For 22 years now, Leadership Institute at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection has drawn ministry leaders and pastors from around the nation, and even globally. This year was no different, however the event LOOKED very different. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was held virtually. Despite having to move online, the conference drew over 3,000 participants, a record in its 22 year history.

Rev. Dr. Alma Tinoco Ruiz
Duke Divinity School

The Foundation for Evangelism was a sponsor at this year’s event, and provided a grant for a breakout session presented by Denman Fellow, Rev. Dr. Alma Tinoco Ruiz. The breakout session titled “Being Present: Evangelism and Social Trauma” urged attendees to provide a Spirit-led and compassionate presence during this time of communal trauma, drawing on the sermons of Saint Oscar Romero who served as Archbishop of San Salvador (1977-1980) and ministered to the marginalized and oppressed people of El Salvador.

Rev. Dr. Ruiz is the Lecturer in Homiletics and Evangelism, and Director of the Hispanic House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. Her presentation was developed with collaboration from Rev. Dr. Laceye Warner (the Royce and Jane Reynolds Associate Professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies and Associate Dean for Wesleyan Engagement at Duke Divinity School), who served as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Duke Divinity from 2001-2015.

Over 692 people have viewed the session so far, and participants had this to say:

Amen! Thank you Pastor Alma. That was very helpful. I like how you have lifted people like Wesley in England and Romero in El Salvador.

-Harun Gatobu

Thank you! This was very helpful, and inspired me to seek a way to make “safe space” for lament in my context.

– Beth Wilterdink

In addition to the breakout session sponsored by The Foundation for Evangelism, Rev. Dr. F. Douglas Powe, Jr., the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Wesley Theological Seminary, presented a breakout session entitled “Save Our Church” based on his new book The Adept Church: Navigating Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

The Foundation, through grants like Rev. Dr. Ruiz’s breakout session at Leadership Institute 2020, can be a Catalyst to equip disciples to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

For those who registered for Leadership Institute 2020, these sessions and all others are available online through the L.I. Whova app for a full year. If you were not able to register, you can still access the recordings on-demand by registering at https://li.cor.org/.