Many Traditions in One Language – How a Career Prepared Me for My Call
by Rev. Arturo (Artie) Cadar
Can you tell us a story that illustrates how your Hispanic heritage prepared you to answer your call to lead and serve your congregation and community?
Before responding to my pastoral call, my sales and marketing career took me to all but one of the countries in Latin America. I had the opportunity to live and work with people who taught this Cuban-American that as Latino people we all shared a common language, and many customs and traditions and yet, in many other ways, we remained quite different. Little did I know that during all those years, the Lord had been preparing me to respond to my call to ministry and to planting a new Hispanic faith community. There, over time, 24 different nationalities would come together weekly to worship God, love one another, and serve the small Hispanic community around us, in the name of Jesus.
How would you describe the contributions (past and present) of your congregation and ministries to your community?
In September 2005, inspired by my Walk to Emmaus experience, I set out to share the love and transformational power of Jesus Christ with a community of 1,200 Hispanics that lived in Friendswood, Texas. What started as a small Bible study in Spanish with eight people at Friendswood UMC turned into a multiethnic and multigenerational congregation of more than 200 people. They impacted and engaged their community in worship, discipleship, and a spirit of servanthood that gave them new opportunities to grow spiritually, academically and personally. They created many programs including Neighborhood Worship, a Tutoring Program, and a Summer Reading Program that increased the reading levels of 32 Hispanic students in the area.
What is your congregation doing to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, and why?
In my new role as Coordinator of Mission Field Development for the Texas Annual Conference, I don’t lead a church, but I support the work of 29 Hispanic churches in different missional growth stages in our conference. This year, all our Hispanic churches are doing something to connect with their communities as they celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. One of our newest Hispanic churches, for example, Vida Abundante, in Tyler, just threw a block party yesterday. They’ll have another Hispanic Heritage Month event with food, fun, and fellowship with the community on October 13. Another church in Southwest Houston, Oasis, the Hispanic church at St. Luke’s Gethsemane, is conducting a cultural exchange event that will include food tasting from different Latin American countries and children dressed in outfits that represent their respective countries.
My vision as the leader of Hispanic Ministries is to visibly increase the presence and value of the United Methodist Church in the Hispanic community of the Texas Annual Conference by growing the Conference’s Hispanic church membership to 15,000 members in a safe and vibrant environment that fosters spiritual growth through the Wesleyan expression of Christianity, participation in social and community services, and a sense of belonging that attracts and supports the voices and needs of the ever-growing and increasingly diverse Hispanic community in a relevant way.
Remaining connected to our roots is important for Latinos, even as we assimilate into American culture and adopt the traditions of the country that has opened so many life opportunities for us. We also believe that teaching others how we live, worship and play is important for building bridges with people from all the other cultures that are significantly changing the diversity landscape of countless neighborhoods in Houston, Texas, and the United States of America.
Rev. Cadar is Coordinator of Mission Field Development for the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, where he is responsible for helping churches to align the way that they do ministry with the needs and the context of their ever changing local communities. He is the Leader of Hispanic Ministries and a key leader of the New Faith Communities team in the Texas Annual Conference. After a long career in a sales and marketing consulting firm where he excelled as a multilingual sales training facilitator, sales coach, and motivational speaker, he answered his call to ministry as a church planter in the Greater Houston area. Born in Havana, Cuba, Arturo came to the United States of America at age 13. He is married to Dulce, his wife of 41 years, and has two grown children, Jessica and George, and two beautiful granddaughters, Nina and Naomi. He and his family are residents of League City, Texas.
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