Roberta Cox

September 19, 2006

The Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions

Dallas, Texas – Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, announces the establishment of a Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions.

The center will be headed by Dr. David Maldonado, president emeritus of Iliff School of Theology. Maldonado retired in 2004 from that position, following 16 years on the faculty at Perkins. Previously, he taught at The University of Texas at Arlington.

The mission of the center is to promote a deeper understanding of the varieties of religious life and expression within the Latino communities in the United States and in Latin America. Already known for its Mexican American Program, Perkins seeks to strengthen and deepen its engagement with Latino/a realities through educational programs, the generation and promotion of research, and the dissemination of knowledge. The Center will address topics and issues related to the Latino/a religious experience within a broader ecumenical and religious context, as well as attention to international dynamics and realities.

“The presence, dynamic growth, and increasing diversity of Hispanic populations challenge the church and religious leaders in preparing those who will minister with this population,” said William B. Lawrence, Dean of Perkins School of Theology. “The Center will be a great resource for the various degree programs at Perkins School of Theology that prepare religious leaders to minister in a social context in which the Latino population is an increasingly significant factor.”

The Center is an integral component of the Perkins School of Theology, and will work in collaboration with other pertinent programs and resources in Southern Methodist University as well as in partnership with other institutions in the USA and in Latin America.

Maldonado is the editor of Protestants/Protestants: Hispanic Christianity Within Mainline Traditions, the co-editor of Hispanic Christianity Within Mainline Traditions: A Bibliography and the author of Crossing Guadalupe Street. A member of The United Methodist Church’s University Senate, and its General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Maldonado earned his theology degree from SMU and his Master’s degree and Doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.

Perkins School of Theology is one of five University-related official schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. The school was founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Church Ministry, Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, and Doctor of Ministry degrees, as well as the Ph.D. in cooperation with SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.