|Finees Flores, leader in Hispanic ministries, dies at 78
Dec. 6, 2006
The Rev. Finees Flores Jr.
By United Methodist News Service
The Rev. Finees Flores Jr., 78, former editor of el Intérprete magazine
and an influential figure in the United Methodist Church’s Hispanic
ministries, died Nov. 18 at his home in San Antonio, after a long
struggle with cancer.
He was editor of el Intérprete from 1973 to 1986, guiding the
magazine from United Methodist Communications’ Evanston, Ill., office.
He took the reins following an interruption in the publication, which
had been published as el Intérprete in Puerto Rico from 1969 to
1971. During his leadership, the magazine became one of the first
Spanish resources to reach the United Methodist Spanish-speaking
population in the United States and Puerto Rico.
"He was an advocate for the Hispanic/Latino causes in the church," said
the Rev. Yolanda Pupo-Ortiz, a teacher at the Academy of Spiritual
Formation and former staff executive at the United Methodist Commission
on Religion and Race. "He will be remembered for his passionate work in
social justice issues as he worked incessantly for the poor and the
disenfranchised. As a pastor, he never remained within the four walls of
his church. He was out doing his work in the community and mentoring
Flores helped the United Methodist Church develop its Hispanic
ministries. In 1979, he was one of the organizers of the first Consulta
Nacional of MARCHA (Metodistas Asociados Representando la Causa
Hispano/Latino Americana), the denomination's Hispanic caucus, according
to Bilha Alegría, Flores' former editorial assistant and currently a
staff member of InfoServ at United Methodist Communications.
Flores was a founder of the Local Pastor School in Spanish -- currently
el Curso de Estudio (Course of Study) -- at Garrett-Evangelical
Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., Pupo-Ortiz said. The Rev.
Guillermo Debrot was a cofounder with Flores.
The school began with Hispanic students from the North Central
Jurisdiction and eventually incorporated students from Puerto Rico, the
Northeastern Jurisdiction and Cuba, said the Rev. Julio Gomez, a former
MARCHA executive director and a retired pastor in the Greater New Jersey
"Finees Flores was a leader of the Hispanic people and for the Hispanic people," Gomez said.
When he died, Flores was a member of Oxford United Methodist Church in
San Antonio. He was an active hospital chaplain and also the
minister-in-charge of Monte Sinai United Methodist Church. During his
career, he was an elder in the church's Northern Illinois Conference and
was also appointed to serve in the Rio Grande Conference.
Flores received his bachelor of arts degree in religion and philosophy
from Northern Baptist College, Chicago, and his master of divinity
degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He received a
doctorate in ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
He served the church at the annual conference, jurisdictional and
general church levels. He was a General Conference delegate in 1976,
1984 and 1988, and he served on the General Council of Finance and
Administration from 1988 to 1992.
A memorial service was held Nov. 22 at Oxford United Methodist Church.
The Rev. James Galloway-Edgar and Bishop Joel N. Martínez officiated. A
graveside service was held Nov. 24 at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery,
with full military honors. Flores had served in the U.S. Navy.
Survivors include his wife Elda; son and daughter-in-law Steven Flores
and Leica of San Antonio; daughter Deborah Hernandez of San Antonio;
brother and sister-in-law Frank Flores and Charlotte of Chicago; and
News media contact: Amanda Bachus, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Community Developers Program
Oxford United Methodist Church
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
United Methodist Communications
Northern Illinois Conference
Rio Grande Conference