perspective of all of HTI’s programming. One of the programs that most intrigued her was HTI Open Plaza, which was made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. From the initial concept to the final product, Aloyo was able to see this project evolve.
Aloyo adds: “I was eager to read the first blog and encouraged that I could relate to it, too. As a layperson with deep faith who is interested in these topics, I was not disappointed. I found Dr. Néstor Medina’s blog Of Chords and Scars: Musical Musings of a Border Crosser, which takes one on a musical journey from Guatemala to Canada, insightful because it enlightened me to understand that Latin American music is infused by the social, political, and religious context of the people. Listening to some of the songs that I knew like, “En Egypto esclavo fui,” connected me to his journey.”
Open Plaza has become an online platform that amplifies the voices of diverse Latinx thinkers and scholars in the public square through blogs and podcasts. With a room full of HTI scholars, mentors, friends, and alumni, HTI launched Open Plaza during its reception at the AAR/SBL Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA in November 2019. Guests walked away, not only with Open Plaza t-shirts, journals, stickers, and bookmarks, but more importantly, with the excitement of the new possibilities that this new platform would bring to the community.
Since Open Plaza’s inception, contributors have uploaded seven blogs and six podcasts to In honor of Women’s History Month (March), we encourage you to read or listen to the following features by HTI Latina scholars:
Ella, mi Sagrada Madre
Dr. Xochitl Alvizo questions gendered Spanish and English God-talk.
Encounter with Daughters of Zelophehad
Dr. Sophia Magallanes shares her reclaiming story.
Chisme and its Cultural Importance
Dr. Neomi DeAnda, Dr. Jacqueline Hidalgo, and Dr. Matilde Moros take on gossip.
Motherhood and the Academy
Dr. Matilde Moros and Dr. Melissa Pagán reflect on birthing and mothering while in graduate school, and as professors.
Open Plaza will continue to share blogs and podcasts every Monday, so stay tuned and share them on social media with family members, friends, church communities, and students. Also, if you would like to contribute a blog or podcast, check out the submission guidelines on

In this edition of Journeys:


Dear Friends,

En Conjunto in 2019, your HTI celebrated the graduation of eleven HTI scholars, a record high, and launched HTI Open Plaza, an online platform that amplifies Latinx voices in the public square through blogs and podcasts. Already this year, we celebrate the defenses of Aizaiah Yong and Saul Barcelo at Claremont School of Theology, and Jennifer Fernandez at Graduate Theological Union. Students attribute their success at the dissertation stage to HTI’s editorial support, which includes a week of writing in the winter. In this issue of Journeys, we included a reflection from an HTI dissertation scholar and an HTI editor.

Also featured in this issue is an interview with Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Boston University (BU). HTI is grateful for Dean Moore and the legacy she will leave when she retires in 2021 from BU with four HTI graduates as faculty, and a growing Latinx student body that continues to build new Latinx initiatives which welcome Latinx Masters and PhD students.
Next, in the Scholars En Acción section you will read about how HTI scholars are having important and impactful conversations nationally and globally―like Dr. Cecilia González-Andrieu’s lecture “Vulnerability and Power,” presented at Radboud University in the Netherlands.

HTI invites you to enjoy this issue, celebrate new logros, and to add new publications to your personal and class reading lists!


Rev. Joanne Rodríguez
ECA and La Comunidad

Being Latinx in the academic world, we know that we need each other to thrive. For this reason, leaders from the En Conjunto Association (ECA) and La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of Religion (La Comunidad) have committed to a collaborative partnership. The joint goals of this partnership include supporting and promoting our work, broadening public reach, and enhancing and amplifying more spaces of collaboration for Latinx scholars in religion and theology to the end of furthering scholarship and community.

Día del Amor

The En Conjunto Association values the incredible friendships that have blossomed at HTI over the past 23 years. On Día del Amor y Amistad, we highlighted the impact of these friendships on our communities that have strengthened a supportive network for Latinx scholars in religion and theology. Amor y Amistad is part of what drives our en conjunto writing, projects, and partnerships. We showed appreciation to those friends, partners, and loved ones working and walking with us. #EnConjunto.


Last but not least, if you are not a member of the ECA, we would love you to become a part of the association. Review the updated annual membership structure and sign up with an amount that works for you:

$15 Suggested for recent graduates, friends of HTI
$30 Suggested for adjuncts, lecturers, friends of HTI
$60 Suggested for tenured and tenure-track faculty, friends of HTI

While suggested membership rates are provided, you may join at whatever amount is most financially comfortable for you, because what is most important is that YOU become an ECA member. Full benefits are available at every rate. Remember that your membership provides varied opportunities to stay connected and to impact current and future generations of Latinx scholars.



Waves of Discovery through HTI

“We are grateful to be riding the waves and finding ourselves in the deep water where we will continue to learn."

These are the profound words shared by Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, Dean of Boston University School of Theology (HTI Member School), as she spoke of the impact of the Hispanic Theological Initiative on the transformation of her institution. During the HTI Consortium Annual Member Council Meeting in San Diego this past November, Moore delivered a moving presentation on the relationship between BU and HTI.

HTI Student Aide, Missy Roberts, followed up with Moore about this important connection.

Missy Roberts: How did Boston University become part of HTI?

Mary Elizabeth Moore: When I received the invitation to be part of HTI, I originally decided to wait until the following year. Then, two or three weeks after the invitation, a student interested in graduate studies conditioned their acceptance to enroll at Boston University on our decision to join the HTI Consortium.

We already had good momentum in BU School of Theology with a growing number of Latinx faculty before we joined HTI in 2013. Once the prospective student came to me and we joined HTI officially, we had a sudden wave of new momentum. The students were supported by a faculty member who had already been building initiatives into the life of the school, and our joining HTI initiated the first major wave of cultural change, building on the established foundations.

Roberts: How has being a member of the HTI Consortium impacted Boston University School of Theology?

Moore: The first wave shaped BU as we built culture, leadership, and enrollment. In that first year, we enrolled two PhD students, who thrived with the opportunities and mentoring of the HTI. Since then, we have had two to four HTI scholars every year. The momentum created by the earliest waves moved us to a point where we began to see transformation in our institution. Our relationship with HTI has helped us develop a new sense of who we are. The first wave of momentum was quickly followed by a second wave of Latinx students desiring to study at BU School of Theology (BUSTH). Our students come from many countries, corners of the U.S., and cultural backgrounds. They also have rich life experiences that they offer the BUSTH community, creating new opportunities for themselves, for the school, and for churches and theological institutions. They are movers and shakers, and they blossom with the opportunities that HTI provides.

A third wave came in the form of faculty-building. We have grown to six excellent Latinx professors, scholars, researchers, mentors, and leaders. These faculty have family origins in five different countries and several regions of the United States, and they represent six different fields of teaching and research. Each one of them has contributed significantly to our culture of teaching, research, and community service, alongside faculty of other cultural and ethnic origins. In our faculty now, we have three HTI graduates, so we are not only able to enhance the education of our PhD students but we also receive excellently prepared faculty, thanks to HTI. I realize that all of our theological institutions are involved in communal work, and HTI is the leaven that makes the loaf rise.

All of the early waves, for us, contribute to a fourth wave in which we have been able to initiate and expand programs that build leadership and solidarity. Our Latinx faculty and students have been building student, church, and community organizations and programs for almost 10 years. The waves of change made possible by seven years of HTI membership have helped us create and strengthen many new and continuing initiatives. These have included Raíces Latinas Student Organization; the Hispanic Youth Leadership Academy (UMC academy co-led with other schools and conferences); support for the Garrett-Evangelical Portuguese Course of Study; the Raíces Latinas Leadership Institute; and Casa Raíces Latinas (an intentional living community related to a local church). More recently, we have added three major academic and programmatic structures: Raíces Latinas Student Fellowships; Certificate in Theology and Latinx Studies; and the Raíces Latinas Program in Theology, Leadership, and Research. The fourth wave has extended and deepened the structural changes in the BU School of Theology.

Roberts: You speak about BU’s involvement with HTI in terms of ocean waves. What made you choose this metaphor?

Moore: The relationship between the BU School of Theology and the HTI has created movements of change within and beyond our school. Many of the changes have been possible through partnership with others—with the HTI, other schools, churches, and the Hispanic Summer Program. The movement has never been static, and we have never arrived at a final destination. We have instead been part of a spirited movement that is critically important to us. The HTI relationship nourishes, challenges, and expands the movement, and we are grateful to be riding the waves and finding ourselves in the deep water where we will continue to learn.

All but Dissertation (ABD)!
Several HTI Scholars passed comprehensive exams and successfully defended their dissertation proposal:
  • Diana Rodríguez Click – Emory University
  • Fellipe Do Vale – Southern Methodist University
  • Alberto La Rosa Rojas  – Duke Divinity School
  • Adam Pérez – Duke Divinity School
  • Jorge Juan Rodríguez V – Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
  • Alma Tinoco Ruíz –Duke Divinity School
  • José Santana – Southern Methodist University
  • Eric Sias – Duke Divinity School
Congratulations on this important achievement!

Dissertation Defense
HTI congratulates Yvette Garcia (2019-2020 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar), who successfully defended on December 13, 2019 her dissertation titled, “Revivalism and Restorationism: The Brownsville Revival and its Leaders’ Paradoxical Defense” at Baylor University.

On January 31, 2020, Jennifer Fernández (2019-2020 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar) successfully defended her dissertation at Graduate Theological Union with distinction and the added bonus of having no revision required! The title of her dissertation is, “Theology of Bread and Roses: A Feminist Relational Theology Embracing Women's Social Movements as Divine In-Breaking.”

Aizaiah Yong (2019-2020 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar) gave HTI the news that on February 21, 2020 he successfully defended his dissertation titled, “Living in the Compassionate Presence of Life: Spirituality and Care for Multi/Racial Experience(s)” at Claremont School of Theology. Congratulations Aizaiah!

Claremont School of Theology can now announce that Saul Barcelo (2019-2020 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar) successfully defended his dissertation titled, “Defiant Faith and the Colonial Matrix: The Role of Religion in the Formation of the Zapatista National Liberation Army and the Fight for Liberation in the Lacandon Jungle" on Friday, February 28, 2020.  Congratulations to Saul for this accomplishment!


La Comunidad AAR/SBL
Please join your HTI in congratulating Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier (1997-1998 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor, Curriculum Review Committee Member) on receiving the 2019 La Comunidad Lifetime Achievement Award from the Executive Committee of La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of Religion, the oldest organization of Latinx scholars recognized by AAR/SBL, founded in 1989. The purpose and goal of the award is to recognize, foster, and encourage a lifetime of scholarship and service on behalf of the Latinx community. Students, scholars, and administrators nominate candidates for this award based on their demonstrated impact on the field of Latinx Religions in the Americas, as well as their commitment to the Latinx scholarly community, the Latinx community at large, students, teaching and/or mentoring, advocacy for social justice, and an exemplary life.
Enhorabuena to Dr. Conde-Frazier for this well-deserved recognition!

HTI Scholar Receives Kenan Institute Fellowship

Please join your HTI in congratulating Alberto La Rosa Rojas (2019-2020 Proposal and Research Year Scholar) who was selected as a recipient of the Kenan Institute for Ethics Graduate Fellowship at Duke University. The grant provides funding for outstanding graduate students at Duke University whose dissertation research “engages in interesting ways with significant normative issues.” The aim of the fellowship program is to enhance scholars’ ability to contribute to debates involving ethical issues through an interdisciplinary approach. La Rosa Rojas wrestles with the ethical and theological dimensions of immigration, home, and belonging, and hopes to be a voice in future policies regarding immigration.  

New Appointments

The American Society of Church History elects its first President
The American Society of Church History (ASCH) is undergoing a period of introspection and change. The 2020 meeting built on and furthered the new directions signaled in the 2019 meeting, and prepared the way for even deeper transformation of the guild in the 2021 meeting. Among the changes is the creation of intentional mentoring spaces and times for graduate students, junior faculty, and contingent faculty. Dr. Daniel Ramírez (2002-2003 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor, HTI Steering Committee Member) is the first elected president of the Society, breaking with a 130-year tradition of appointments. Importantly, Jorge J. Rodríguez V. (2019-2020 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar) is the first elected Graduate Student Representative on the ASCH Council. Thus, the overall structure has been primed to facilitate graduate student involvement and growth. Also this year, the ASCH kicked off unprecedented 3-year working groups that challenge members to work collaboratively in the following areas/themes: 1) Church History as a Global Discipline; 2) Korean Christianities in Diasporic Contexts; and 3) Latino/a and Latin American Christian Histories.

University of Scranton Has a New Dean

Beginning July 1, the University of Scranton will welcome a new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  Accepting this position is Dr. Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado (1998-1999 HTI Doctoral Scholar, HTI Book Prize Winner, HTI Mentor). University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., stated in an announcement sent to the University community: “Dr. Maldonado’s leadership experience in working with academic deans, faculty, students, and professional advisors, complemented by her dedication to and care of historically underrepresented and first-generation college students, will make her a great asset at Scranton.” Maldonado will be leaving her position at the University of Miami whose faculty she joined in 2006.
Congratulations to Dr. Maldonado!

Graduate Theological Union Alum Gets Promotion

Graduate Theological Union promoted Dr. Wendy Arce (2011-2012 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI En Conjunto Association) to the position of Associate Dean of Students.  Congratulations, Dr. Arce!

Chicago Theological Seminary Appoints Assistant Professor of Latinx Studies and Religion

Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) is pleased to announce that Dr. José Francisco Morales Torres (2018-2019 HTI Dissertation Scholar) will join the faculty as Assistant Professor of Latinx Studies and Religion July 1, 2020. Morales is a historical and comparative theologian who places historical voices into conversation with historically marginalized voices, within and beyond the Christian tradition, offering radical re-articulations of the affirmations of faith for today’s realities.

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder notes, “The addition of Professor Morales will help CTS recapture its engagement with Latinx constituencies while providing courses reflecting these communities, their histories, and their theologies.”

ELCA Calls HTI Scholar to New Churchwide Position

Dr. Carmelo Santos (2005-2006 Dissertation Year Scholar), current Senior Pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Annandale, VA, has been called by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Organization to serve as their new Director for Theological Diversity and Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement. Santos began this exciting work with the ELCA in January. Regarding his new position, Santos shares the following:

“I look forward to bringing what I have learned from accompanying la comunidad en sus luchas to inform the theological thinking and decision-making of the church as it discerns how to embody the love of Christ in a world wounded by hate, prejudice, inequality, and violence.”

¡Felicidades, Dr. Santos!

Other Logros

Dr. Orlando Espín Achieves Emeritus Status

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies (THRS) celebrates the news that Dr. Orlando Espín (HTI Mentor, Selection Committee Member) has been honored with emeritus faculty status in the University of San Diego (USD) College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Espín was known for teaching ‘three preps’ (three different courses each semester) so that students could explore a greater variety of curricular offerings during their time at USD. The author of many books and more than three hundred essays in theology, Dr. Espín is recognized as a pioneer who has broken new theological ground in areas that include tradition and traditioning, culture and intercultural communication, the sense of the faithful, popular religious expressions, and popular Catholicism in particular. Dr. Espín is the recipient of the 2016 John Courtney Murray Award (lifetime achievement award) from the Catholic Theological Society of America and was named a USD University Professor in 2017. Dr. Orlando Espín is the sixth THRS faculty member to achieve emeritus status.

Congratulations, Dr. Orlando Espín!

Wheaton College Grants Tenure to Latinx Professor

Dr. Carlos Raúl Sosa Siliezar (Associate Professor of New Testament) was recently granted tenure at Wheaton College. His sabbatical during the 2020-2021 academic year will include research in the area of Latin American, Latino, and Latina New Testament hermeneutics, with a focus on how the Bible has been used, appropriated, and interpreted in contexts of injustice, conflict, poverty, and suffering. Dr. Sosa will also teach and participate in curriculum development at the Facultad de Teología of Universidad Mariano Gálvez in Guatemala.


Provocative, Political, Public

The landscape in the United States has become more precarious than ever for vulnerable bodies (women, children, and immigrants from different nations), but Dr. Cecilia González-Andrieu (2006-2007 HTI Dissertation Scholar, HTI Mentor) refuses to be silent.  As an activist-scholar, she has lectured in the United States, Belgium, and the Netherlands. HTI asked González-Andrieu to expand on her lecture in the Netherlands called “Vulnerability and Power”:

Why did you pick the title “Vulnerability and Power” for your lecture at Radboud University in the Netherlands?

The Annual Schillebeeckx lecture is co-sponsored by Radboud’s series “Radboud Reflects.” It is a public lecture, videotaped and also published, meant to engage the larger culture. I wanted to reach out to the community in the Netherlands out of the cotidianidad that we are living with in the United States right now, to give them a glimpse into the Latinx community’s radical vulnerability under Trumpism. Along with that vulnerability comes the insight of somehow being able to say something that seems impossible: “¡Sí se puede!” Our communities embody vulnerability through Resilience, the name of our student organization for immigrant rights at Loyola Marymount University, and in the history of movements, such as those embodied by Cesar Chávez and Dolores Huerta with the United Farm Workers. From where does that belief and resolve to act with power come? Can it provide a window to others in the world of how they can act with power and make community with the vulnerable?

We noted that you move from Poder (a noun) to poder (a verb). Why?

Our Latinidad has amazing treasures that can help the rest of the world, and our double meaning of power is one of them. I speak of Poder (I differentiate it by using the capital P) as the power over life—the power of death wielded by those who crucify, put children in cages, and build walls. I also speak of it as the power of corruption, because this kind of power is coveted and negotiated. I speak of poder (lower case p) as the verb expressed in “Sí se puede” and most assuredly seen working in the lives of the women in Scripture who lacked Poder and yet managed to touch Jesus’ garments, wash his feet with their tears, and stay by him at the foot of the cross. This verb of poder means fearlessness, guts, and resolve. It is what I see in our communities and it is what we need to harness in ourselves and share with others, so that we can defeat the death-dealing Poder that so threatens our world’s most vulnerable and our environment.

Why is this important for your audience to understand and what difference do you believe this understanding will make?

Whenever I share an insight like this with others, the greatest hope I can have is that they find it liberating. That is the work of the Holy Spirit, and for me that is what marks a theological insight as truly serving the work of building the kin-dom (Dr. Ada María Isasi-Díaz’s spelling) of God. I had many experiences during the lectures I gave, and one particularly at Radboud has stayed with me and perhaps answers your question. After the lecture, we had a gathering to talk and share coffee—and some people were quite enjoying Belgian beer. This very tall young woman approached me, so I looked up at her face (I am very short) and saw that she was visibly moved. Then she told me in her beautiful Dutch accent, 'I wasn’t going to come tonight. I had heard about it, but I was tired after working all day. But I am so glad I came.” I asked her to tell me more, and she said, “I work in a world of men, only men. I am invisible, like you described the women of Scripture, and sometimes I feel very alone.” I asked her what her work was. “I am a Navy chaplain, the only female. Today I found out I am not alone, that women have a way of claiming power that is very different from men, that I can claim this power.” We hugged, she wiped her eyes, and I thanked her. Imagine that, a young Dutch woman on the other side of the world, trying to faithfully live out her ministry as a chaplain, learning from our Latinx theological insights that she is much closer to the kin-dom and that we are indeed her kin! It was beautiful, and that is what I am hoping to do as I take our theology out to others: to be provocative, political, and public. Our experiences in the United States at this moment in history bring us into a special relationship with the Scriptures and with the tradition of the church when it finds its real strength and voice with and for the “least.”

González-Andrieu is a 2006-2007 HTI Dissertation Scholar and has also served as an HTI Mentor. You can find her entire lecture here.

A Time to Write
Every January, HTI brings together the dissertation scholars to write, engage with their cohort, and meet with their editors. Coming to Princeton Theological Seminary also gives the scholars an opportunity to take advantage of the library and all it has to offer. Your Journeys staff asked an HTI Dissertation Scholar and one of their editors to share their unique perspectives on this week:
For Martin Rodríguez, doctoral candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary, the Dissertation Writers’ Week was “like a wellness resort getaway for nerds!”  He shares, “As the pastor of a church in Hollywood and the papa of two young children, uninterrupted times for research and writing are a rare blessing. The opportunity to step away for a whole week of binge-writing was a much-needed break from the many voices clamoring for my attention at home.”
Rodríguez identified two aspects of this week in January that were particularly life-giving for him. The first was his personal meeting with Joanne Rodríguez on Tuesday morning. In his own words, “Our executive director’s sincere concern for my personal well-being—not just my academic progress—and her words of wisdom and encouragement (¡Sí se puede!) were both comforting and inspiring. My dissertation engages leadership theory, so I am constantly assessing leadership practices. Joanne’s relational approach to leadership is truly exceptional.” The second life-giving aspect of the week was the ‘check-in’ after dinner each evening. “The last ten months of writing have been packed with disruptive and unexpected topes y agujeros. There were discouraging weeks when my writing stalled out altogether, and, as is perhaps common among young scholars, I have often questioned the worth of my work. I was in one of these dissertation doldrums when I arrived at the Writers’ Week. I am so thankful for HTI’s editors, Ulrike Guthrie and Catherine Osborne, and for my fellow scholars. Our non-judgmental and validating conversations about our ups and downs through this process were profoundly refreshing for me.”
Dissertation Writers’ Week participants had the opportunity to meet with HTI’s Steering Committee and share a meal at Dr. Eric Barreto’s home. Regarding this experience, Rodríguez expressed: “HTI’s Steering Committee rocks! I am grateful for the leadership of this remarkable team and for the chance to laugh with them over dinner on Friday and Saturday evening. (By the way, desserts at Professor Barreto’s home were one of the highlights of my week!)”
Dr. Catherine Osborne began working as an editor with the HTI’s dissertation scholars in 2019. She shares her experience in working with your scholars and attending the Writers’ Week:
“When I finished my own dissertation, I thought I was done with dissertations forever... Little did I know! I have been editing with HTI for a year now, and it has been an immense and unexpected joy to plunge into the thought of such a diverse and fascinating group of people. With my students’ current projects ranging from the Islamic middle ages to Puerto Rican decolonial theology, I am amazed at the breadth of expertise HTI has to offer even from its emerging scholars, not to mention its mentors. Yet as much as I have enjoyed engaging with the scholars individually, for me the Writers’ Weeks (I just finished my second) have truly showcased what HTI does. At meals and check-ins, I can literally watch community emerging and solidifying: genuine interest being displayed in others’ projects, wry laughter about the shared challenges of organizing huge amounts of reading and research into coherent chapters, teasing camps of night owls and morning people developing. It is clear how much it matters to everyone there to have a group of people that really gets it—and not only about the issues that every early scholar shares, but about those particular to navigating an overwhelmingly white academy. As a part-time Catholic Worker, I am sort of professionally required to believe in the value of assembling people around a table, feeding them, and setting off conversations about important topics. The Writers’ Weeks bring this alive, feeding body, soul, and intellect together. I am so grateful to have a place at the table.”

HTI Mentor Explores Relationship between Coloniality, Race, and Catastrophe

What does coloniality have to do with catastrophe? Harvard Divinity School’s Dr. Mayra Rivera (HTI Mentor) explored this question with a wide assortment of scholars at a Colloquium on November 1, 2019. Rivera shares the following about her experience of the event:

"‘Coloniality, Race, Catastrophe’ is part of a series of colloquia examining the ways in which coloniality and race shape religious imaginaries and the very categories we consider central to the study of religion. The choice of the word ‘catastrophe’ was prompted by the cultural resurgence of allusions to the ‘end of the world’ in response to a sense of imminent ecological threat, which became more personal to me in the aftermath of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, home to my family. ‘Catastrophe’ is a secularized version of ‘apocalypse.’ In the case of climate catastrophe, it includes characteristic elements of apocalyptic scripts: discernment of signs, judgment, temporal rupture, and revelation. To illuminate the current allusions to catastrophe, we analyzed them in relation to the legacies of colonialism and race, resurfacing histories of previous catastrophes, tracing the colonial/racial dimensions of current or impending disasters, and seeking alternative imaginaries for ‘ends’ and ‘worlds.’”

Rivera currently teaches a course at HDS by the same name that studies different uses of “catastrophe” to denounce the destruction of a particular world, re-imagine the past, or proclaim the impossibilities of the present. Through readings and discussions, her students analyze the aims, effectiveness, and limitations of talk of catastrophe in the contemporary context.

She is grateful for the opportunity to host this important event, as well as for the participation of panelists including Dr. Jacqueline Hidalgo (HTI Steering Committee Member), who presented on “La Lucha for Home and La Lucha as Home: Latinx/a/o Theologies and Ecologies.”

Cafecito, Composition, and Community Building
Cafecito, composition, and community building were the names of the game for Jorge Juan Rodríguez V (2019-2020 HTI Proposal/Research Scholar) on October 25, 2019 at the Puerto Rican Studies Association Graduate Student Symposium (Grad Symposium) at the University of Connecticut.
Spearheaded by scholars like Dr. Marisol LeBrón (UT Austin) and PhD candidate Sarah Molinari (CUNY Graduate Center), the Grad Symposium brought together seven PhD candidates, selected through a competitive application process, to share a piece of writing connected to their dissertation topic. In the interest of cultivating community and providing generative feedback, presenting scholars sent an article-length writing sample to the other participants as well as to a group of faculty from UT Austin who served as mentors for the event. After a morning of cafecito, community building, and one-on-one time with faculty mentors, each student received feedback on his/her written work for 20-30 minutes from the group of colleagues. Rodríguez V, narrates his experience below:
“Although I am primarily a historian of religion, my scholarship and dissertation are intentionally interdisciplinary, drawing from social theory and liberation theologies, as well as Puerto Rican, Latinx, and Ethnic Studies. As such, it is important to me that my work speaks to scholars in those diverse fields. By presenting at the Grad Symposium, my hopes were 1) to put my work to the test and see if it could speak to wider audiences and 2) to gain new languages and frames through which to deepen and expand my dissertation. What I gained from the Grad Symposium was so much more.
Sitting with some of the most brilliant sociologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, education scholars, historians, and philosophers in Puerto Rican Studies, I was empowered to learn that my work could speak across disciplines. However, because of how the conference organizers set up the space—with a sensitivity to feminist and queer pedagogies—I left with more than feedback on my work; I left with a new community. Over the course of the Symposium, we scholars offered one another counsel on our work from a perspective of care that centered on each person’s stakes, communities of concern, and academic fields. In between intense conversation, we sat with each other over drinks and meals, learning one another's stories and motivations. I left the Symposium with new colleagues in a variety of fields doing incredible work. I am excited to continue collaborating with them in the future.”
Remaining Hopeful by Theologizing Globally

“Theologians and religious scholars often reflect on globalization’s impact on tradition, transnational migration, and the planet. It is not often, however, that we gather scholars and faith communities from around the world to theologize together. It is not often that we look at the larger American continent (North, Central, South, and the Caribbean) as a space to expand horizons and learn/teach religion with a sense of mutuality,” reflects Dr. Hosffman Ospino.

Fortunately, for these scholars, the twenty-year anniversary of St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation, Ecclesia in America, celebrated on October 16-18 in Rio de Janeiro, brought together thirty Latinx theologians from across the American continent for a conversation that revisited the saint’s invitation to identify “all that is common to the peoples of the continent, including their shared Christian identity and their genuine attempt to strengthen the bonds of solidarity and communion.” Dr. Lucas Cerviño, an Argentinian scholar of theology, religion, and interculturality, expresses hope for change and its importance: “If politics and the economy place barriers between North and Latin America, theology seeks to build bridges and open roads.”

The Seminário Internacional Ecclesia in America, hosted by Pontifical Catholic University Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (PCU Rio), and organized by Dr. María Clara Bingemer (PCU, Rio) and Dr. Peter Casarella (HTI Mentor, HTI Member Council and Steering Committee Chair), fostered a continental conversation with global flavor with intellectuals from various theological disciplines, representing eight countries in the Americas, and diverse in age, gender, church affiliation, and ordained and lay-leadership. Topics ranged from theological methods; pastoral and formative methods; approaches to the teaching of Pope Francis; women and feminism; ecology and theology; decolonial theology and native peoples; and the future of Latin American theology in the United States and Latin America.

The Very Rev. Dr. Raúl Gómez-Ruiz (1999-2000 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor) responded to Dr. Sandra Arenas’ (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile) paper on the loss of credibility of the Catholic Church in general in South America due to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. The event created an open network between North and Latin American theologians to address the continent’s shared theological challenges with an approach of mutual enrichment between Latin American and Latinx theologies. In frank and personally challenging conversations, participants discussed the loss of the Church’s socio-cultural relevance, the serious consequences of the neoliberal and techno-scientific system, and the challenge of pluralism against polarization and traditionalism.  Cerviño remains hopeful in theology’s ability to unify a diverse continent, sharing, “A promising way is opening up to promote a theological movement that breathes the same spirit that runs through all of America, while at the same time holding onto contextual specificities and richness.” The results of these conversations will be published in the near future.
Collaboration among Black and Brown Women Ethnographers at Vanderbilt University
Within the humanities, researchers are increasingly understanding their work as involved storytelling, rather than as detached factual description. Two research approaches—ethnography and Womanism—affirm this truth in their emphasis on the lived experiences of real groups of people.       
A year ago, Associate Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture, Phillis Isabella Sheppard, made her dream come true by initiating a Womanist Ethnography Conference.  Sheppard had shared how valuable this conference was with Dr. Edwin Aponte (1997-1998 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar), Executive Director of the Louisville Institute. With Louisville’s support, black and brown ethnographers gathered on October 26, 2019 at HTI Consortium member institution, Vanderbilt Divinity School.
Attending the event and reflecting upon their experience were Arelis Benítez (2019-2020 HTI Comprehensive Year Scholar) and Alexandra Rosado-Román (2019-2020 HTI Second-Year Scholar) of Vanderbilt Divinity School and Yolanda M. Santiago Correa (2019-2020 HTI Second-Year Scholar) of Southern Methodist University.
This conference fostered a spirit of en conjunto storytelling in a space with a diverse group of black and brown women ethnographers. Benítez shared that “facilitating a workshop on ethnographic methods among accomplished scholars and newcomers demonstrated the importance and effectiveness of collaborative work.” Though not a womanist herself, Benítez believes in the strength of engaging in cross-cultural dialogue and “making efforts to live into the methods and future we write about in our scholarship.” Like HTI, the conference served as a bridge between academic disciplines and real, lived experiences.
Santiago Correa and Rosado-Román participated in a discussion panel titled, “Cueste lo que cueste: A Conversation on Puerto Rico and the Decolonization of Ethnography.”   These HTI scholars proposed a decolonized view of ethnography that grounded their ideas in the massive mobilization exercised by the people of Puerto Rico to successfully remove former Governor Ricardo Roselló Nevares. This mobilization and its decentered nature served as a driving force for reinterpreting ethnography, prioritizing the lived experience, “which requires that you put your body first, and you code later to fully understand why you selected the codes and methods used.”
Rosado-Román also shared that this type of decolonial research not only validates but actually demands a method for getting involved in public life: “It is the means through which observant becomes participant. It is an embodied praxis of seeking justice and not self-gain." Santiago Correa agrees, stating, “Through ethnographical methods that center the community instead of the researcher, the tradition of the academy is decolonized. Such research places the authority on the people to tell their own story.”
The key takeaway of these HTI scholars’ reflections is that regardless of location, place, or space, the struggle to define themselves and make the stories of their people known continues. According to Benítez, “Through decolonial ethnographic research, we continue to fight for the voices and stories of those who have historically been denied self-determination. In this way, we decolonize, re-imagine, self-determine, challenge… and ultimately, flip the script and take the power back.”
All three scholars agree, “de norte a sur, de este a oeste, esta lucha sigue cueste lo que cueste/from north to south, from east to west, the struggle, continues no matter the cost.”
Yale Latinx & Latin American Christianity Concentration

Do you know someone who is interested in the intersection between Latin American Studies and Christian Theology? If so, they may want to check out the Latinx and Latin American Christianity Concentration program at Yale Divinity School recently developed by Dr. Benjamín Valentín (1999-2000 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor).

Approved in the 2017-2018 academic year, the MA program in Latinx and Latin American Christianity is currently in its second year at Yale. Dr. Valentín, shared, “It is no small achievement, or logro, to have an MA program dedicated to the study of Latinx and Latin American Religion and Theology at a top-tier research institution like Yale. It is all the more noteworthy when the program makes particular scholarship money available to qualifying applicants. Indeed, it is my hope that many within our Latinx and Latin American community will take advantage of this unique opportunity in the years to come. I will also note that, although Yale does not yet have a corresponding program at the doctoral level, it is possible for PhD students to apply to one of the school's existing programs in religion or theology and to prod it in the direction of a Latinx and/or Latin American emphasis. Across its many schools and departments, the university currently has enough resources in the areas of Latinx and Latin American studies to make this possible.”

Dr. Valentín suggested that interested MA and PhD applicants mention his name in the application materials, for this will increase the possibility of him being consulted during the admissions process.

Find more information about the program here.

HTI Scholars in the Public Eye

Given the immense amount of time and energy that your HTI leaders pour into their classrooms, research, and mentorship, one might assume that they have little left for the public square. Don’t be mistaken! Members of the HTI familia are not only serving as successful professors and mentors in the arena of theological education; they are also involved in ministries and speaking to issues in the public realm. Here are some examples of their appearances in popular media since the publication of our last issue of Journeys:

In November 2019, Ted-Ed Animation published a video of Dr. Theresa Yugar’s (2011-2012 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar) educational work on Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz for their Celebrating Women Series. The video, accompanied by supplementary curriculum, details the life of “history’s worst nun” and the woman many refer to as Latin America’s first feminist. To date, Yugar’s video has more than 2,300,000 views!

On November 28, 2019, Dr. Mariana Alessandri (2008-2009 Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor) wrote an opinion piece for in response to the 51st anniversary of the first taping of the classic children's show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." In her article, It’s a Terrible Day in the Neighborhood, and That’s O.K.," she argued that Mister “Fred” Rogers, like Aristotle, believed that feelings—even negative ones—are all OK. Instead of trying to force kids (or ourselves) to smile, we should accept the range of feelings and focus more on our behavior, what Aristotle calls our “active condition.” Feelings like anger and sadness are natural and need not be changed, but the behavior that they inspire can and should be managed virtuously.

This past December, Princeton Theological Seminary’s Dr. Eric Barreto (2008-2009 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor, HTI Steering Committee Member) helped debunk common myths about the birth of Jesus during an interview with CBS News correspondent, Nikki Battiste. In CBS’s program on nativity scenes, titled “From the Artistic to the Living,” Barreto explained that there are actually two stories of Jesus’ birth that have become conflated over time—one in the gospel of Matthew and one in the gospel of Luke; one with magi and one with shepherds. Yet, for Barreto, part of the beauty of the scene is that “it contains multitudes within it.”

During the same month, Dr. María del Socorro Castañeda (2003-2004 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar), author of Our Lady of Everyday Life: La Virgen de Guadalupe and the Catholic Imagination of Mexican Women in America, was featured in a National Geographic article about an annual religious pilgrimage to Mexico City. Castañeda spoke of the Virgin’s importance to those who are marginalized, and commented that in nearly 150 interviews, women referred to Guadalupe as one who calls to action rather than encourages submissiveness.
In January, Claremont Graduate University’s Dr. Daniel Ramírez (2002-2003 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor, HTI Steering Committee Member) spoke with Religion News Service’s Alejandra Molina regarding the controversial church, La Luz del Mundo. This Mexican Pentecostal church’s leader, Naasón Joaquín García, was arrested on suspicion of committing various sex crimes involving minors. You can read Ramírez’s take on it here.

Jorge Juan Rodríguez V (2019-2020 HTI Proposal Research Scholar) was published in Enclave Magazine this past January. In his article, “The Colonial Gospel in Puerto Rico,” he discusses the historical impact of U.S. colonialism on the island, specifically through missions.

Recently, Catholic Theological Union in Chicago’s Dr. Cármen Nanko-Fernández (HTI Mentor) published two articles in the National Catholic Reporter. In the piece, Good intentions, right representation and writing latinidad,” Nanko-Fernández calls out the misrepresentation and erasure of Latinx migrants depicted in the novel, American Dirt. Her other article, Querido Franciso, is a theological response to Pope Francis’ four sueños that were presented in the Querida Amazonia.

These are some of the diverse forms through which HTI Scholars and Mentors remain connected and relevant to Latinx communities across the nation and globally.

Difference as Gift: Acts in Arizona

Are differences a curse we seek to eradicate or a gift we must embrace in the academy, the church, and the world? These and other questions were explored in a course titled “The Book of Acts in Easter Worship,” taught by Dr. Eric Barreto (2008-2009 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor, HTI Steering Committee Member) and Dr. Martin Tel. The course was designed to integrate the theology of the Book of Acts with the creation of bilingual worship liturgies for the Easter season. This Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) course took place in Arizona and key public issues included were migration, racial justice, and the environment.

Missy Roberts, an HTI Student Aide and second-year MDiv student who came to PTS after serving in a bilingual, multicultural congregation in Milwaukee, WI, reflects on her experience of Acts in Arizona:

“One lesson I will always carry with me is the following expressed by Dr. Barreto: ‘Because of your unique story and identity, there are things you will be able to see in the biblical text that your neighbor won’t be able to see, and vice versa.’ Dr. Barreto went on to say that when we miss out on the diverse perspectives of our neighbors, be they down the street or across the globe, we miss out on a more complete witness of who God is and what God is doing in our world.

"With a conviction of God’s long-held desire for diversity, Dr. Barreto challenges the popular misconception that Pentecost is a reversal of the ‘curse’ of the Tower of Babel. He cites the fact that God depicted in Acts 2 chooses to speak the mother tongue of each believer, rather than in some universal language. ‘Language is about people,’ he adds. ‘And unity does not mean uniformity.’

"Because ours is a God who delights in becoming fluent in each of our linguistic and cultural expressions, we spent much of our time learning from local congregations, including Memorial Presbyterian Church, a bilingual, bicultural faith community in Phoenix. Pastors Cynthia Jennison and Martha Lopez Loredo taught us further about the beautiful, messy reality of God’s activity manifest in diversity. We also studied and sang from the newly-published bilingual hymnal, Santo, Santo, Santo: Cantos para el pueblo de Dios / Holy, Holy, Holy: Songs for the People of God,which we were able to give to congregations in the Phoenix community as a resource.

"Through all of this, God reminded me that differences are a gift that enriches our understanding of the academy, the church, and the world.”
Deconstructing U.S. Latinx Christianities as a way to construct En Conjunto Understanding

“I am beyond encouraged and energized to finally encounter the names of prominent Latinx theologians and historians—like Dr. Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Dr. Ada María Isasi-Díaz (HTI Mentor), and Juan González—on a seminary syllabus. Dr. Raimundo Barreto (HTI Mentor) not only features these voices but makes them central to his course. Additionally, Dr. Barreto includes HTI scholars like Dr. Daniel Ramírez (2002-2003 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor, Steering Committee Member) and Dr. Néstor Medina (2006-2007 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, 2012-2013 Book Prize Winner, Perspectivas Editor), as well as HTI’s online peer-reviewed bilingual journal, Perspectivas. I am also heartened by Dr. Barreto’s emphasis on the complexity and heterogeneity packed into the term, ‘Latinx.’ Other courses tend to lump all Latinx and Latin American theologians together, overlooking the immense diversity of experiences, histories, theologies, and cultures within them. In fact, sometimes professors attempt to fuse all minoritized voices, as though there were only one perspective other than that of the dominant majority culture. So far, this class has been a dream come true and what I hoped seminary could be,” second-year MDiv student, Missy Roberts, shared after attending a highly sought-after course titled Introduction to U.S. Latinx Christianities taught by Dr. Raimundo Barreto (HTI Mentor), Assistant Professor of World Christianity at Princeton Theological Seminary.

The course pays particular attention to Mujerista perspectives and contributions to Latinx faith, as well as to the growing influence of Pentecostalism among U.S. Latinx Christians. Lissette Gonzalez Sosa, a first-year MDiv student who came to seminary after serving diverse migrant communities in Vineland, NJ shares, “Intro to U.S. Latinx Christianities has been an awakening experience as a U.S.-born Latina. The syllabus broadly represents many Latinx theologians and historians who have produced important textured academic works. The course challenges us to be ethno-historians, with deep theoretical understanding of the subject matter. As someone who has worked with diverse migrant communities in Vineland, I am grateful for a course that advances and deepens my understanding.” These and other students are grateful for Dr. Barreto’s course and also for the inclusion of Latinx scholars in Princeton Theological Seminary’s annual World Christianity Conference this March.

Looking Forward with Hope: Reflections on the Present State and Future of Theological Education
by Benjamín Valentín
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: Cascade Books (November 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 149823013X
ISBN-13: 978-1498230131

Theological schools are currently facing a perfect storm of jeopardies that threaten their future prospects and even survivability. The squall is all the more menacing for free-standing seminaries that are not connected to a university, and especially for free-standing mainline Protestant or mainline denominational seminaries. This book brings together a stellar and diverse cast of administrators and professors working within different theological schools to reflect on the present crisis of theological education, and on the question of the possible future of mainline Protestant and mainline denominational theological schools in the United States.

Unmasking Latinx Ministry for Episcopalians: An Anglican Approach
by Carla E. Roland Guzmán
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Church Pub Inc (February 17, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1640651500
ISBN-13: 978-1640651500

A look through a Latinx lens at how the Episcopal/Anglican church can minister to and with the Latinx community.

Unmasking Latinx Ministry is a unique look at the history of the Episcopal Church in the last fifty years, including a bold and insightful analysis of the institutionalization of Latinx ministries. This history is contextualized within the struggles of the Episcopal Church in terms of race, gender, and sexuality.

Through a Latinx lens, the author brings fresh eyes to the challenges faced by the Episcopal Church's ministry with and among Latinx persons and communities. Along with the historical analysis and insight, the author brings a background and formation in Episcopal churches in Puerto Rico, Texas, California and Central New York, as well as more than fifteen years of experience in a multicultural and multiracial, monolingual and bilingual congregations in New York City. Combining this history and ministry experience, the author explores specific areas where Episcopal/Anglican traditions speak to Latinx ministries and what Latinx persons and communities offer the Episcopal Church today.
The Spiritual Evolution of Margarito Bautista: Mexican Mormon Evangelizer, Polygamist Dissident, and Utopian Founder, 1878-1961 by Elisa Eastwood Pulido
Hardcover: 344 pages
Publisher: OUP USA (7 May 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 019094210X
ISBN-13: 978-0190942106

This book is the first full-length biography of Margarito Bautista (1878-1961), a celebrated Latino Mormon leader in the U.S. and Mexico in the early twentieth century who was a Mexican cultural nationalist, visionary, founder of a utopian commune, and Mormon dissident. Surprisingly little is known about Bautista's remarkable life, the scope of his work, or the development of his vision. Elisa Eastwood Pulido draws on his letters, books, pamphlets, and unpublished diaries to provide a lens through which to view the convergence of Mormon evangelization, Mexican nationalism, and religious improvisation in the U.S. Mexico borderlands.
A successful proselytizer of Mexicans for years, from 1922 onward, Bautista came to view the paternalism of the Euro-American leadership of the Church as a barrier to ecclesiastical self-governance by indigenous Latter-day Saints . In 1924, he began his journey away from mainstream Mormonism. By 1946, he had established a completely Mexican-led polygamist utopia in Mexico on the slopes of the volcano Popocateptl, twenty-two kilometers southeast of Mexico City. Here, he preached an alternative Mormonism rooted in Mesoamerican history and culture. Based on his indigenous hermeneutic of Mormon scripture, Bautista proclaimed that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were a chosen race, destined to wrest both political and spiritual authority from the descendants of Euro-American colonists. This book provides an in-depth look at a man still regarded with cultural pride by those Mexican and Mexican American Mormons who remember him as an iconic and revolutionary figure.

The Bible and Borders: Hearing God’s Word on Immigration

by M. Daniel Carroll R.
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Brazos Press; 5/0 edition (May 19, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1587434458
ISBN-13: 978-1587434457

With so many people around the globe migrating, how should Christians and the church respond? Leading Latino-American biblical scholar M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas) helps readers understand what the Bible says about immigration, offering accessible, nuanced, and sympathetic guidance for the church.
After two successful editions of Christians at the Border, and having talked and written about immigration over the past decade, Carroll has sharpened his focus and refined his argument to make sure we hear clearly what the Bible says about one of the most pressing issues of our day. He has reworked the biblical material, adding insights and broadening the frame of reference beyond the United States. As Carroll explores the surprising amount of material in the Old and New Testaments that deals with migration, he shows how this topic is fundamental to the message of the Bible and how it affects our understanding of God and the mission of the church.

Princeton Theological Seminary welcomes HTI Alum
Juan Hernández (2004-2005 HTI Dissertation Year Scholar, HTI Mentor) will present the Reverend Alexander Thompson, D.D. Memorial Lecture on March 5th at the Mackay Campus Center in Princeton Theological Seminary. His lecture is titled “Recovering Revelation’s Forgotten Textual History: Josef Schmid’s Magnum Opus for the Twenty-First Century.”  Juan Hernández is professor of biblical studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. His expertise is in the area of the New Testament and early Christianity, with a special interest in New Testament textual criticism, especially the text of the Apocalypse and its reception history. Hernández has published extensively on the scribal activity and textual history of the Apocalypse's manuscript tradition.

Duke University Conference in Theology
The sixth annual Duke Graduate Conference in Theology will be held March 20-21, 2020 at Duke University in Durham, NC.  The conference theme is “Engaging Liberation and Reconciliation through Latin America.”  This conference is an annual forum for graduate students not only from Duke but other institutions which promote and foster the exchange of ideas among those studying in various theological disciplines.
Global Migration and Christian Faith: Implications for Identity and Mission

The 2020 Theology Conference at Wheaton College titled, Global Migration and Christian Faith: Implications for Identity and Mission will take place on April 2-3, 2020 at the Billy Graham Center, Barrows Auditorium.

We are witnessing an unprecedented level of migration across the world. This reality has generated debates in the areas of politics, public policy, jurisprudence, health care, social programs, education and much more. Issues related to immigration, refugees, and asylum have become a focus within evangelicalism, mainline Protestantism, and Roman Catholicism. It has given rise to helping ministries, educational programs, and ministerial training opportunities to respond to the presence of immigrants, refugees, and asylees.  This conference will provide a solid biblical and theological orientation to today's complex social challenges. Learn from experts in the field new ways to engage migration redemptively.  Dr. M. Daniel Carroll (Rodas) (HTI Steering Committee Member) will provide the plenary address which is free and open to the public.

Registration is required and there is a cost for anyone who is not a Wheaton College student, staff member, or faculty member. For more information, please email

Brite Divinity School hosts an event highlighting Immigration and Social Justice

The Borderlands Institute will host a Forum on Immigration and Social Justice on April 17-19, 2020 at Brite Divinity SchoolParticipants at this forum include many HTI scholars and mentors.  Participating are Fernando F. Segovia, Santiago Piñon, Jr, Daniel Ramírez, Santiago Slabodsky, Luis Romero, Francisco Lozada, Jr. and Tim Sandoval.


Lilly Endowment announces its new Thriving Congregations Initiative
The new Thriving Congregation Initiative seeks to help congregations understand and adapt their ministries to their rapidly changing social and cultural contexts.
Through the Thriving Congregations Initiative, the Lilly Endowment is inviting charitable organizations located in the United States to submit proposals for up to $1 million that may be used for up to a five-year period to develop new or strengthen existing programs that will work directly with congregations and help them: 1) explore and understand their rapidly changing social and cultural contexts; 2) gain greater clarity about their values and mission; and 3) draw on Christian practices from their theological and ecclesial traditions to adapt their ministries to the demands of their changing contexts.  The ultimate aim is to help congregations thrive by strengthening ministries that help people deepen their relationships with God, enhance their connections with each other, and contribute to the flourishing of their communities and the world.
In this open and competitive grants initiative, the Endowment anticipates awarding approximately 50 grants to organizations that submit exceptionally promising and compelling proposals that advance the aim of the initiative and demonstrate the capacity of the organization to design, implement, and sustain a high-quality program.
Comprehensive guidelines and forms may be found on the Endowment’s website.
As you will read, Lilly asks that interested organizations submit an Interest Form through the Endowment’s website by April 17, 2020.  Complete proposals should be submitted via the Endowment’s website by June 1, 2020.

The Association of Theological Schools publishes a new guide
The Association of  Theological Schools (ATS) recently published a resource for faculty and scholars, entitled, “The ATS Guide to Religious and Theological Publishing:  Building a Scholarly Career.”  Deans at ATS schools received a few copies in the hope the publication would generate strategic conversations with faculty about publishing.
The authors discuss information about identifying and approaching the right publisher for one’s scholarly product, but the book’s gem is a taxonomy of over 100 publishers—visually featured in an accompanying map and briefly described, publisher by publisher, in the middle chapter.
Dr. Deborah H.C. Gin, Director of Research and Faculty Development at ATS shared that in her work with faculty, she has found that very few faculty (and some deans!) know more than a half dozen publishers.  On top of that, they don’t ask anyone about what they don’t know because it’s assumed they already know. Her goal with this project has been to get this important information, familiar only to a few, into the hands of all faculty.
Order a copy of this valuable resource here!


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.
  • Pacific School of Religion - Faculty Position in United Methodist Studies
  • Church Divinity School of the Pacific - Director of Contextual Education
  • Lexington Theological Seminary - The Donald & Lillian Nunnelly Chair in Pastoral Leadership
  • Columbia Theological Seminary - Columbia Fellow for World Christianity
  • Iona College - Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) of Religious Studies
  • Phillips Theological Seminary - Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean
  • Phillips Exeter Academy - Director of Religious and Spiritual Life
  • Hispanic Theological Initiative - Assistant Director for Programming
*Through the site, HTI allows third parties to post job listings.  HTI does not control such third parties, does not imply endorsement for any, and is not responsible for the content of such postings.  Any representations made regarding such third parties or the job positions are governed by the policies and representations made by said third parties.  HTI may accept, reject or remove postings, and HTI shall not be liable for any such removal.

Congratulations to the new additions to the HTI familia

We celebrate HTI Scholar Francisco Peláez-Díaz and his wife, Brandy Alexander on the birth of their second son, Max Emmanuel, on October 16, 2019.

Ellie Louise DiTrolio, daughter of HTI student aide Stephen DiTrolio and his wife, Courtney Rees DiTrolio, was born on Tuesday, February 4, 2020.

Congratulations to HTI Scholar Grace Vargas and her husband, Javier Avella, who welcomed home a baby on February 12, 2020.  His name is Jason Santiago Avella.


It is with great sadness that we share that members of the HTI familia recently lost loved ones:

HTI Scholar Héctor Varela Rios on the passing of his father, Mr. Héctor Varela Dieppa, in January 2020.
HTI Scholar Raúl Zegarra on the passing of his grandfather, Mr. Victor Raul Zegarra Padilla, on January 20, 2020.
Dr. Craig Barnes on the passing of his mother, Mrs. Jean McDermet, on December 17, 2019.
Dr. Raimundo Barreto’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Lacy Melo dos Santos died on November 18, 2019.
HTI Scholar Felipe Chamy on the passing of his father, Jorge Chamy in November, 2019.

Please join us to pray for them and their families as they mourn these tremendous losses.
We invite you also to pray for those members of the HTI familia that are battling serious illnesses, or that are caring for loved ones. We lift in prayer:

Esteban Miranda
Dr. Jan Love and her husband
Dr. Melissa Pagán
Daniel Ramírez and his sister
Dr. Lallene Rector and her husband
Luan Henrique Gómez Ribeiro and his mother, Tana Mara
Nelly Rosario and her father
Dr.  Arlene Michelle Sanchez-Walsh


With the launching of HTI’s website, it is easier for members of the HTI community, to share any news items to have considered for inclusion in Journeys. You may submit your contributions by visiting Journeys  is read widely and provides an excellent venue to promote Hispanic/Latinx events and scholarship.


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