How to Do Outreach to the Latino Faith Community

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The Latino community is well represented across many faith denominations. In order to successfully engage and inform this community, strong relationships with faith leaders need to be established, and understanding faith-specific norms will assist with outreach.

According to the Pew Center’s National Survey1, the largest concentrations of faith-based congregations in the Latino community are represented in the Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, & Mormon denominations as well as Latinos who are unaffiliated.

Important Factors to Consider:

  • Diversity of faith-based congregations:
    • Understand the differences in titles towards church leadership (Index A).
    • Understand the different names for gatherings, services, and building reference for worship.

Latino-Faith-Graph-1

 

Denomination 

Religious Service 

Place of Worship 

Roman Catholic/Episcopal

Mass (Homily is the speech delivered)

Church

Mormon (Latter Day Saints)

Sacrament (Sermon delivered)

Temple

Christian (Evangelical/Pentecostal)

Service (Sermon delivered)

Church

Jehovah’s Witness

Service (Message is the speech)

Kingdom Hall

Initial Contact

  • Map your community: Identify where local churches are located.
  • Do your research: Larger, “mega” congregations will have a website for initial contact or have office hours. You usually can call the congregation secretary to set up an appointment with the congregation lead. If no response or with a smaller congregations, call to find out when services are held and plan to attend service and speak to the lead afterward.
  • Learn the history of the church and activism level of the congregation leaders (many are community leaders) and hit the most active first.
  • You should arrive before the gathering in order to speak to ushers or staff dedicated to working with community partners.

Attire/Conduct

  • Professional dress clothes (no jeans) are recommended. Better to over-dress than under- dress. While more progressive, holistic congregations may be less concerned about style of dress for men and women, most still require women to wear knee-length dresses or skirts and non-revealing shirts.

Some Do’s and Don’ts

Do: 

  • Shake people’s hands…some might even hug you!
  • Smile and be polite
  • Provide information, hand out material, stay awake
  • Engage as many people as possible
  • Maintain contact after the event- relationship building is key!

Don’t: 

  • Discuss politics
  • Discuss your personal religious/political/sexual views
  • Show bias towards any particular group, be it religious or political
  • Fall asleep
  • Interrupt!

RELIGION 

POSITION 

SALUTATION 

DIRECT ADDRESS 

Christianity: Anglican; Episcopalian 

Priest (who may be functioning as a Rector; Curate; Vicar; Chaplain)

Dear Fr. 

* When the priest is a woman “Dear Mother Smith”; others prefer “Dear Elizabeth.”

Father or Mother

Deacon

Dear Deacon

Deacon ; or, Deacon 

Bishop

Dear Bishop ; Your Grace 

Bishop; or Your Grace 

Dean (of a seminary)

Dear Dean

Dean 

Archdeacon

Dear Archdeacon LN

Archdeacon; Fr. ; Fr.

Presiding Bishop

Dear Bishop 

BishopYour Grace 

Nun, Monk

Dear Sister ; Brother 

Sister; Brother 

Christianity: Church of Christ (not United Church of Christ)

Minister

Christianity: Jehovah’s Witnesses 

While the term “minister” is used, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that a clergy class and special titles are improper

Brother Smith; Mr. Smith

Catholic 

Cardinal

Your Eminence 

Your Eminence 

Archbishop/Bishop

Your Excellency 

Your Excellency 

Priest

Dear Reverend 

Father 

Deacon

Dear Deacon

Deacon 

Brother (monk)

Dear Brother 

Brother 

Sister (nun)

Dear Sister 

Sister 

Christianity: Pentecostal, Evangelical 

Minister

Dear Pastor 

Pastor 

Christianity1: Protestants,

Minister

The Reverend 

Pastor 

Christianity: Latter-day Saints/Mormon 

President (Apostle)

President Gordon B. Hinckley

President Hinckley

Bishop 

Bishop 

Bishop 

Elder (includes male missionaries)

Elder 

Elder 

Female missionaries

Sister 

Sister 

Endnotes

2http:religions.pewforum.org/maps

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