ABHMS’ Intercultural Ministries nears launch of multi-year intergenerational faith initiative focusing on Latino/a communities

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 06/13/2024)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) proudly announces the first Summit of a new leadership initiative, Conferencia de Liderazgo Intergeneracional (CLI), on June 21 and 22, 2024, at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Hosted by Latino Ministries, an arm of ABHMS’ Intercultural Ministries, this inaugural event is a collaboration of ABHMS, Centro Latino of Fuller Theological Seminary, the American Baptist Theological Center, and American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles, Southwest & Hawaii (ABCOFLASH).

The Rev. Abner Cotto-Bonilla, national coordinator for Latino Ministries, identifies CLI as an intentional response to overwhelming concerns of Latino/a Baptist pastors and lay leaders who see a growing relational divide between generations within their communities. Recognizing the complexities of intergenerational engagement and intercultural dynamics, ABHMS developed CLI to address the unique challenges of closing this gap.

Cotto-Bonilla describes CLI as an educational program designed to foster a sense of community and nurture intergenerational spiritual formation. “Our intent is to train Latino/a leaders how to serve in intergenerational settings more effectively,” he explains. “We’re also providing practical tools and assessable resources for creating spaces where people from different generations can interact and co-live.”

Participants in the inaugural CLI Summit have the option of convening in person or online for a full agenda of plenary sessions, panel discussions and a worship experience. Key speakers include the Rev. Dr. Alexia Salvatierra, academic dean of Centro Latino, Fuller Theological Seminary, presenting on the intergenerational theology of migration; and the Rev. Dr. Marie Onwubuariri, ABHMS director of Intercultural Ministries, who will address the intergenerational theology of interculturality. Two moderated discussions round out the schedule, with panelists from Fuller Youth Institute and the American Baptist Theological Center sharing their expertise and insights to provide a greater perspective on the Summit’s topics.

Cotto-Bonilla anticipates a three-year trajectory for the CLI program, with two weekend Summits scheduled annually in various locations to facilitate nationwide impact. Each Summit will also have associated virtual meetings intended to deepen participant involvement through opportunities to craft and present new models for intergenerational engagement.

The second Summit in 2024 will take place in the fall in Puerto Rico. However, Cotto-Bonilla admits that other sites remain unsettled. “We do not know precisely where we will be holding future CLI events, but I expect to take some scouting trips soon,” said Cotto-Bonilla.

For more information about the inaugural CLI Summit and to register, visit the ABHMS Center for Continuous Learning at ccl.abhms.org.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.