Join us for Worship @9:30am(English) In-person/online & @ 11:15am Hispanic Gathering
Come and bring your family to join our family. With our hearts and passion for the Lord, we will embrace you. Our ministry is dedicated to bringing people with diverse backgrounds together through Christ.
Pastor Gary Connor served the East Naples United Methodist Church (ENUMC) from 1973 – 1975. Two years prior, a family of mixed heritage had made the courageous journey from Cuba to Miami and then across to Naples. Exploring her new surroundings one day, the mother and wife, Udene Torres, saw a sign for the East Naples United Methodist Church and made a bold declaration of faith, “This will be my church.”
Though she was born in Cuba, Udene, has a proud British heritage from parents who were from the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. The mixture afforded her the luxury of being bi-lingual (speaking fluent English and Spanish); the same was not true of her husband, Andres, and three children. However, that did not stop the family from seeking to worship at an English-speaking church.
When Pastor Connor got to know the family and further, that the language barrier existed, what he did was one of the most outstanding acts of Christian and human kindness ever. He made a commitment to meet with the family, and with a dictionary as his aid, delivered a sermon in Spanish so that the entire family would, together, receive the Word of God. Pastor Connor did this every Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm until he was transferred out of ENUMC.
How awesome! Just like Jesus, Pastor Connor made a bold declaration of faith and love and showed one family that they were worthy. Pastor Connor sacrificed not only his time, but also his ego—after all, he could not speak the Spanish language—to share God’s word, and to ensure that two grown-ups and three small children, received the sacraments of their Methodist faith.
The Torres Family blazed the trail for what is today the Hispanic Ministry of ENUMC. With Udene’s persistence and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, she was led to find the right contacts within the Florida United Methodist Conference to approve the establishment of ministry in 1987.
Without a local Pastor to lead, Pastors came from all over Florida to officiate over services on Sundays. The road has been a rocky one for the ministry, but the Torres Family and a few others including Udene’s brother, Howard Moxam, his wife Isabel, and their daughters have persevered.
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