Posted on December 15, 2011


“Faith, Resistance and Transformation”

We invite you to participate in an ongoing investigation of Liberation Theology today at Adalberto United Methodist Church, where Elvira Arellano stood on her faith in sanctuary to confront a nation

with the bond between a mother and her son.


Saturdays at 1 p.m.

2716 W Division St.

(Beginning January 7th, 2012

The movement in Latin American faith communities called “Liberation Theology” in the 1960’s, at least partially, paved the way for the dramatic political transformation we are witnessing today in Latin America. That movement featured the theory of some of the continent’s greatest theological thinkers and the practice of some of its most dedicated religious leaders, many of whom gave their lives.

            The Black Liberation Theology of James Cone attempted to draw theology from the deep felt faith, prayer, preaching of the word and practice in the struggle that in many ways led the civil rights movement of the 1960’s – from Malcolm to King.

            Many have called the struggle for legalization of the undocumented the “civil rights movement of today.” In so far as that is true, rising in the midst of it is a new but unformulated version of liberation theology. What is emerging inherits the liberation theology and practice from the different countries of origin of the Latino immigrant population with the faith and theology of the civil rights movement, put in the context of a Latino religious revolution as Catholics are challenged  by  an  evangelical  movement that, itself, is being transformed by the


immigrant experience, and an African American church searching for a new path to personal and social transformation and the disintegration of the family.

            Beginning with the Sanctuary experience of Elvira Arellano, which itself challenged the practice of the church throughout the United States, Familia Latina Unida ministries found itself growing from the seeds of these various strains of liberation theology in practice. A reading of scripture in the context of the struggle emerged – and a defined pattern of faith celebration gradually took shape which both called and supported a continuous, sustained program of action.

            The Familias Unidas tours led by Congressman Gutierrez, in 2009 and again in 2011, brought us into the sanctuaries of Catholic, Evangelical, and Protestants and into Latino and African American Churches in over 50 cities, as the struggle for family unity in the face of a broken immigration law merged with the quest to restore and reconstruct families from the social destruction and self-destruction of an individualistic North American culture in both the African American and Latino communities.

            What we offer on Saturdays, beginning in January 2012, is a living study of that which has developed. We will begin with s short service at 1 p.m., reflecting the ongoing celebration and development of the struggle, and following the service a dialogue that will investigate the theological and practical realization of “liberation theology” in Chicago today.

            A range of pastors and priests, theologians and activists will be invited to participate in the dialogue over the next year.

            We pursue this program of celebration, prayer, study, dialogue and action at this time because we believe that the elusive potential unity of the African American and Latino struggles is within our grasp. The prophecy that an original  people from the east and another from the south would converge upon the most powerful nation in the world, would be fruitful and multiply, and would become the majority force to transform that nation from one that exploits, threatens and impoverishes the world to a nation that can be a fountain of justice for the world – that prophecy, which we attribute to Minister Louis Farakhan, may well be realizing in front of our eyes. It is within the context of that vision and the practice of the struggle that will lead to it that we invite you to participate with us each Saturday during the coming year.

To participate, please respond at Please give us your name and contact information so that we can send you updates on specific events in the series that may interest you.

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