Wesley's newest Doctor of Ministry program begins May 2022; Dean Wingeier-Rayo discusses program and his upcoming course
Wesley Academic Dean and Professor of Missiology & Methodist Studies Phil Wingeier-Rayo, Ph.D., will teach the inaugural course in this new Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program, “The World is my Parish: Mission & Evangelism in the Wesleyan Tradition,” at Wesley's campus in Washington, DC, May 10-13, 2022.
In this interview, Dr. Wingeier-Rayo tells us more about both the new Doctor of Ministry focus area in general and his course in particular.
WTS: Wesley has just announced its latest Doctor of Ministry track starting in May 2022 entitled "Fe y la esfera pública en el contexto Hispano/Latino/Faith and the Public Square in the U.S. Hispanic/Latino Context." What is the impetus behind this new D.Min. focus area? Why now?
Dr. Wingeier-Rayo: The Hispanic/Latino community is the largest ethnic/minority community in the US. It is also a very young community with an average age of 27. Traditionally, Protestants have assumed that Hispanics are Roman Catholic and not made a significant outreach effort, however data from Pew Research reveals that Hispanic/Latinos are becomes “Nones” and “Dones” at approximately the same rate as their peers in other demographics. Wesley feels that this is the time to emphasize training for those called to minister in the Hispanic/Latino community.
WTS: There are some terms that we should define. What is "the public square" we are discussing? And since there are people from manyHispanic/Latino countries in the US, what is the particular "US context"?
Dr. Wingeier-Rayo: The phrase “the public square” refers to social, cultural and political arena that is often avoided by the church when religion is considered a private affair. In the US the church often uses the separation of church and state as a way to avoid the church’s responsibility to the community and stays within the four walls of the church. The title of this track also aligns with Wesley’s mission statement: “to equip persons for Christian ministry and leadership in the church and the world, to advance theological scholarship, and to model a prophetic voice in the public square.”
WTS: Who would find this course of study helpful? Seasoned Hispanic/Latino pastors, those new to serving a Hispanic/Latino community, others?
Dr. Wingeier-Rayo: This track is open to anyone who feels called to service the Hispanic/Latino community. It will be helpful for pastors and leaders who want to go deeper in their studies and expand their “theological and biblical toolbox” to be more effective in their ministries.
WTS: What are key topics to be covered in this D.Min. program?
Dr. Wingeier-Rayo: Key topics and themes will be a biblical and theological grounding for prophetic ministry, as well as strategies for mission, outreach and social justice work in the issues impacting the Hispanic/Latino community in the US.
WTS: With your background as a missionary with 15 years' experience serving in Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, you have a lived experience of the different cultural expressions of faith in the public square in many Hispanic/Latino countries, including in the US. What, for you, is unique to the US Hispanic/Latino community compared to Latin American Caribbean countries you know? What are their challenges and opportunities?
Dr. Wingeier-Rayo: This is a great question and a complete answer would require a multi-pronged response.
The Hispanic/Latino community is very diverse. There people who identify as Hispanic/Latino who are first generation, second generation, third generation immigrants, as well as those whose origins in the US precede the founding of the US as a nation. Each demographic has different challenges bases on their socio-economic and immigration status—among other factors. Some Hispanic/Latinos speak Spanish, but more and more are US-born and English dominant. There are also Hispanic/Latinos have very close ties to their countries of origin and others who have fully assimilated to US culture or somewhere in between.
Most Hispanic/Latinos are bi-cultural and are very proud of their roots, yet realize the importance of cross-cultural competency and navigating the US system.
So to answer your question, yes, being Hispanic/Latino in the US is very different than living in Latin America or the Caribbean. In fact, someone from Latin America does not become “Hispanic/Latino” until immigrating to the US because this is a construct. It is a created category by the US Census to try to count a group of people, who in reality, come from very different countries—each with its own history, culture and idiosyncrasy.
WTS: You will be teaching one of the first courses for this D.Min. focus area in May 2022, entitled " The World is my Parish: Mission & Evangelism in the Wesleyan Tradition. What is the Wesleyan tradition when it comes to mission and evangelism in general, and within and to the U.S. Latinx community?
Dr. Wingeier-Rayo:My goal in this course will be to explore the resources in the Wesleyan tradition to balance personal piety with social justice outreach. John Wesley was a very holistic pastor and theologian. He could not conceive of evangelism and church growth at the exclusion of social justice and outreach. He did both seamlessly and integrated them into the work of the church and the Christian vocation. The class will offer a close read of Wesley’s writings and unpack the often misunderstood phrase “The World is my parish.”
Future courses and faculty for this D.Min. program will include:
- Dr. Armando Rodriguez, “My Kingdom is of this world: Christian Scriptures and Christian Activism”
- Dr. Cristian De la Rosa, " Contextual Theologies of Latinx Ministry and Practice"
- Dr. Rick Elgendy, “Public Theology: Faith and the Public Square” and more.
In addition to seven required courses, students must take the project seminar and two elective courses for a total of 30 credit hours. Anticipated date of graduation: May 2025
- Course offerings through the Hispanic Summer Program https://hispanicsummerprogram.org/ .
Students can take a course through the Hispanic Summer Program as one of their electives for this track.
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