SPSA member Hannah Reasoner is currently in Colombia as a UM Global Mission Fellow. Each month, we will post her Newsletter update.
On October 15, after packing and repacking my bags, receiving a negative covid test, hugging my parents, and five or six hours in the air, I was welcomed back to Colombia. Friends I had made here as a Global Mission Fellow picked me up from the airport, helped set up my apartment, and invited me for a welcome meal: Ajiaco, Bogotá’s traditional chicken and potato soup (my favorite dish).
Before traveling, October and September were full of virtual workshops for the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Office of the United Methodist Church as well as Centro Ecuménico Popular para America Latina de Comunicación (CEPALC). In this newsletter I’d like to share with you a little about these online workshops.
The end of 2020 is almost here (finally). Be on the lookout for more messages from me about how Christmas is celebrated in Colombia and ways you can support this ministry during the giving season. Thank you for your support and prayers during this transition.
Las Gafas Violeta Workshops for Girls
CEPALC finished our “Gafas Violeta” workshop series with young women. The four virtual workshops covered topics of self-esteem, love and gender stereotypes, body positivity, and sexuality and women’s health. Check out CEPALC’s newest video on YouTube about this work.
Methodist Communicators in Latin America and the Caribbean
Due to the pandemic, many of us are focusing more than ever on ways to improve our digital communication strategies. How can we continue to connect with each other and with the church when gathering on Sunday morning is no longer and option? It’s no secret that the church and its mission work extend far beyond the walls of a sanctuary, it lives in the people who make up the community and live out their faith wherever they go. We’ve had to get creative with how to support and continue this work remotely.
The Latin American and Caribbean Regional Office, in partnership with United Methodist Communications and collaboration with other ecumenical partners in Latin America, hosted a virtual workshop series for Methodist communicators and Methodist Churches in the region interested in strengthening communication strategies. Around 70 people from 20 different churches and ecumenical groups logged on every morning during the workshops which ran from September 21-October 1.
This group of Methodist communicators reconnected virtually in September after having met together last year for communication workshops in São Paulo, Brazil.
In the beginning of the workshop series each church had a few minutes to share some of the communications strategies that they’re using, what works well in their contexts and what challenges they face. Naturally, there were two components to these presentations: communication before coronavirus and now during the pandemic.
Dr. Magali do Nascimento Cunha from Brazil lead a session on Communication and Mission in the Latin American and Caribbean context during which she lifted up the phrase “digital segregation.” While most of us have rapidly adjusted to moving our work, education, social activities, and church services to online formats, there are still many communities in the world who do not have access to this technology. The people who were already marginalized before the pandemic are being pushed back and excluded even further.
We knew we wouldn’t be able to solve all our problems after two weeks, but this opportunity to connect with other churches and learn from each other is a valuable step in this long process. We continue to search for ways to stay connected while physically distant.
Videos of the presentations will be available soon, please reach out to me if you would like to see them (all presentations are in Spanish).
Check out the latest edition of CEPALC’s magazine here.
You can listen to our online radio station at encuentroradio.co. I am part of the English-speaking radio program “Mirrored Voices” which airs every Wednesday at 10am (GMT-5)
Support Hannah’s Work: Give to Advance #3022362
Our goal is to raise $25,000/year to sustain missionaries and their work around the world. I need your help. Please consider donating online or sending a check made out to Advance GCFA with my Advance Number #3022362 in the memo line. Send checks to:
P.O. Box 9068
New York, NY 10087