More than 150 new Episcopalians will be received and welcomed into the Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, Florida's St. John's Cathedral on June 18.
"We joyfully receive this flock into the Episcopal Church," said Florida Bishop Samuel Johnson Howard. "We look forward to being colleagues and companions in ministry with the people of San Lucas and with Fr. Rosada. This event marks not only the addition of a substantial congregation to the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, but also a remarkable beginning for us in terms of Hispanic ministry."
Two years ago, St. Luke's Episcopal Church began renting worship space to the Hispanic congregation, which was then Minsterio Hispano El Mesias in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. The two groups, worshiping at different hours on the St. Luke's campus near the gates of Jacksonville University, grew to share an increasing amount of fellowship and outreach ministry. Over time, through conversation with Howard and others in the diocese, the leadership and people of El Mesias realized a call to join the Episcopal Church.
"The newly combined congregations are enthusiastic about the new opportunities for enhanced ministries which are emerging from their new status as 'St. Luke's/San Lucas' -- St. Luke's Episcopal Church/Iglesia Episcopal San Lucas -- with Fr. Rosada as rector," said a news release from the diocese.
Commenting on the merger of his Spanish-speaking congregation with the English-speaking congregation, Rosada said: "We are all foreigners. All of us came from somewhere else. We are all on a journey -- travelers in this world headed to a new place. God is King of all nations."
The Diocese of Florida was founded in 1838 as the entire state of Florida. Today's diocese consists of 70 parishes in 25 counties in northern Florida, stretching from the Apalachicola River to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the Georgia border to the Palm Coast region.