REV. DR. WESLEY DE SOUZA
L. Wesley de Souza, a Luso-American born in São Paulo, Brazil, is Arthur J. Moore Associate Professor of Evangelism and Director of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute (WMEI) at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and an elder in full connection of the North Georgia Conference of the UMC. His research focuses on contextualization of the Gospel, renewal and revitalization of the church, and on Latin-American classical Pentecostalism and Pan-Wesleyan movements.
He is an accomplished teacher, preacher, and practitioner of evangelism. He has distinguished himself in many ways in service to Candler, including the greater impact of his work in evangelism and mission. When he’s not teaching, researching, writing, or serving Candler directly, Wesley is busy with ministry in the community. In 2011, he and his wife, Vanice, along with a few friends, were instrumental in starting Communitàs, a new vibrant UMC congregation in the Metro Atlanta area for Lusophones, particularly Brazilians of the diaspora.
The community consists of people who live in Alpharetta, Cumming, Marietta, Milton, Roswell (where they meet regularly), Suwanee, and Woodstock. Under his mentorship, Wesley reports that, “Experiencing a full measure of missional enthusiasm, Communitàs has developed and practiced creative approaches and forms of ministries to serve participants, new comers and the community at large, making ‘disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,’ helping them find as immigrants (both documented and undocumented) their common humanity in God, who was in Christ reconciling the world to Godself.”
Doing Latin@ Immigrant Church in Context: What does it mean and take to do church and ministry with Latin@ immigrants? How do we build contextually rooted, meaningful Christian communities that take Latin@ people out of invisibility in society, intellectual smashing, paralleled ethics, and psychological stress? What kind of approaches and practices enable evangelizing communities that also empower people to exercise their gifts and ministries in serving others in context?