Celebración is a growing, weekly, Spanish-language worship service at Clear Lake United Methodist Church.

Rev. Andres Morales attributes the growth to the work of building relationships between the members of the church and the surrounding neighborhoods.

“The English-speaking and Spanish-speaking communities are working together and lives are beginning to change,” Morales said.

A Cuban immigrant to the United States, Morales was appointed to Clear Lake UMC a year-and-a-half ago to specifically serve in Hispanic Ministries.

When he first arrived, the Celebración service had only a few people.

Today, the congregation numbers in the upper 20s and includes members of all ages hailing from South America, Central America, Cuba and other countries. Some are immigrants and some are the children of immigrant families.

These members are engaged in both worship and ministry.

“They are inviting people and serving people and talking about the church and what the church has done for them,” Morales said.

The members who attend the English-speaking services at Clear Lake, along with the staff, have also been active in the church’s Hispanic ministries.

“The whole church is working with us,” he said. “We have bilingual and bi-cultural services and they have been successful. We have done Spanish-style music and Anglo-style music and liturgy.”

In addition to worship, the church is focused on outreach in the Hispanic community.

“There are a lot of needs in the community. We are helping with medical and dental needs and we are working with kids. We have an after-school program where we go and teach Bible class with the kids and teach them Christian values,” he said. “We are seeing a lot of trust in the community and barriers are falling down. It’s not just about us, we want the whole Hispanic community to feel welcome. I think God is doing great things in this community and using Clear Lake in serving this community.”

Rev. Andres Morales is working on his master’s degree at Asbury Theological Seminary and is on the pathway to becoming an elder in the United Methodist Church. Before he was appointed at Clear Lake UMC, he served at San Marcos UMC in Baytown. He is married to Marianela and has three children.