MARCHA’s Post Election Statement: “One Pueblo Building Bridges”



Just a few days after the election of the new President of the United States, we have witnessed a number of disturbing incidents. A Hispanic / Latino child born in New Jersey and barely 6 years old was harassed at school by his classmates when asked, “When are you leaving for your country?” In Tennessee some of our general agencies staff and their families have experienced intimidation in their neighborhoods.  In Texas, a woman was walking her baby through the park and a truck driver passed by her loudly shouting “White Power.” An undocumented worker in New York was denied payment for two weeks of work by his employer worth $600, because soon he was going to be deported. Young Hispanic / Latino Methodists from the North Carolina Conference participating on the Pilgrimage 2016 youth event were harassed by other participants with un-welcoming statements and after expressing their discontent they were reproached and blamed for what happened. Also, various Hispanic/Latino congregations in our denomination have reported an increase in hostility and lack of compassion for our people. All of these cases join the more than 437 incidents of bullying and intimidation reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center. More than 30% of these were directed towards the immigrant community, and the largest number of cases are occurring in primary and secondary schools. As Christians and United Methodists, we cannot ignore this matter.

We recognize that we live in a democracy with diverse political perspectives that, in different ways, intent to achieve the welfare of the people. Amidst our political and ideological differences, we are now confronting a greater conflict:  intolerance, persecution, discrimination, and hatred. In light of this, it seems impossible to create political, spiritual and theological national unity. Will it be possible to re-vindicate the reality that is framed in the official seal of the United States written in Latin E pluribus unum, which literally means “Of the many, one”? And from the Christian perspective, will it be possible to claim that we are one people who are committed to living the commandment of Jesus Christ and to fulfill our baptismal vows to renounce the spiritual forces of evil and the evil powers of the world in a church where we can all belong? We can be “One Pueblo” if we let the will of God incarnate in us and begin to plant peace, hope and life, especially in all whose dignity.

Prophets in ancient times urged the people to return to God. Similarly, the prophets of our times are called to resist evil and let the grace of God permeate our hearts. The youth of MARCHA feel fear and anxiety, even within the church where they have found the love of God. They are calling the church to serve as an instrument to build bridges of brother/sisterhood rather than building walls of division that arise from all forms of discrimination, oppression and exclusion. Stacy Guinto-Salinas, a young adult, said at the Pilgrimige 2016 youth event in North Carolina, “How can we welcome the Spirit, when we haven’t welcomed each other?” Stacy’s statement confronts us with the message in 1st John 4:20-21, that says: ” for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen… those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.”

MARCHA (Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic/Latino American) calls our denomination to serve as an instrument of peace with justice, and unity in this climate of violence and hatred. For the beginning of a faithful and effective response to all this reality, MARCHA recommends the following concrete actions.

To our denomination:

  • We ask our bishops that as spiritual leaders, offer support and care to all immigrants and refugees and people who are being harassed, intimidated and violated with attitudes and hate crimes in their respective conferences and in the nation.
  • We invite our general agencies to work collaboratively with ethnic racial caucuses and other groups in our denomination to provide more resources to combat racism, classism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, and any other form of discrimination, oppression and exclusion.
  • We request the North Carolina Annual Conference to work in collaboration with the General Commission on Religion and Race, the General Board of Church & Society, MARCHA, the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries, the Hispanic/Latino Caucus of the Southeast Jurisdiction and the Hispanic/Latino Committee of the North Carolina Conference, to engage in a joint conversation in identifying and implementing ways to eradicate all kind of discrimination, seek ways to protect and support the Hispanic/Latino community of their conference and prevent what happened in the Pilgrimage 2016 in the future.

To the United Methodist “Pueblo”:

  • We affirm and celebrate compassionate response initiatives from Hispanic/Latino pastors and leaders, faith communities, local congregations, ecumenical organizations, community organized communities to respond in the midst of this crisis. And we encourage that these efforts will be continued and strengthened.
  • We urge local churches to serve people who have been persecuted and to become a sanctuary for immigrants, refugees and other victims of persecution.
  • We call all United Methodist to be “MARCHA” wherever they are serving, working locally with community groups and organizing to respond to the needs of the people.(
  • We request Hispanic/Latino United Methodist congregations and community groups to report to MARCHA incidents or cases of discriminatory abuse that they experience.
  • We encourage everyone to work with all jurisdictional caucuses, conferences, community groups, coalitions and allies who fight and defend the dignity of our people.
  • We promote dialogue where we can find one another and discover in our diversity the God who makes us a Pueblo.
  • We unite with the ecumenical and interreligious family in prayer of intersection and a commitment of faith through gestures and attitudes of solidarity in the face of these new challenges.

To the President-elect, Donald Trump:

  • We urge President-elect Trump to use his power with responsibility to create an environment of solidarity in our country, amid the environment created in the political campaign resulting in division, animosity and fear in our people.

Jesus prayed for us, the disciples of all times, to be “one” as this would be the best testimony of life for the world. Jesus prayed, “that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. ” (John 17:21)

Let’s be a diverse “Pueblo” – builders of bridges, not walls.


Rev. Lyssette N. Pérez                             Bishop Elías Galván

President of MARCHA                                   Executive Director of MARCHA

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