Hispanic fellowship to celebrate 15 years of forging ties in SBC

ST. LOUIS (BP)--The 15th Annual Reunion of the National Fellowship of Hispanic Southern Baptist Churches will feature the preaching of evangelist Alberto Mottesi.

Mottesi, who returns as the fellowship's lead speaker for a second year, preaches throughout Latin America and the United States from his home base in Anaheim, Calif.

The national fellowship was begun by 14 Hispanic leaders meeting in Las Vegas in 1987. The founders wanted "to bring about an awareness of Hispanic needs," said Bob Sena, who was elected by the group as their liaison to Southern Baptist Convention entities. Sena currently is manager of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board church planting group's Hispanic unit.

"It was observed that Hispanics and other ethnic Baptists should be given more representation and participation in the planning of their future within the Southern Baptist Convention," Sena recounted.

At the same time, the founders were committed "to motivate Hispanic congregations to be more involved in and cooperative with ... all levels of the Southern Baptist Convention: association, state and national," Sena said, and they rooted their doctrinal stance in the SBC's Baptist Faith and Message statement of beliefs.

The 15th annual reunion of the fellowship will be June 8-9 at Fee Fee Baptist Church in St. Louis, with a theme of "There Is Life in Jesus" based on John 10:10.

Mottesi will address the fellowship's inaugural service Saturday at 7 p.m. The group's current president, Herberto Becerra, will deliver an opening declaration. He is pastor of First Hispanic Baptist Church, Plantation, Fla.

On Sunday afternoon, three workshops will be offered: "How to go forward with your finances and without debts," led by Andres Panasiuk of the Atlanta-area Crown Financial Ministries; "How to go forward with families in this world in crisis," led by Texas evangelist Samuel Otero; and "Practical strategies to plant churches and enhance existing ones," led by Sena.

The fellowship's concluding session, with Mottesi preaching, will be at 7 p.m. Sunday.