The Rev. Vidal Rivas and Iglesia San Mateo in Hyattsville have received the inaugural Cast the Nets award for digital evangelism from the Office of Latino and Hispanic Ministry of the Episcopal Church.
The award was presented at the Nuevo Amanacer conference that concluded today at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Some 20 members of the diocese joined Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, the Rev. Sarabeth Goodwin, transitional Latino minister, and Araceli Ma, the diocese Latino communications specialist, at the conference, which is held every two years.
San Mateo was recognized for its “use of social media in pastoral work in promoting discipleship and empowering lay people in the use of new technologies in order to spread the Gospel and to promote a culture of respect, dialog and friendship.”
The communications team at San Mateo developed Radio San Mateo, a 24 hour online broadcast, after attending E-formation, a conference on digital ministry held annually at Virginia Theological Seminary. The station airs Sunday services, Rivas’ daily readings and reflections, music and interviews.
“We wanted to recognize San Mateo’s creativity and innovation in reaching out beyond their church,” said the Rev. Anthony Guillén, the Episcopal Church’s missioner for Latino and Hispanic ministries. “Radio is a great way to connect with Latinos, so this project is an important evangelism experiment.”
Rivas said San Mateo is exploring ways to involve the diocese’s six other Spanish-speaking congregations in the project.
“Lots of creativity and long hours of dedicated work have gone into this,” Goodwin said. “People from our region and several countries tune in to hear the Sunday transmission and the daily reflections.”
The diocese’s delegation to Nuevo Amanacer travelled to North Carolina by bus with members of the Diocese of Virginia, a group of 45 in all. At the conference they attended workshops, worshipped and sang and heard speakers from the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The two churches sponsored the conference together this year for the first time.
“It was a time of renewal,” Goodwin said. “We will be returning energized and empowered for ministry.”