Master of Divinity with Hispanic Church Studies Concentration

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The Hispanic Church Studies concentration is a curricular specialization offered by Southwest to prepare and equip students for ministry in Hispanic communities.  It also helps students integrate ministry among Hispanics within their general parish ministry.  Students complete the concentration by taking four three-credit hour electives offered through the concentration.  Students in the concentration will gain cultural competency while acquiring skills and sensibilities for the practice of ministry in Hispanic communities.  The seminary's offerings in Spanish language acquisition will assist students who desire to minister in Spanish-speaking settings but are not yet proficient in the language.  Students in the concentration take all their required courses with their M.Div. and MAR peers while using a minimum of four elective courses for the concentration.  Courses are taught by the faculty of Southwest.  The courses in the concentration are also available as electives for all students.  Students who complete the concentration graduate with a transcript that indicates completion of the Hispanic Church Studies concentration.  Students in the MAR, DTS, and DAS degree programs may also tailor their studies to take advantage of the concentration.








The Reverend Paul Barton, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the History of American Christianity and Missiology also serves as the director of Hispanic Church Studies concentration.
Learning Goals of Hispanic Church Studies

  • to appreciate critically and sensitively cultural expressions of Hispanic Christian faith and the particular devotional practices of the various groups that comprise Hispanics;
  • to identify and reflect on important events, movements, texts and initiatives within the history of Hispanics, especially in the southwestern United States;
  • to reflect on theological and social issues from the perspectives of various Hispanic and Latin American theologians;
  • to appreciate the role that justice plays in an authentic expression of Christian faith;
  • to develop a receptivity toward innovation, enculturation, and difference for the purpose of extending the Christian community to include a variety of groups of people; and


Required Course

M1320   Encuentro/Mission in Latino Contexts
M1310  Introduction to Missiology

Hispanic Church Studies Electives

M4301   History of Latin American Religion and Culture

M4307  Beginning Spanish for Ministry

M4308 Spanish Immersion Course

M4312  Intermediate Spanish for Ministry

M4315   History of Latin American and Caribbean Christianity

M4318   Latino Religion and Culture in Film

M4320   Theologies of Liberation

M4321    How We Got Here: The Historical Pilgrimage of Latino/a Christians

M4323 Sharing the Faith Without Killing the Culture: Evangelism in the Hispanic Tradition

M4325   Hispanic Popular Religion

Field Education
Field education placement in a parish is directed by Rev. Kathleen Russell, Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology for Ministry.  Parish placement depends on an assessment of student learning needs and appropriate parish resources.  There are a limited number of parish placements in Spanish-speaking settings.  Students in the Hispanic Church Studies concentration may or may not be placed in Spanish-speaking or bi-lingual settings, depending upon their fluency in Spanish and their particular learning needs.

Summer Courses
The Hispanic Summer Program (HSP)  /  Programa Hispano de Verano (PHV)
The HSP offers courses in English and Spanish for Masters level students in Hispanic theological education.  Students take a two-week course during late June and early July by an Hispanic scholar involved in Hispanic theological education.  Southwest is the only Episcopal seminary that is an official sponsoring member of the HSP.  Because of its affiliation with the HSP, students' tuition and travel is covered.

The Panama Project
The Seminary Council on Mission (SCOM), an organ of the Council of Episcopal Seminaries, selects up to four students annually to attend a four-week immersion program in the Episcopal Diocese of Panama each June.
Language immersion in Latin America is available for credit.
Integration of Hispanic theology and ministry in other courses.
The courses offered through Hispanic Church Studies are provided to explicitly meet the needs of students who desire preparation for ministry in Hispanic settings.  All other courses consider the needs of the entire M.Div. and MAR degree students.  Students should consult with their professor to inquire whether there are opportunities for them to integrate the goals of the concentration with their courses.
Students in the concentration may or may not be assigned the director of the concentration as their advisor.  Even if students have a different advisor, they are expected to meet with the director of the concentration at the beginning and the end of each semester for reflection and evaluation on progress in the student's learning covenant.

Students in the concentration also abide by all of the policies found in the seminary's student handbook.
Learning Covenant
Students will submit a learning covenant with the director in September of their junior year.  The learning covenant is the student's plan for his or her theological education during the three years in seminary that will most effectively prepare the student for ministry in Hispanic settings.  The director will have a conversation with the student about it.

End-of-Year evaluation
Students will meet with the director at the end of the year for an evaluation of his or her learning related to the concentration and of the concentration as well.  The first part of the evaluation will focus on the student's learning, especially as it relates to the student's learning covenant.  The second part will focus on the evaluation of the concentration itself.
Students in the Concentration are encouraged to participate in the following activities:

  • Attend the concentration orientation in September
  • Visit a Spanish-speaking Sunday morning worship service with the director twice during their junior year
  • Participate in planning and implementing the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15)
  • Include Hispanic elements in the liturgy for the week that Seniors in the concentration are the lead student liturgists.
  • Submit a SCOM or EES proposal their middler year. Both SCOM (Seminary Council on Mission) and EES (Episcopal Education Society) offer funding for students to undertake a travel project related to mission and evangelism. Kathleen Russell, the seminary's SCOM representative provides students with information and the grant forms about SCOM.
  • Attend at least once each year a conference, workshop, or seminar related to Hispanic theology and ministry.
  • Attend "El Encuentro." This is a weekend retreat for Hispanic Episopcal seminarians and for seminarians preparing for Hispanic ministry. It is held at one of the Episcopal seminaries each spring semester. It is sponsored by the Office of Hispanic and Latino Ministries of the Episcopal Church Center, Father Anthony Guillen as the director. Seminary of the Southwest was the founder of this event.

    Students are encouraged to sign up to lead and participate in Evening Prayer in Spanish on Tuesdays.  The mid-day chapel worship occasionally includes elements of the liturgy in Spanish, such as Prayers of the People, the Lord's Prayer, The Nicene Creed, and hymns.

    Spanish Language Learning
    Southwest offers enhanced offerings in Spanish language and culture.  Offerings include various levels of conversation classes involving the practice of ministry in Hispanic settings and language-learning software.  Dr. Horacio Peña, instructor of Spanish, offers two courses each semester-basic and intermediate.

    Library Resources at Southwest

  • La Colección Hispana includes theological, Biblical, and liturgical books in Spanish, plus holdings from other seminaries.
  • Winterbotham Collection preserves historical works in Spanish from 18th-20th centuries.
  • Hispanic and Spanish-language scholarly journals in theology and religion are available.
  • Students receive borrowing privileges at the Benson Latin American Studies library in Austin, one of the largest Latin American Studies libraries in the world.
  • The library collection is current in its holdings regarding publications in the area of Hispanic theology and ministry.
  • There is an extensive list of DVDs and VHS tapes in Spanish and related to the realities of Hispanics.

For more information on Hispanic Church Studies at Seminary of the Southwest, contact the Admissions Office at 512-472-4133 or

Concentración en Estudios de la Iglesia Hispana
La Concentración en Estudios de la Iglesia Hispana es una especialización en el programa MDiv ofrecida por Seminary of the Southwest  en colaboración con LSPS para preparar y capacitar a los estudiantes para el ministerio en las comunidades de Habla Hispana. Los/as estudiantes en la concentración adquieren tanto capacidades lingüísticas y culturales como habilidades y sensibilidades para la práctica del ministerio en las comunidades Hispanas y Latinas. El seminario ofrece cursos para el aprendizaje del idioma Español para ayudar a los estudiantes quienes necesitan adquirir fluidez en el idioma Español. Los estudiantes en la concentración matriculan en todos los cursos requiridos con sus colegas en el programa MDiv de Seminary of the Southwest y usan sus cursos electivos para la concentración. Los cursos en la concentración se enseñan por los profesores de Seminary of the Southwest  y LSPS. Los cursos en la concentración están disponibles a todos los estudiantes en el seminario. Los estudiantes que cumplen con todos los requisitos de la concentración gradúan con su transcripción que indica el cumplimiento de la concentración. Para más información sobre la Concentración en Estudios de la Iglesia Hispana, favor de comunicarse con Dr. Paul Barton, Profesor Asociado de Estudios de la Iglesia Hispana.

Iniciativa para el Idioma Español
La Iniciativa para el Idioma Español consiste en aumentar los servicios que ofrece el seminario a los estudiantes de la Licenciatura en Divinidades que estén interesados en el ministerio hispano o multicultural. Algunos cursos se enseñan en español para los que cuentan con un nivel avanzado en el idioma. La Iniciativa está diseñada para equipar a los futuros líderes de la iglesia a difundir eficazmente la rica herencia cultural del pueblo donde van a servir, para entenderla y valorarla.

Recursos en la Biblioteca de Seminary of the Southwest

  • Hispanic Church Studies Collection contiene artículos recientes sobre la Demográfca, Liturgia y Música, Cuidado Pastoral, y Sociedad y Cultura
  • La Colección Hispana incluye libros teológicos, bíblicos, y litúrgicos en español, incluyendo los volúmenes de otros seminarios
  • La Colección Winterbotham conserva las obras históricas en español de los siglos XVIII-XX
  • Revistas académicas hispanas y en Español sobre la teología y la religion
  • Permiso para utilizar y tomar prestado los materiales de la Biblioteca Benson de Estudios Latinoamericanos en Austin, una de las bibliotecas de material latinoamericano más grandes del mundo.

Programas Especiales de Verano

  • El Programa Hispano de Verano ofrece dos semanas de cursos desde perspectivas latinas, ubicado en un seminario diferente cada año.

El Culto y las Actividades Culturales

  • Los cultos de capilla ocasionalmente incluyen elementos en Español.
  • El Mes de la Herencia Hispana incluye elementos litúrgicos, educativos, y culturales.
  • Almorzar en español en una mesa designada en el comedor todos los jueves.
  • Oportunidades recreativas y educativas fuera del campus incluyen películas, charlas, danza, y música latinas.

Para más información sobre los Estudios de la Iglesia Hispana en Seminary of the Southwest, comuníquese con la ofcina de Ingreso Escolar al 512-472-4133 o

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