The Rev. Carmen Ana Pérez-Rios is a missionary with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries serving as a coordinator of missional development and local church revitalization at the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. She is based in San Juan and was commissioned in the Spring of 2017.
Carmen is a native of Puerto Rico and a deacon in the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico, active in the Methodist Church of Rio Piedras Heights in San Juan. She received the Master of Arts and Religion degree from the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico in 2008. Earlier, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
She has taught marketing on the university level and was employed for several years as a consultant on property matters by the office of the Methodist Bishop of Puerto Rico. Most recently, Carmen worked in Family Ministry at the Hollywood Hills United Methodist Church, Hollywood, Florida.
The work in Florida involved transcultural mission with people from various parts of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. “The challenges of understanding God from diverse cultures and being able to worship God together was an enriching experience,” Carmen says. “We were able to do this by paying close attention to people’s experiences, their stories from their own context. Heterogeneous small groups and mission outside the walls of the church were a key part of a growing relationship; with one another and with God.”
Carmen’s call to mission is interwoven with her spiritual journey and begins with the strong example of her mother, who she describes as being “in continuous mission for the less fortunate no matter how broken her life is at any given time. She is my hero.” Carmen acknowledges that she has volunteered to return to Puerto Rico and to her hometown as a missionary at a time of difficulty for the island and its people: “The economic crisis, the loss of moral values, and high unemployment levels are some of the things that have negatively impacted the families and, therefore, the church.”
“We, the church, are part of God’s response to this island in pain. There are multiple areas where we can impact this island positively. Some of them are the eradication of poverty, working with marginalized groups such as women, children, and immigrants, and with other vulnerable populations…It is a privilege to serve even though I am still under construction. Praise the Lord!”.
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