BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- Unity was at the forefront of the first national Southern Baptist Hispanic Leaders and Pastors' Celebration on Monday night (June 10).
"Truly unity is on the rampage among Hispanic Southern Baptists," said Bobby Sena, Hispanic relations consultant of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee.
The night included a dinner and various presentations by Hispanic SBC leaders. Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee, also made an appearance to encourage and pledge his support to Hispanic pastors and leaders. The more than 200 participants greeted and introduced each other creating an overwhelming sense of unity that Craig Featherstone, vice-president of sales for LifeWay Christian Resources, referred to as Hispanics "bringing church." See related story.
"It sounds ironic for non-Hispanics, but it's not necessarily easy to unite Hispanics due to so many different nationalities, race and ethnicities within our culture," said Al Fernandez, southeast regional catalyst of the Florida Baptist Convention (FBC). "The only thing that can unite us is Jesus Christ who brings us together for the cause of the Gospel. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, I am optimistic of what SBC Hispanic pastors and churches can accomplish together."
Noemi Fernandez, volunteer with the North American Mission Board, says she is "so thankful to see SBC Hispanics becoming passionate and talking about unity across North America, Puerto Rico and Canada. There is a sense of urgency, the time has come to stop talking about it and become intentional in bringing unity amongst Jesus followers."
Emanuel Roque, Hispanic church catalyst for the FBC, noted that now is the time to "shine light in the darkness and challenges of our time."
"There is a spirit of great expectation," he said, "and Dr. Ronnie Floyd pointed to the target, challenging and reminding us that the reason we unite is to fulfill the Great Commission."