Justice + Unity: Toward the Healing of a Fractured Church

Part 2: Hispanic/Latino(a) Experience and Perspectives

On Oct. 2, 2018, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary continued our special Talking Points series and hosted the second of three conferences exploring the themes of justice and unity in Scripture. Our first event centered on Black/African American perspectives, this second event centered on Hispanic/Latino(a) perspectives and the third event centered the perspectives of women.

Special attention was given to issues related to immigration, legalization and hospitality.

Audio Recordings

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Justo González

Headshot of Justo L. GonzalezDr. Justo L. González was born in Havana, Cuba, on Aug. 9, 1937. He studied philosophy at the Universidad de la Habana and completed his bachelor's degree in theological studies at the Seminario Evangélico de Teología in Matanzas, Cuba. After obtaining S.T.M. and M.A. degrees, he became the youngest person to be awarded a Ph.D. in Historical Theology at Yale University. He also became one of the few first-generation Latino theologians in the U.S. to come from a Protestant background.

In 1964, he was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacraments by the Methodist Church. For thirty years, Gonzalez has taught in a variety of theological institutions in Latin America and in the U.S. He has given hundreds of lectures around the world and written over 100 books and 1,300 articles. He is best known for his two-volume "The Story of Christianity" and his three-volume "A History of Christian Thought," which have been translated into eight languages.

Gonzalez has been active in mentoring and encouraging of Hispanics and other minority scholars. He was the founding director of the Hispanic Summer Program (now Director Emeritus), the founding president of the Association of Theological Education for Hispanics (AETH), the first Executive Director of the Hispanic Theological Initiative and the founding editor of Hispanic theological journal Apuntes (now Editor Emeritus). He continues to serve as a consultant on Latino leadership training to seminaries and denominations in the U.S. and abroad.

Today, as a retired United Methodist minister and retired professor, he devotes his time to research and writing and to promoting Latino theological education. He is and his wife Rev. Dr. Catherine Gunsalus González live in Decatur, Ga., where their daughter, two granddaughters and two great-grandchildren also reside.

Tim Gombis

Headshot of Timothy GombisDr. Timothy Gombis teaches New Testament at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, Tyndale Fellowship and the Institute for Biblical Research. He received both his M. Div. and Th.M from the Master's Seminary and his Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews. His research interests include the Gospel of Mark, Paul's letters and theology and encounters between biblical theology and contemporary culture and politics. He has written on Paul's theology of racial unity, along with "The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God" and "Paul: A Guide for the Perplexed."

Before arriving in Grand Rapids, he was involved in the leadership of a multi-ethnic urban church in Springfield, Ohio. He is currently writing a commentary on Mark's Gospel and a book on Paul's pastoral ministry. In his spare time, Tim enjoys hiking, golf, following the Chicago Cubs and reading about ancient Greek and Roman history.

Joanne Solis-Walker

Headshot of Joanne Solis-WalkerJoanne Solis-Walker is an ordained minister of The Wesleyan Church. She has a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and Development with an emphasis on ecclesial leadership and is committed to the formation of leaders. Joanne most recently served as assistant dean of global theological education at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University and previously as director of education for Latin@s at the same institution. Dr. Solis-Walker contributed to pioneering one of the first primarily online, Spanish Master of Divinity in the nation, accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and contextualized to respond to the needs of the Hispanic-Latino community.

Professor Solis-Walker is vice president of the executive committee at AETH and liaison of certification. She serves as chair of Spanish Ministerial Education for The Wesleyan Church and adjunct professor at Wesley Seminary. She travels extensively speaking on topics of leadership and missions and is always advocating on issues related to educational equity and accessibility. Dra. Joanne is an entrepreneurial strategist with a history of building innovative programs. Joanne is of Puerto Rican descent, lives in Indiana with her husband Dan, their miracle daughter Adriana and the family Boxer, Kahlua Faith. She loves to sing, travel and spend time with people who make her laugh.

Carl Ruby

Headshot of Carl RubyDr. Carl Ruby serves as the Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church in Springfield, Ohio, where he is also the founder of Welcome Springfield, a nonprofit organization devoted to advocacy for immigrants who work or live in Clark County, Ohio.

After a long career in higher education where Dr. Ruby served as vice president for student affairs and prior to his call to pastoral ministry, Carl worked for three years on contract with the National Immigration Forum to help lead the Evangelical Immigration Table and to organize support for comprehensive immigration reform.

He is a member and writer for Red Letter Christians, an organization devoted to exploring and living out the counter-cultural teachings of Jesus Christ as it relates to justice and living lives of personal sacrifice.