Because Connection is Necessary
By Pastor Marianne Pena
As a child, one of my favorite songs to sing at church was, Mirad cuan bello, y cuan delicioso es, habitar los hermanos juntos en harmonia… It is from Psalm 133:1- How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! I guess I have always been moved by the idea and possibility of unity. I love to see people connect and get to know one another, but I also personally know how easy it can be to remain separate and in silos. As pastors and leaders, we get used to working alone. In the Latino context, we are inclined to build our own communities, and dare I say, kingdoms. That is exacerbated to be in a different country with a different culture and then throw in the language barriers. Yet we know that there is one thing that transcends geography, culture, language, and our comfort—JESUS. In Jesus, unity is possible, and is actually expected. So as followers of Jesus, we strive to
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:2-6, NIV)
Conexión Latina (La Conexión) aims to embody unity of the Spirit among and through Latinos. La Conexión exists to build bridges among Latino leaders and churches. Yet, it is much more than that. We understand that Latinos in the United States are living, engaging, and ministering within a different context than their counterparts in Latin American countries. Therefore, as la Conexion, we want to help Latino leaders and churches also connect with their communities, other church leaders and their wider Free Methodist Family, regardless of ethnicity and language. It is important to us that Latinos not only minister to Latinos but that they work in unity with all cultures.
We aim to do this in many ways. We want to provide Spanish-language resources to help leaders engage with their communities and provide effective and relevant leadership within their contexts. We want to ensure that courses for ordination, at minimum, are provided in Spanish through the Center for Pastoral Formation (CPF), so that no LMC or CMC would be limited by their language. For this reason, we have been working over the past few months to connect Spanish-speaking teachers with Dr. Steve Tungate and the CPF. We also want to provide opportunities for leaders to connect with other leaders across the nation and across annual conferences through our online and in-person gatherings.
This past September we had our first Conexion Latina Conference in Santa Ana, CA. It was a powerful time of connection, unity, healing, equipping, and encouragement for those in attendance. We experienced beautiful moments in the presence of God together and heard from some of our Conexion Leaders about the importance of Not Abandoning the Call- Pastor Refugio Sanchez and Being the Bridge- Pastor Marianne Peña. Bishop Matt Whitehead shared on the FM Way and the power there is in praying and coming together to accomplish the work God has given us. We also heard from Strategic Catalyst for Love-Driven Justice, Dr. Fraser Venter and from Pastor Obe Arellano, Executive Director of Exponential en Español about multiplication and the Future of the Latin Church. We also had various workshops to help equip and encourage our pastors. The Conference finished and it left us wanting more.

If you missed it, we encourage you to mark your calendars for April 27 &28, for our 2nd Conexion Latina Conference which will be at Iglesia Nueva Vida in Cleveland, OH. For more information, follow us on Facebook at Conexion Latina, or visit our website: Conexion Latina ML .
Whether you are Latino or not, we encourage you to support our network. We would love to have you with us at our next conference as we connect with and pour into leaders and churches.

Be a Point of Contact- We are looking for representatives (points of contact) within each conference/region to help spread the word to our pastors/churches and connect them to La Conexión.
Be a Teacher- If you are currently approved to teach ordination courses and are interested in being part of the network of Spanish-speaking teachers, please contact us.
Be a Contributor- If you have leadership development courses or tried and effective best practices that you would be willing to share with others, we would love to connect with you.
Be a donor- If you would like to partner with us financially to help support the programs or to help provide scholarships to pastors/leaders that need financial assistance to participate in conferences and gatherings. 
(left to right)
Jose Edgar Sosa- Education Team
Pastor in Mount Vernon, NY

Miguel Nuñez- Education Team
Pastor in San Francisco, CA

Refugio Sanchez – President
Pastor in Santa Ana, CA

Marianne Peña- Vice President
Co-Pastor/Church Planter in Spring, TX

Jose Segura- Communications Team
Pastor in San Antonio, TX

Daniel Jaquez- Communications Team
Pastor in Clermont, FL
If you are interested in learning more about Conexion Latina or connecting with us, please follow us and message us on Facebook, Conexion Latina  or visit our website, Conexion Latina ML and click on the “contact us” tab. 
Marianne Pena is an Elder and the Co-Pastor of Essential Church in Spring, TX. Marianne and Will are dynamic leaders within our denomination and conference. They moved from the South Atlantic Conference to plant a church in Spring, Texas July of 2022 and are eagerly waiting to see what God has planned for them.
Welcome Lighthouse Fellowship. They are in Fort Worth, Texas and have decided to transfer from the United Methodist and join the Free Methodist Church. They will be a wonderful addition to TRC.

Lead Pastor Frank Briggs, along with Pastors Bobby Cullen and Dan Morris, began this journey to the Free Methodist Church in August of 2021 and as of November 1, 2022 they are officially Free Methodist. We are excited to begin our journey with Lighthouse Fellowship, their pastors and staff, and their congregation.
Beginning on November 1st, the process of receiving the Conference Apportionments via ACH Withdrawal will start with the November payment (based on the October Conference Tithe / Apportionment Report you submit). We have nine churches who completed the necessary paperwork to auto withdraw the amount submitted on the Conference Tithe / Apportionment Report. This report is to be submitted by the 10th of the every month via TRC's website. They will be the first to have their Apportionments withdrawn on November 25th.

Please review the information contained on the website below. It also has the encrypted form that allows you to provide your banking information so your church can begin in December 2022.

It is our plan to have 100% participation beginning with the January 2023 Tithe / Apportionment. That gives you November and December to provide TRC with the information necessary to auto-withdraw from your banking account.

Again, please review the link and complete the authorization form to begin your participation.

REMINDER: This is the same process used by Defined Benefits (retirement), Brotherhood Mutual, and utility companies.
July 24-28, 2023
Orlando, FL

Opens on January 1, 2023
for event tickets and hotel reservations

TRC signed up to take advantage of's "give back" campaign. Amazon Smile is a program where you can designate a charity to receive a percentage of any purchase made on

If you buy things off Amazon, please consider designating TRC as your charity. How to get started: - find The River Conference of the Free Methodist Church, Lakewood, CO on the charity list, select it. Now every time you order something from Amazon, you must enter through the website, you'll see what charity you're supporting in red letters. Then start shopping. Amazon will automatically deposit donations into our checking account.

If you buy things off Amazon, please consider designating TRC as your charity.
Around the Conference

Julie Gray (Phoenix, Light & Life Church) [email protected]

Ryan Stoops (Caldwell, Deer Flat Church) [email protected]

Mark Douglas, Assistant Superintendent [email protected]

Ali Mitachi (Abilene, Portland Avenue) [email protected]

Heather Utley (San Antonio, Tapestry Church) [email protected]

James Leman (Spokane 1st Church) [email protected]
Upcoming TRC Committee Meetings
There are no committee meetings in December

TRC Office will be closed between Christmas-New Years December 26-30
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