The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church have created a network -- Talitha Cumi, Mujer Levantate (Women Rise Up) -- designed to identify and address some challenges Latino women face in church and society. Six women members from each denomination met May 6, 2014, to continue to give shape to the network and received greetings from the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop. The group of 12 first met in March 2013. The ELCA and Episcopal Church are full communion partners in which members share a commitment to engage in ministry, witness and service together. Full communion is not a plan to merge; the denominations share a common confessing of the Christian faith and a mutual recognition of Baptism and sharing of the Lord’s Supper.
“My task and that of the Rev. Anthony Guillen, director of Latino Ministries in The Episcopal Church, is to support the network (and) its goals,” said the Rev. Hector Carrasquillo, director of ELCA Latino Ministries. He said the mission of the network is to “infuse a sense of hope and empowerment among women, promote self-confidence and strength.”Participants in the network will plan future conferences, retreats and other activities to highlight advocacy efforts and develop scholarship programs to ensure participation in the network from members of both denominations. The idea for this network surfaced from a series of retreats held between both churches in which the need to strengthen leadership skills among Latinas was identified. Carrasquillo and Guillen have committed to working together to support the network and identify avenues in which the gifts and skills of Lutheran and Episcopal women can be identified and utilized. Network participants will seek opportunities to attend assemblies, conventions and other events hosted by both denominations.