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Elsa Noemi Meza: empowering the Latino community

Elsa Noemi Meza reaches out to a Peruvian woman during a Christmas visit to a senior housing facility in Peru.

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Scholarship allows woman to make difference in her community.

“Through my studies,” says World Communion Scholar Elsa Noemi Meza, “I am learning that as Methodists, we need to put into practice the Wesleyan concepts of the living core: Scripture, tradition, experience and reason.”

Meza is working on her Master of Divinity degree at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. An exploring candidate in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference, Meza says she is not sure if she will pursue ordination as an elder or a deacon. Later, through praying, fasting and guidance by her mentor and pastor, she will discern where and how she will serve in Christian mission.

Right now, though, she is concentrating on her studies and volunteer projects, many serving the local Latino population. “My ministry is growing as I gain confidence as a result of my learning experiences and internship opportunities through the seminary,” she says. “This means that my impact on the community is seen daily as I observe the power of the Holy Spirit working to empower these women with whom I interact.”

A member of St. John's United Methodist Church of Oak Park, a mission congregation of first- and second-generation immigrant families, Meza dreams of creating a United Methodist-connected women’s Hispanic leadership program in the Chicago area that “welcomes dialogue connections with Hispanic Christian women and other faith traditions. The goal is to reach low-income women to empower them spiritually and equip them with skill sets to become self-sufficient,” she adds.

Meza also works with Family Bridges, an Oak Park-based nonprofit organization that promotes healthy marriages and positive interpersonal relationships; Latina Women in Action; and the Women-to-Women Group at her local church. She has an undergraduate science degree from Universidad Nacional del Centre del Peru and a master’s in plant ecology from Lehman College, New York.

“As a scholarship recipient, I plan to encourage other ethnic minority women to consider a seminary education to become vital members of the Hispanic community in ministry,” she says.

Thanks to support from United Methodists and the World Communion Scholarship, Meza will continue her ministry of outreach and social justice.

World Communion Scholarships support United Methodist students and students who relate directly to the General Board of Global Ministries mission partners so that they may pursue master’s or doctoral studies at universities or seminaries.

Sandra Brands, writer and regular contributor to www.umcmission.org

One of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings of The United Methodist Church, World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God’s children. The special offering provides World Communion Scholarships, the Ethnic Scholarship Program and the Ethnic In-Service Training Program.

When you give generously on World Communion Sunday, you equip gifted, qualified students from around the globe to become the world changers God created them to be. Give now.

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