Experience New Cultures by Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Your Church

Experience New Cultures by Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Your Church

By Lupita Chavarria

Associate Pastor at St. Andrew, Geyer Springs UMC

Below is the Spanish version of the story. For the English version, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

En Estados Unidos celebramos el Mes de la Herencia Hispana-Latina para dedicar un mes completo a la celebración de la contribución que la cultura Latina hace a nuestro país, en este mes varios países de América Latina celebran su independencia(México, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica y Honduras) acto que los declara países independientes de España, y lo celebran de una manera muy especial y con ingredientes culturales propios, llamando así a Septiembre el “Mes de la Patria” donde cada país celebra su orgullo nacional de manera única, así mismo cada país le rinde homenaje a sus propios héroes que contribuyeron a su libertad como país.

Los países latinoamericanos celebran con música, baile, comida y desfiles de niños uniformados de las escuelas y las fuerzas armadas brindan hermosos desfiles militares, todo acompañado de un hermoso espectáculo de fuegos artificiales.

En México se celebra el “Grito de Independencia” la noche del 15 de Septiembre y el Día de la Independencia el día 16. Se celebra con música, fuegos artificiales, desfiles escolares y militares. La primera vez que se dio el Grito de Independencia fue el 16 de Septiembre de 1810, cuando Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla al grito de: “Viva México!” Mientras toca una campana y se ondea la bandera Mexicana. Hoy en día el “Grito de Independencia” lo dan los presidentes municipales, gobernadores, presidente de México y fuera de México los Cónsules o Diplomáticos, seguido de la celebración.

El 18 de septiembre de 1810, Chile declaró su independencia de España. Hoy Chile celebra esta fecha con una semana de “fiestas patrias” con desfiles, rodeos, competencias de baile y comidas especiales.

El 15 de septiembre de 1821, Centroamérica proclamó también su independencia de España. Allí nacieron El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica y Honduras. Celebran las Fiestas Patrias el día 14 y 15 con desfiles, reuniones y competencias deportivas, vestidos de colores nacionales, bailes y desfile. Además en Centroamérica celebran con el “Recorrido de la Antorcha” que va desde Guatemala hasta Costa Rica, unos corredores llevan la humeante antorcha a lo largo de la ruta y niños uniformados los esperan.

En Nicaragua las fiestas Centroamericanas inician desde el primer día de Septiembre, terminan con la lectura del Acta de Independencia el día 15 de Septiembre. Las escuelas compiten con rítmicas bandas en sus festivales a lo largo del país.

En la Iglesia Metodista Unida en Arkansas nos unimos a estas celebraciones y cada año celebramos la herencia hispana con nuestros hermanos y hermanas. Hemos celebrado por años en nuestras iglesias PHUMC, St. Luke, Amboy, St. Andrew, Geyer Springs y otras más.

Y como un año es muy largo para celebrar solo una vez, tenemos también las fiestas del “Dia de Reyes” (Enero 6) , “Cinco De Mayo” (Mayo 5), “Día de Muertos” (Noviembre 2) e incorporamos la cultura latina a nuestras celebraciones de Navidad.… Todas las celebraciones contienen deliciosa comida, música, danzas regionales con coloridos vestidos. La cultura Latina es rica en fiestas colores y sabores, celebrando juntos tenemos la oportunidad de unirnos culturalmente con todos nuestros hermanos.

No quiero pasar solo la información, sin la invitación… así que los invitamos a celebrar con nosotros: Septiembre 16 a las 5 pm St. Andrew UMC, Septiembre 18 a las 5 pm Geyer Springs UMC.

In the U.S., we celebrate Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month from Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 and dedicate a full month to the celebration of the contributions that Latin cultures have made to our country. In this month, several Latin American countries celebrate their independence (Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras), an act that declares them independent countries of Spain.

These cultures celebrate independence in their own very special ways and with their own cultural ingredients, calling September the “Month of the Homeland.” Each country pays honor or tribute to its own heroes who contributed to their freedom as a country.

Latin American countries celebrate with music, dancing, food and parades of uniformed children from schools, and the armed forces provide beautiful military parades, all accompanied by a beautiful fireworks show.

In Mexico, the “Grito de Independencia” is celebrated on the night of Sept. 15 and Independence Day on Sept. 16. It is celebrated with music, fireworks, school and military parades.

The first “Grito de Independencia” was given on Sept. 16, 1810, when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla shouted: “Long live Mexico!” while ringing a bell and waving the Mexican flag. Today the “Grito de Independencia” is given by the mayors, governors, president of Mexico and outside Mexico, the Consuls or Diplomats, followed by a celebration.

On Sept. 18, 1810, Chile declared its independence from Spain. Today Chile celebrates this date with a week of “national holidays” with parades, rodeos, dance competitions and special meals.

On Sept. 15, 1821, Central America also proclaimed its independence from Spain. These countries were El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras. They celebrate the National Holidays on the 14 and 15 with parades, meetings and sports competitions, dresses of national colors, dances and a parade.

Also in Central America they celebrate with the “Torch Tour” that runs from Guatemala to Costa Rica. Runners carry the smoking torch along the route and uniformed children await them. In Nicaragua, the Central American festivities begin from the first day of September and end with the reading of the Act of Independence on Sept. 15. Schools compete with rhythmic bands at their festivals throughout the country.

In the United Methodist Church in Arkansas, we join these celebrations and each year we celebrate Hispanic heritage with our brothers and sisters. For years, churches in the Central District have celebrated Hispanic heritage, including Pulaski Heights UMC, St. Luke Campus of PHUMC, Amboy UMC, St. Andrew UMC, Geyer Springs UMC and more.

And since a year is too long to wait to celebrate Hispanic culture, we also have the “Dia de Reyes” (“The Three Kings” on Jan. 6), “Cinco De Mayo” (May 5), “Día de Muertos” (“The Day of the Death” on Nov. 2) and we incorporate the Latin culture in our Christmas celebrations.

All celebrations contain delicious food, music, and regional dances with colorful dresses. Latin culture is rich in color and flavors; celebrating together, we have the opportunity to unite culturally with all our brothers and sisters.

For all of our Methodist churches in Arkansas who want to organize and celebrate the Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month, here are some ideas:

Incorporate traditional Hispanic music into your service, like: El Son de la Negra, Jarabe Tapatio, De Colores.
Serve delicious food like: Tamales, Guacamole, Tacos, Tostadas, Tortas
Decorate with Latino decorations in your church. You can find these in Latino stores in your area.
Play traditional games like Loteria and Toma Todo.

If you need help planning your Hispanic Heritage celebration, I am happy to help! Please contact the Rev. Lupita Chavarria at chavarrialupita@gmail.com. I also invite you to celebrate with us, 5 p.m. on Sept. 16 at St. Andrew UMC, and 5 p.m. on Sept. 18 at Geyer Springs UMC. We will have a celebration of Hispanic and Latin culture, with games, food, dancing and more!

A Cool Drink for a Hot DayAvery Hampton raises money for food pantry through lemonade, baked goods

A Cool Drink for a Hot Day
Avery Hampton raises money for food pantry through lemonade, baked goods

By Sam Pierce

Featured Contributor

Avery Hampton was awarded the Good Deed Award by the American Legion Auxiliary Brown-Wright Unit for her work raising money to fight hunger in her community. || Photo courtesy of Bayou Meto UMC

Every Sunday at Bayou Meto United Methodist Church, which is located about 19 miles south of Stuttgart, Avery Hampton helps distribute the bulletins and turns on the lights. Anything that needs to be done and an eight-year-old can do, she does.

“She knows where everyone sits and if they aren’t there when she is passing out the bulletins, she places them in their seats, waiting for them,” senior pastor the Rev. Nan Nelson said. “She is a little girl who wants to help.”

The church is relatively small, with just 48 members, and Hampton is the only young person who attends regularly.

“She’s an only child, her dad is a big farmer and her mom is very involved in the church,” Nelson said. “She tags along with her mom and she is of that age that wants to help and do a lot of things.”

Recently, Hampton — along with some help from her mom, Rhonda, and other members of the church — helped raise more than $1,200 by selling lemonade and baked goods. The money will be used to purchase food, supplies and what Nelson called “snack packs” for some of the children in the area. The second lemonade stand was held on July 20.

“I saw quite a few people from church there,” Nelson said. “We are a small church, averaging around 20 to 22 people, but they were all participating in one way or another.

“When I got there, there were lots of farmers from all around the area, sitting there, drinking lemonade and eating cupcakes, cookies or whatever was there.”

The snack packs include coloring books and crayons and healthy snacks when children are with their parents at the Sharing and Caring Food Pantry, she said. The snack packs include teddy graham crackers and juice boxes.

“Last year, Avery raised almost $700,” Nelson said. “Her money went towards the backpack program and help at the food pantry.”

The stand was located in the middle of nowhere, but it was in a central location for everybody that lives in that area, Nelson said.

The money she raised for the backpack program at DeWitt Elementary School allowed her to help fill 40 backpacks and purchase gift cards to give out to students who were in need of new shoes. In June, Hampton was awarded the Good Deed Award by the American Legion Auxiliary Brown-Wright Unit.

“I like to give people food that don’t have much,” Hampton said. “I saw grown-ups helping and I wanted to help.”

Nelson said within two weeks of the lemonade stand, members of the church started packing the items for the kids and she said the process took about 20 minutes, thanks in large part to Hampton’s leadership.

“Avery was there guiding, stapling and packaging,” Nelson said. “Everybody was pitching in. There were about 12 women there and I do believe Avery inspires them because they all want to do it, too.

“… I know everybody participated in the baked goods.”

Hampton said she looks up to her dad, Sloan, because “he always does the right thing.” She said she wanted to make a lemonade stand because farmers get so hot in the summer, and it cools them off.

“Her lemonade was really good,” Nelson said. “And word of mouth in the small community helped it spread so quickly – everybody wanted to be a part of it.”

Nelson has been the minister at Bayou Meto UMC for a little over a year; coming to the church after wanting to be at a smaller appointment. She said she already knew a lot of the people, so it was really nice and an easy transition for her.

“By helping her mother and the ladies of the church, Avery realized there was a need for more items in the area,” Nelson said. “She saw how the pantry didn’t have enough to give out to everyone and some of the kids, she knew from school.

“She has been to the pantry more than once and she noticed that the kids didn’t always get something. She asked permission to do it – it wasn’t her mother’s idea – it was completely her idea.”

Nelson said when she arrived at the lemonade stand this year, there were 12 pickup trucks parked next to it and “they were all there to participate.”

“It was something cool to drink and something sweet to eat,” she said. “It was held along a highway, where the church used to be, and they gave her permission to host a lemonade stand on the front steps.”

Hampton attends St. John’s Lutheran School in Stuttgart and volunteers as an acolyte for the church. She is going to play in a community softball league this fall and she also participates in other activities outside of the church.

“I think it is unusual,” Nelson said. “There are no other children or youth in our church, but she is exposed to the places where people are in need and she wants to help.”

Shoal Creek Campground Celebrates 60 Years of Faith and Fun

Shoal Creek Campground Celebrates 60 Years of Faith and Fun

Since the summer of 1959, Shoal Creek Camp — a United Methodist summer camp located between Midway and New Blaine, Arkansas — has helped eager campers from across the Conference experience family, fun and the wonderful beauty of God’s creation in a traditional rustic camp setting.

This summer, the camp is celebrating 60 years of camping ministry with a birthday celebration from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sept. 7. 

Campers, both current and past, are invited to attend this celebration at the campground. The party will have games, swimming, live music on the porch provided by Native Pines, free food, fellowship and a short program at 1:30p.m.

In addition to its birthday celebration, the camp is proud of some of its new additions and ammenities, including adding bathrooms to Kelley Hall, a Nine Square area in the Air Court, and another heated and air-conditioned cabin. The camp also welcomed a new caretaker this summer, Connie Parker.

Check out the camp’s Facebook Page for more information on the 60-year birthday celebration.

Pictures from some of this year’s camps can be viewed below.

Symposium Celebrates 200 Years of Methodism on the Western Frontier

Symposium Celebrates 200 Years of Methodism on the Western Frontier

A two-day event celebrating Methodism’s history on the Western Frontier will take place Sept. 21, 2019 at Southeast Missouri State University, 1 University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701.

This exciting and informative event will examine the spread of Methodism west of the Mississippi River and will feature a range of topics including African Americans in Early American Methodism, Methodism & Western Expansion, Midwestern Mason-Dixon Methodism, John Wesley’s Optimism of Grace and more.

Speakers for the event include Dr. Henry H. Knight III, Dr. Robert J. Williams, Dr. John Wigger, Dr. Frank Nickell, Rev. Dr. John Gooch, Rev. Dr. Russell Richey, Larry Tucker, Dr. William Eddleman, Dr. Adam Criblez an the Hon. Stephen Limbaugh Jr.

Site visits to McKendree Chapel, the oldest Protestant church West of the Mississippi River, are also part of the agenda.

To register for the event, visit https://tinyurl.com/OldMcKendreeSymposium. Registration is $40 and includes lunch, dinner, breaks and a copy of the book Old McKendree Chapel by Frank C. Turner. Students may attend for free.

OMP 101

OMP 101

OMP 101 is an annual event organized by the Ozark Mission Project that lets youth, grades 5 and 6, learn the ways that OMP helps communities in need. Kids learn how to use power tools, build simple wooden structures, and have fun in the process. Check out some of the photos of this year’s OMP 101, held at St. Paul UMC in Little Rock.

OMP 101 is not only a time for learning and serving, it’s also a time for fun and games! Before the week’s events begin, campers get to play some fun team building games. These games are meant to teach kids how to work together as a team. In the photo above, teams line up in two lines across from each other. One side throws a marshmallow to their teammate, who tries to catch it in a small plastic cup. || Photos by Caleb Hennington

Volunteers with OMP taught kids about some of the tools that are used to build and repair houses, ramps and more. While at OMP, kids will learn valuable skills that will help them get a head-start if they decide to volunteer with OMP in the future. A volunteer from the Society of St. Andrew also taught kids how to cut mesh rope to make into bags for gleaning. Gleaning is the process of gathering food together, which the Society of St. Andrew does for groups like the Food Bank and others. || Photos by Caleb Hennington