Featured / General CBF / La Familia

Pastoras meet in Puerto Rico as part of CBF Thriving in Ministry initiative

The first meeting of Thriving in Ministry Cohort for clergy support of female ministers takes off in Puerto Rico.

By Xiomara Reboyras-Ortiz

Our history is made up of wonderful, incomprehensible experiences. The first meeting of the Thriving in Ministry Cohort for clergy support of female pastors in Puerto Rico on January 14 was full of these experiences. I wish I could communicate to readers the images, smells, flavors and sensations we experienced. I do not have the words for how beautiful and inspiring it was. I’ll start by saying, Magical… our meeting was magical.

During a fresh morning between the mountains of the Enchanted Island of Puerto Rico, 17 pastors who represent the strength and diversity of the Puerto Rican women in ministry gathered to form a supportive community. The beauty that surrounded us could only be surpassed by the candor and service of the members of the Berea Baptist Church in Yabucoa, PR. We were welcomed with overwhelming love.

Between birdsongs, the melody of the creek’s stream that runs in front of the church, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, fresh fruits, beautifully set tables and smiles, the Pastoras arrived one by one. It was difficult to start at the agreed time. Delicious breakfast and the company of our sisters invited us to enjoy every second to the fullest. Willing to discover what God had invited us to, our meeting began.

Initially we formed four groups. Each had to answer five questions and create a story, poem or song. Needless to say, creativity ran wild. It was wonderful to witness how one of the objectives of the first meeting materialized before our eyes. This goal that is shared by the cohort is to understand how the personal stories united the fellow female ministers to create a greater story. a beautiful poem or a healing song.

From that moment on, the rest was simple. We discussed the cohort, its goals and strategy. We  examined the value that the missionary collaboration agreement with the Baptist Church of Puerto Rico has for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Q&A presentations were hosted by Kasey Jones, Associate Coordinator for CBF Outreach and Growth; Brian Foreman, CBF Congregational Ministries Coordinator and Rubén Ortiz, CBF Latino Field Ministries Coordinator. It was natural to discover and validate points of interest, especially the need for mutual learning.

Convinced that participating in the cohort was an invitation from God to bless our journey, we celebrated the Lord’s table, remembering that it is Jesus’ gift of love that made us family. Our hearts and minds were full of joy and anticipation for what the next 11 months of work will bring us, but as always… more can be expected.

Although it is not easy to understand, Puerto Rico celebrates the longest Christmas in the world. It begins in November and ends with the “Octavitas” on January 17. Because it was still Christmas, the Pastoras were received with live Puerto Rican Christmas music in the gazebo, where they would enjoy a delicious lunch surrounded by vivid nature. The gratitude for enjoying the sisterhood between women in ministry and churches is a product of the mercy of God who continues to call us to do more.

We said goodbye and hugged each other knowing that we are part of something wonderful. We said “how nice that I’m going to see you next month.” Although we did not want to leave, each of those women had to drive home, because Sunday was approaching and there were many pulpits to fill.

Having the responsibility of coordinating the work of this cohort was an enormous blessing with the help of Brunilda González, former president of the Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico, and with the support of CBF Thriving in Ministry and CBF Familia Latino Network.

We do not know how this process will end. We do know and celebrate the future of joy, healing, growth, learning, transformation, care and accompaniment because God is faithful and we have willing minds and hearts.

We invite you to be part of the history that is being written. We want to walk this journey together, so we ask you to remember the Cohort for clergy support for female pastors in Puerto Rico in your prayers. We are counting on you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s