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In this, the third event in our new CLGS Queer & Latinx Faith Conversation series, we explore three ministerial careers shaped by the pursuit of faith and justice. Each panelist will offer reflections on where we’ve been, are, and will be at Latinx Christian leaders. Come join the discussion!
The Rev. Liz Muñoz has served as the vicar of Santiago/St. James Episcopal Church, Oakland, since 2018. She identifies as a bisexual, Chicana activist priest and a community organizer. She has served as rector or vicar in four distinct multicultural settings in Los Angeles and Chicago. Rev. Muñoz was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the working class Latinx neighborhood of Boyle Heights in East L.A. She was ordained to the priesthood in 2005. Before receiving her MDiv from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX she spent 18 years as a bilingual general and special education teacher.
Rev. Muñoz committed to developing new liturgical forms that are bilingual, incorporate the prophetic voice for justice and seeking the full inclusion of children and youth at all levels of liturgical work. She’s been arrested at least five times for acts of civil disobedience in support of fair wages and for the right of workers to organize. She shares a home with Ray Pickett, her spouse, and a kin of four-leggeds that remind her consistently that humankind does not sit atop the hierarchy of creation.
The Rev. Altagracia Pérez-Bullard, Ph.D., is the Director of Contextual Ministry and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. Before joining the VTS faculty, she served as the Canon for Congregational Vitality in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Through church leadership development, both lay and clergy, she assisted congregations as they engaged and collaborated with their changing contexts to bring new life to their communities. She has served the Church for over thirty years as a youth minister, community leader, and priest in the Dioceses of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Dr. Pérez-Bullard has brought leadership to the issues of HIV/AIDS, youth violence, worker justice and a living wage, health disparities in communities of color, housing, and community empowerment. In each of these areas, she has sought to build bridges and create alliances between communities across lines of difference, whether they are characterized by race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, or physical and mental abilities. Altagracia holds a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Claremont School of Theology, CA, an M.Div. and STM from Union Theological Seminary, New York and B.S. in Educational Psychology from New York University.
The Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera is passionate about establishing loving Christian communities with and for all people. His congregational ministry focus is planting Latino ministries in existing Episcopal churches and creating sustainable, integrated, dual-language congregations where the community worships God in two languages (English and Spanish). Daniel is Vicar of Saint Gabriel’s Episcopal Church ~ Iglesia San Gabriel in Leesburg, Virginia where he is committed to nourishing and strengthening the community’s call to serve others as Christ’s ambassadors. When St. Gabriel’s launched its Hispanic Ministry in 2014, it became the first bilingual, multicultural Episcopal congregation in Loudoun County, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.
Daniel is married to Parker Gallagher, his partner of twenty-five years, who introduced him to the Episcopal Church in 1996. In his free time Daniel enjoys being with family and friends, gardening, practicing Bikram Yoga, cooking (and eating), gardening, playing golf, being outdoors, traveling, listening to music, and learning. During this time of pandemic, St. Gabriel’s focuses on two justice ministries: food and shelter. The food ministry at St. Gabriel’s is not a pantry, it is the “Uber”, so to speak, of pantries. In a four-way partnership with the largest pantry in the county (Loudoun Hunger Relief) and two other Episcopal churches, St. Gabriel’s ~ San Gabriel delivers food and personal hygiene products to people’s homes who don’t have transportation or access to their local pantries or food drop off locations.
The shelter ministry at St. Gabriel’s is not a homeless shelter. St. Gabriel’s was chosen to partner with Loudoun Cares and the local Catholic Charities, and with County and town grants, have disbursed over $400,000 including CARES Act emergency rental assistance funds to people infected and affected by COVID-19, especially undocumented families in the County who have lost income.