Pursuing Excellence In Communication for Spanish Speakers
It had been a dream of mine for over ten years. For thirty plus years I have been part of a national ministry called SCORRE Conference, formerly Dynamic Communicator’s Workshops. It equips men and women to communicate with clarity, focus, and power. My particular interest has been preaching but I have had the privilege of coaching many other kinds of speakers and communicators. It has been the most influential experience in my own pursuit of excellence in teaching and preaching.
In 2003 I was called to Downey First Presbyterian Church and began in earnest to work alongside Spanish speaking people. Almost immediately I wondered if there was a way to bring the experience I had been given in pursuing excellence in communication through SCORRE to Spanish speakers. I began to learn Spanish, but my learning curve was too steep and my facility too slow to lead a conference in Spanish. But my heart never gave up the longing. In 2007 Alfredo Delgado came to work with me at Downey. I wondered if he might be a person to help me with this dream. At the time, it did not seem so. This is a story perhaps Alfredo and I can tell together some time! It is full of drama! Stay tuned!
But over the years Spanish speaking people would attend the SCORRE Conference and I would always hope that one of them might be the key to developing the workshop for Spanish speakers. Finally it happened! In October 2014 Fernando Galindo from Guatemala attended the SCORRE Conference. His English was impeccable. He is a professional translator working in Central America and the United States. On the second day he approached me and said, “You know, I have been thinking about how this would translate in Spanish.” Bingo! (Como se dice, “Bingo” en Español?!) I was beyond ecstatic! I talked with him and it became clear that what was a dream now might become a reality.
We applied for funding through the PCUSA Mission Agency dedicated funds for “equipping pastors to teach and preach the Bible in the western states.” Long story short? We applied for a grant in the spring of 2015 that could fund two, two-day conferences. The Council of Los Ranchos Presbytery sponsored it and it was approved! Hallelujah! SCORRE Conferences picked up the cost of training and equipping Fernando. The Session of San Clemente gave me enthusiastic permission to facilitate and lead this conference as part of my ministry so there would be no cost related to my involvement. They also approved the use of the SCPC campus as extension of our ministry. This meant that almost all the grant funds could be used to make it possible to help Spanish speaking ministers attend. Nothing but hopeful expectation ahead!
Now, enter Alfredo Delgado. As consultant to LRP Alfredo had begun an annual conference for Spanish speaking leaders in 2011. I had attended two of these in an attempt to learn more Spanish and learn from these gifted and diverse leaders. I knew Alfredo could be a tremendous asset and able to encourage our Hispanic leaders to attend. Alfredo went a step further. He determined this would be a great offering and agreed to allow the regularly scheduled November dates to be used for hosting the Spanish SCORRE Conference. Now we were really on our way! Los Ranchos Presbytery gave their blessing to this use of this time. Alfredo was able to attend the SCORRE Conference in the fall of 2015 AND once again SCORRE picked up the cost for his training. Now we had a team!
The dream became a reality. Because of the generosity of all these entities the first SCORRE Conference en español was held November 4-5, 2016. This cooperative generosity, enabled us to offer the two-day conference to twenty-five Spanish speaking ministers and leaders for only $125 per person. We opened the registration up to other presbyteries and ended up with 21 participants. It was an exciting and rich time of learning and pursuing excellence in communication together.
Due to unforeseen circumstances Fernando Galindo was unable to attend and facilitate. Thank God for Alfredo Delgado. He stepped up to the plate. I taught and he interpreted. But a strange thing happened on the second day. The Spanish speaking participants requested that the final day be done in English only. They believed they could understand well enough and would benefit more from the slower pace with more time for questions. And, they agreed to supply a personal translator for the two participants who they believed needed it. What an amazing group! It was such a blessing for me to be able to teach them and learn from them! In communication, especially cross cultural communication everyone is learning! Marion Park and Tom Dykhuizen were Presbytery observers. You can ask them about the event.
At the conclusion of the conference all 21 participants responded by saying they would be interested in another two-day conference or the full four-day conference. They were effusive about the benefits of this training and very interested in how this might be made available to people in their countries of origin. So few of those preaching and teaching in these countries have access to this kind of training. After consultation with the President and Founder of SCORRE Conferences, we have been given the green light to move forward in training Spanish speakers to train people in their own countries. This is very exciting. God is able to do even more than I imagined in my dreams.
The SCORRE Conference is coming to Southern California. The four-day conference in English, May 1-4, and the 2-day conference in Spanish, May 5-6, all at San Clemente Presbyterian Church. Four of our Spanish speaking attendees from the first conference will be trained at the four day in order to facilitate our second two-day conference. Excellence in communication is on the move! In English and Spanish!
Dios es Bueno! Muy Bueno!