A multiracial, multicultural assembly gathered on May 18 for the ordination of the Rev. Lizette Merchán Pinilla in the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference, as Pinilla was authorized for ministry by the Oklahoma Association and Community of Hope UCC in Tulsa, Okla.
The multicultural celebration took place on the same day that UCC pastors across the country were calling their members to a "sacred conversation on race." (see story on page 3)
"One hundred people came from many races, genders, abilities, disabilities and faiths to celebrate Lizette's ordination," said the Rev. Rosemary McCombs Maxey, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and interim pastor of Community of Hope UCC.
Pinella, who is Colombian by birth, is in the United States on a worker visa. In addition to working in the ecumenical church relations office of Disciples-related Phillips Theological Seminary, she will serve Community of Hope UCC as its justice and witness minister.
"Complex as her immigration and visa statuses have been, her life testifies to the struggle and strength of her people and her determination to stand faithful," Maxey said. "She credits her companions at the Community of Hope for bringing her 'from the pew to the pulpit.'"