La Iglesia de San Juan - The Church on the Move
By the Rev. David Dubay, Vicar, Mission San Juan, Rector, Holy Trinity, Charleston
Over the last year, La Iglesia de San Juan (the Hispanic ministry of the Diocese of South Carolina) has been in transition. This summer the church changed direction in its witness to the Hispanic people of Sea Islands. Instead of the traditional “open our doors and they will come” model, worship and pastoral care are now taken to the people where they live. Each Sunday evening the “Church on the Move” can be found at one of the many work camps on Johns Island.
The ministry is a mission church of the Diocese of South Carolina under Bishop Lawrence. It was supported for most of its existence by the St. John’s Church and other churches in the Charleston area. In its current form the people involved in leadership are from many churches including a number of parishes in the Diocese and Presbyterian churches as well. The list of volunteers from other denominations is growing.
Our goal is simply to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in Spanish, to the people of the Sea Islands. Our call is to minister both to the permanent residents and transitional (migrant) workers. The church has been leading worship in the camps for over six months, and recently began the Alpha “Course in Christianity” at the one camp with year round residents. As the church’s relationship s with the people in the camps develops, lay and ordained leaders are beginning to provide pastoral care to the people we serve.
Although I was a Spanish minor in college and have been on a number of short term mission projects to Hispanic countries, I had no idea that I had been so ignorant about a group of people who live right in my own backyard who are living very difficult and many times very lonely lives. We have met some lovely and faithful people with testimonies that frankly, put my little waspy walk to shame. You’ll find that in the future and in this article that we don’t have many pictures of the people whom we describe and discuss because we don’t want to put them on display. We are not among them for any other reason than to be the way for them to hear about Jesus in their own language and also to give them a time and place to share what He is already doing in their lives.
The Ministry is currently staffed part-time by me (the Rev. David Dubay) and Mr. Rodrigo Haddad de Sousa. We are also very grateful for the hands on ministry of the people of St. James Church, James Island and St. Johns Church, Johns Island.
Needs of La Mision San Juan are:
Prayer. If you are an intercessor or have a prayer list at your church, please put the mission on it.
People. If you are a person with some time on Sunday nights, the ministry can use you. We especially need Spanish speakers (fluency is not a requirement).
Money. The ministry is not self-supporting; however, it does pay two part-time pastors. Donate online or you may send a check payable to The Diocese of South Carolina with "Hispanic Ministry" on the memo line. mailed to The Diocese of SC, PO Box 20127, Charleston SC 29413.