Reinhardt College: Connecting to form leaders
Reinhardt University students accompanied by the Rev. Aquiles E. Martinez witnessed President Barack Obama's inauguration during a January trip to Washington, D.C.
Connecting to form leaders
INFORM (Instituto de Formación para el Ministerio), a leadership and congregational development program centered in the region 45 minutes north of Atlanta, illustrates the United Methodist connection working at its best.
Reinhardt University in Waleska, Ga., and Mi Familia Center: Serving Migrant Communities, Inc., in nearby Canton, Ga., are the major partners in INFORM. The Institute, which transmits its Reinhardt-based classes to other sites via SKYPE and other channels, provides ministerial formation of Hispanic/Latino laypeople. It equips them with knowledge, skills and experiences so they can be agents of positive change in their churches and society. Other supporters include the North Georgia Conference church development office, the Atlanta-Roswell District in North Georgia and several general agencies.
"We are trying to change the meaning of congregational development," said the Rev. Aquiles E. Martinez, executive director of the Mi Familia Center and professor of religion at Reinhardt, which hosts the classes. "We don't separate what is sacred from what is secular. In holistic ways, we model life and explore new ways to be the church."
At the same time the Institute is Reinhardt's outreach into the Hispanic/Latino community, it provides experiences for the university's students. Most recent was a January trip to the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The 11 students also met Georgia Senator John Lewis and leaders of the General Board of Church and Society.
Mi Familia Center started as a ministry at Woodstock (Ga.) United Methodist Church in 2009. It later moved to a relationship with Reinhardt University and then into a new building in February.
The Rev. J. Richard Peck