Local Hispanic congregations lead lay leadership training in North Carolina

By Alison Wingfield, CBF Communications
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
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Javier Elizondo leads a group during a conference for lay leaders of Hispanic churches in eastern North Carolina. Jim Fowler photo

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /?>WILSON, N.C. – Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s hallmark of partnering with others to meet local needs was once again evident at a recent conference for lay leaders of Hispanic churches in eastern North Carolina.


When Ana and David D’Amico came to North Carolina to begin their new assignment as CBF Global Missions liaisons for Hispanic advocacy in North Carolina, they asked Hispanic pastors what their needs were. “They asked to have a one-day training event,” David D’Amico said.

“This is a unique aspect of CBF. The local people know the situation and they understand indigenous needs,” said Bernie Moraga, CBF Hispanic Network coordinator. “We can come and partner with them.”


The lay leadership training attracted 120 attendees and took place at First Baptist Church of Wilson in April.


Gilberto Barbosa, pastor of the Hispanic mission of First Baptist Wilson, and Henry Flores, pastor of Tarboro Hispanic Mission, coordinated the event, working in conjunction with David D’Amico and Jim Fowler, CBF of North Carolina Missions coordinator. D’Amico enlisted seminar leaders with the help of the CBF Hispanic Network, which helped provide funds for the conference, along with CBF of North Carolina.


“It was led by the pastors and we provided assistance as asked,” D’Amico said. “Instead of top down, it was led from the bottom up.”


Other leaders of the conference included Javier Elizondo and Marconi Monteiro, both deans and professors at the BaptistUniversity of the Américas. Edgar Morales, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Union Cross in Kernersville, N.C., delivered the message during a special worship service.


The Hispanic population in North Carolina is rapidly growing. According to the U.S. Census, Hispanics increased from about 77,000 in 1990 to close to 400,000 in 2000 and the numbers continue to grow. While the majority of this influx of peoples are from Mexico, the state has also seen an increase from other Latin American countries and received a number of refugees from Honduras following the devastation caused there by 1998’s Hurricane Mitch.


“We are helping immigrants, trying to sensitize churches and evangelize,” D’Amico said. “We are also working to guide some of the churches into community development.”


In addition to their work with Hispanics and other internationals in North Carolina, the D’Amicos continue to work as the CBF-Non-Governmental Organization representatives to the United Nations, and David D’Amico also serves as an adjunct professor of evangelism and missions at Campbell University Divinity School.


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