Spanish-speaking people visited Kansas long before English-speaking people inhabited the land of this state. Since that time, there have been Spanish-speaking residents that have remained in this area.
United Methodist efforts to minister to the Hispanic community in the Kansas East Conference first began with the Spanish Mission in Emporia. This ministry died down during the 1960s until several Anglos recognized a growing Hispanic presence in their midst in the 1990's.
As a result, these United Methodists began a Hispanic outreach once again. This time not only in Emporia, but also in Kansas City and Topeka. Since that time, the efforts and outreach of the hispanic ministry of the Kansas East Conference have continued to grow and expand.
Current Hispanic Ministry Efforts
The Kansas East Conference is an active participant in the United Methodist Church's National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry. This project focuses on mobilization. This approach includes developing new ministries, fortifying and revitalizing existing ministries and realizing personal and numerical growth.
The methodology of the National Plan for Hispanic Ministry is "See-Discern-Act." The Hispanic Committee of the Kansas East Conference has focused its work in that fashion.
The committee has "seen" the areas where the Hispanic population has increased and as a result, "discerned" through the study of demographics from the 2000 Census which areas are most in need, then "acted" by developing and carrying out strategic plans for the development of Hispanic ministries in these areas.
The Hispanic population in the Kansas East Conference bounds has doubled in the last ten years and continued growth is projected for the future. The conference has structured their priorities accordingly.
These priorities include supporting Hispanic pastors and their congregations financially and emotionally as well as helping Anglo congregations prepare for potential Hispanic ministry opportunities. This preparation has been targeted to churches like Atchison, Bonner Springs, Chanute, Coffeyville, Independence, Lansing, Ottawa, Parsons and Pittsburg where the Hispanic community is growing.
Listed below are the current Hispanic congregations and outreaches of the Kansas East Conference. Click on the links in the side panel for more information on these individual ministries.