Hector J. Hernandez
Peer Group Convener, Prison and Jail Ministries; Hispanic Outreach Coordinator, Mental Health Initiative
Rev. Héctor J. Hernández has been serving as Convener of the NBA Prison and Jail Ministries Peer Group, a network of support for Disciples engaged in spiritual care and advocacy ministries with those who are incarcerated and their families. In this role, Héctor leads and supports the dialogue and work of the peer group; determines if there are ways to expand efforts in connecting and supporting prison and jail ministry leaders; and represents the NBA at workshops, panel discussions, general and regional meetings, congregational trainings, and other opportunities.
He continues in that role and now also serves as Hispanic Outreach Coordinator with the NBA Mental Health Initiative (MHI), effective August 1, 2017. Héctor has particular responsibility leading the MHI team on adapting, implementing, and evaluating the MHI design within and in relation to the Disciples Hispanic communities across the church. This includes developing collaborative relationships with the Central Pastoral Office of Hispanic Ministries (Obra Hispana), the Hispanic Convenciones, regions, other general ministries, congregations, and appropriate ecumenical contacts.
Héctor has been serving the Latino/Latina immigrant community of Indianapolis since 2009. He is an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of the U.S. and Canada who is serving as interim solo pastor of Iglesia Nueva Creación (New Creation Hispanic Church) in the west side of Indianapolis. Héctor has a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Christian Theological Seminary, and an undergraduate degree in Communications with a minor in Visual Arts. As an artist, clergy and immigrant, Héctor has been reflecting artistically and theologically on topics like immigration, the humanitarian crisis in our border, the unaccompanied Central America children, hope, and Social justice.
Getting to know Héctor
Why do you feel "called to care" about Disciples health and social service ministry?
To me, faith without actions is incomplete, barren, and illusory. In the midst of all human brokenness, vulnerability, and needs, words are never enough, and the Gospel, the Good News, has to be enacted. I believe that as followers of Christ the Liberator, we are called to become, to live, and to embody God’s Creative Hope, as co-creators of the Realm of God, that begins here and know. NBA’s mission is centered on these principles and values, and that is why I love being part of this ministry. NBA engages, collaborates, and creates ways in which our denomination as a whole, can be inspired and moved into salvific actions, into new opportunities for creation. NBA also connects the different expressions of our church with ministry partners who are providing direct care to those in need every single day.
Who is a hero of yours, and why?
I have many, but if I have to choose one, I have to say it is Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero. He was Archbishop of San Salvador who ended being assassinated while celebrating mass. Why he was assassinated, you ask? Because while others were quiet, and others chose to be blind to the horrors committed against the poor and the vulnerable masses, as a Priest, on the pulpit, and on the streets, he demanded justice and condemned the powerful and the oppressors. I heard of him when I was probably eleven years old, and his message, homilies, and theological reflections have become part of my own theology and ministries.
If I tried to find you in a supermarket, what aisle would you be in?
That’s simple, you will be able to find me in the coffee aisle. I will be there tasting different coffees! Wait, no… or maybe? I mean, it depends, do you know if I can taste different coffees in that supermarket? If there are no coffee samples in that aisle, then, go straight to the bakery section. I will be there trying to decide which and how many pastries I will be taking home. Although... what about the pizza aisle?