Celebrating 5 Years: The Hispanic Ministry Program

Jan 3, 2023


About Western Theological Seminary

Located in Holland, Michigan, WTS offers 16 graduate programs online, in residence, in English, and Spanish for women and men preparing for faithful Christian ministry. WTS was founded in 1866 when seven of the eight members of Hope College’s inaugural graduating class wished to become ministers and petitioned their denomination to allow them to complete their education in Holland. Since that time, WTS has been preparing women and men for a lifetime of ministry all around the world in many ministry and denominational contexts.

By Western Theological Seminary

Growth from Small Beginnings

This year we celebrate the 5-year anniversary of our Hispanic Ministry Program. We are so grateful for God’s grace, goodness, and favor over the past five years. Since 2017 we have diligently worked to fulfill our motto, “equipping leaders, changing lives!”

The Hispanic Ministry Program has grown from the initial 55 students to over 120 students today (representing seven different denominations) in our Graduate Certificate program, and our new Master of Arts program launched in the 2022-23 academic year.  

Meeting a Growing Need

Western is eager to equip and prepare leaders of the Latino church for lifelong ministry. The continuous growth of the Hispanic population throughout the United States sheds light on the growing need for well prepared church leaders in Latino-American communities. According to UCLA professor and Brown Church Institute founder Robert Chao Romero, “Latino churches are proximate to the pain felt by communities; they are often first responders in crisis situations like COVID or immigration cases, and they are a vital, though often overlooked, partner in the social safety net.”

Our students have shown the efforts they will take to obtain their graduate degrees. The vast majority of our students are bi-vocational, bilingual pastors and church leaders working outside of the church and maintaining a church community. They participate in the program with Spanish as their language of context and ministry while working in an environment using their second language (English).

Casting the Vision for Hispanic Ministry

We thank God for the blessing of a great Hispanic Ministry Program team at Western Theological Seminary, growing from three full-time staff to nine staff members assisting us throughout the country with their individual gifts and talents.

We are very grateful to Lily Endowment Inc. for the Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative grant, enabling us to strengthen and sustain our capacities to prepare and support pastoral leaders for the Christian church. These funds will provide for our newest endeavor, a Hispanic Summer Institute program here at WTS in 2023, 2024, and 2025. We will host a two-week residential intensive experience where students will participate in two masters-level courses taught by two world-renowned professors. More information is soon to come!

Meet the Hispanic Ministry Program Team

David A. Escobar Arcay, Associate Professor of Theology, Director of the Hispanic Ministry Program

Johnny Vega, Hispanic Ministry Program Administrator

Gretchen Torres, Hispanic Ministry Program and Th.M. Program Administrator

Browse Faculty Staff Here

Posted in September, 2023

Revised in January 2024

Learn more about Hispanic Ministry Programs

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