WESLEY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

PROVIDENCE IN ACTION AT CHAPEL HILL UMC: THE STORY OF GOD’S ACTIONS AT A SMALL, RURAL, MULTI-ETHNIC, MULTI-CULTURAL AND MULTI-NATIONAL CONGREGATION

A PROJECT THESIS SUBMITTED IN CANDIDACY FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF MINISTRY

BY JOHN C. PURDUE

WASHINGTON, DC MAY 2008

Copyright © AND TYPE COPYRIGHT DATE] John Clellan Purdue

My special thanks go to the Brothers and Sisters of Chapel Hill UMC, both English and Hispanic, for their faith in Jesus Christ as evidenced by their works at Chapel Hill.

Additional thanks are due to my family, most especially my loving, devoted, patient and beautiful wife Rebecca.

This work is dedicated in loving memory to my father, Robert Louis Purdue, Jr.

CONTENTS NOTES ON LANGUGE AND SOURCES ................................................................................................................................................ vi ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................................................ vii

v NOTES ON LANGUGE AND SOURCES All persons whose stories are told here have given permission for the author to use both their stories and their names. However, in order to provide some level of protection from deportation, throughout the rest of this narrative, real names will not be used for any of the involved Hispanic persons whom are not officials of the United Methodist Church. Additionally, the author has chosen to use the term “Hispanic” throughout the project to refer to those persons who might alternatively be known as Hispanic, Latino/Latina, Chicano, Mexican, Guatemalan, Peruvian and so on. Additionally, the author will freely move back and forth between using the terms and derivatives of the terms “ethnic” “culture,” and “race,” recognizing that none of these terms accurately reflect the human experience and that they are particularly in describing the Hispanic experience in the United States. Additionally, all Scriptural quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version. Additionally, where appropriate, the story of Chapel Hill will be told in the first person, reflecting the participation of the author in the story. In addition to first-hand experience, the author conducted interviews with twenty-three people; five of these interviews were done in two sessions, two were in three sessions and one in four sessions. There were innumerable additional phone calls, emails and several other meetings for further clarification of specific details. All of these interviews are unpublished. Further, many of the sources overlap to tell the story of a single event.

Finally, after the document was prepared, parts of it were read by several of the persons whose stories are told and they made several corrections. Thus, with permission from Wesley Theological Seminary, no attempt has been made to cite specific events in the story in places where personal experience is highly relevant or where no published sources are available. This is primarily in chapter four, but also in a few places in chapter three. A full list of interviews is included in the Works Cited section.

vi ABSTRACT The nation has seen tremendous growth in the Hispanic population. This project challenges two assumptions as the church seeks to respond: (1) there is a formula for success in multi-ethnic ministry, and (2) small churches are not likely to be successful. This project is an anthropological narrative of a small, rural Anglo United Methodist Church in Tennessee that initiated and sustained an effective multi-ethnic ministry with Hispanics. The tension between the church as a movement and as an institution will be explored. The leadership work of cooperating with providence, of going through the doors that God opens, will be offered in place of a formula for success.

vii