The ninth edition of the Caminemos Juntos North America conference was held from August 2 to 4. Seventy latino leaders met every day at the Missio Dei Church in Houston, Texas, to praise God, grow as a community and build relationships as Anglican latino churches and leaders in the United States, Canada and Mexico under the theme: "Restored in Christ with Joy for the mission." This has been a particularly difficult year for the immigrant community in the US and part of the intention of the conference was to provide a healing space in which to be restored and renewed.
Adults together with the youth (who had a seperate track) came together to grow and live into the reality of together being the body of Christ. Leaders came from cities such as Kansas City, Dallas, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Missouri, Santa Rosa (California), El Paso, Chicago and Forth Worth, and of course Houston, to this event which also included guests from Brazil, and Chile.
Mark Ball, rector of Missio Dei the host church, his wife Jessalyn, the pastoral team of that congregation, and the coordinators of the event, Mimi Guiracocha, Eddy Dávila, Víctor Manieri and María Catalán, along with their planning team, made an effort so that this event could be developed day by day, from the activities on the stage, to the meals and / or cleanliness of the place, and their assistants could enjoy the blessings of it. It is the ninth year for this movement which is led by a team of directors which include Archbishop Tito Zavala, Archbishop Miguel Uchoa, Canon William Beasley and Rev. Jonathan Kindberg.
Familia is a key value within latino cultures and for Caminemos Juntos. Plenaries, Bible studies, times of worship, workshops, meals and prayer times, all are aimed at making of Caminemos Juntos a family gathering, where each attendee can experience what it means to be part of a Church that transcends borders, languages, cultures and styles, and is united in Jesus.
Workshops took place under topics such as "Equipped to Heal", "Bible Telling", "Disciple-Making Movements", and "Community Restoration." Attendees were also encouraged by hearing a report on the growing revival within the Anglican Church in Brazil given by Archbishop Miguel. Keynote speakers included Paco Amador and Chris Ophus, leaders from Chicagoland who are students and practitioners of DMM (disciple-making movements) in the Latino context.
The bishop of the Western Gulf Coast Diocese, Clark Lowenfield, in the closing Eucharist gave an inspiring message to each of the attendees on the need for holiness as a pre-requisite for corporate revival.
The closing of this ninth edition of the conference ended with joy, happiness and energy to continue day by day in the mission that God has given us, this was clearly reflected through the young people, who at the end of the activities went to serve at the Houston Food Bank to help those who need it most.
The recharged and inspired hearts are now getting ready for the next Caminemos Juntos North America, which will be held in 2019 and in which a decade of ministry and familia will be celebrated.
Susana Naso, from Santiago, Chile, is a journalist in background and currently a Caminemos Juntos missionary serving in Chicago.