Latin American and Caribbean Methodist Women Leadership Conference

When HiRho Park, Director of Lifelong Learning of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), wanted to provide opportunities and support for Latin American and Caribbean women in the Church, she returned to her experiences of coordinating other large gatherings of United Methodist women in regions around the world.

Over 350 clergywomen gathered in Africa in 2012. Nearly 300 received support and consultation in a similar event in the Philippines in 2011. Attendees to these successful GBHEM events received much-needed continuing education opportunities, encouragement, community, and support.

Then came a simple request from Peru.

“HiRho, can you do this for Latin America?” asked Guillermo Yoshikawa, President of the Peruvian United Methodist Church, during the 2012 General Conference.

Park accepted Yoshikawa’s question as an invitation, seeking help from GBHEM neighbors and sister agencies. Partnerships soon formed between United Methodist Women and The Upper Room, a ministry of the General Board of Discipleship of the UMC, to work toward the very first Latin American and Caribbean Methodist Women Leadership Conference to be held January 22-25, 2014 at Kawai Retreat Center near Lima, Peru.

Two representatives from The Upper Room—Publisher, Sarah Wilke, and Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Relations, Blanca Longhurst—will travel with Park of GBHEM to Peru next week to attend the event, as well as to offer a workshop to the gathered community.

The theme of the event is “Affirmation of the dignity of Latin American and Caribbean women,” and The Upper Room hopes to offer itself as a resource of spiritual formation and prayer for the women in attendance.

“We look forward to what this event will yield for women in Latin America and the Caribbean, and we hope to share stories of these women upon our return,” said Wilke of The Upper Room in a recent meeting.

For more information about registration and participation, please contact

General Board of Higher Education & Ministry

GBHEM is the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church. The work of the Board is preparing global leaders for the church and the world. Every elder, deacon, and licensed local pastor has benefited from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults have found help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call on their life through our leadership and discernment programs, and through values-centered higher education and collegiate ministries at the 106 UM-related schools, colleges, and universities. United Methodist leaders — both lay and clergy — have benefited from GBHEM’s loans and scholarships programs.

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