Rev. Jeniffer Rodríguez is an Associate Pastor at First Church Elizabeth and multi-cultural ministry coordinator for Elizabeth Presbytery, one of the most diverse in the PCUSA. In October 2014, Jeniffer will launch Elizabeth Presbytery’s Committee on Multi-Cultural Experiences, which seeks to create intercultural opportunities for church leaders. Jeniffer graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary with her M.Div in 2012.
My ministry journey in New Jersey has being really interesting in the past months. As a coordinator of Multicultural ministries of Elizabeth Presbytery, I have been working with a great group of people from different churches among the presbytery, being intentional by creating awareness of the diversity present in Elizabeth Presbytery.
The Presbytery of Elizabeth includes churches of Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties. The diversities include ethnicity, education, interests, healthcare and standards of living. However, despite all of these differences we are one and we work for Christ. The Presbytery of Elizabeth saw a need to create new pieces of ministry, then put them together emphasizing being and becoming multicultural. Some of us, in fact, know that our communities are constantly changing, including different ethnic groups that are knocking our doors or already gathering with us.
We are having a new beginning and are breathing new air; that’s what I see and feel working in the Presbytery of Elizabeth. Because multiethnicity is a priority for us, we created C.O.M.E (Committee on Multicultural Experience). We have been meeting during the past few months, focusing on the next steps we are going to follow. This process has been enriching, helping us to understand the needs that are present and how the Presbytery of Elizabeth is going to move forward.
Our first event will be on October 4, 2014 and will be for pastors and key leaders of our congregations. This event will help to strength our relationships and get to know each other, enjoy a memorable day together in contact with nature at Camp Jonhsonburg and reflect and have conversations based on the book Holy Currencies by Eric Law.
One of the things I have learned during this process is that a person can do their work and be committed without falling into the same patterns, one after the other. Work can be fun! The process of learning and exploring does not need to be sad and tedious. Instead, we can obtain better results and envision new horizons by enjoying every piece of the process.
We pray God to continue being with us and give us the opportunity to plant seeds in each person in a world that is becoming more diverse every day. Being diverse means we need to learn from each other and find opportunities for common ground where all of us, despite the differences, can contribute to make something beautiful and colorful because we are one body in Christ.
One of our key verses is 2 Corinthians 5:17; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” We for sure believe there is a new beginning for us and among us.
Many blessings to all
Coordinator of Multicultural Ministries
Check out Jeniffer and her ministry with the new Committee On Multicultural Experiences (COME)!