The Latino Pastoral Action Center Conducts Citywide Conference
By David Ramos
On Wednesday, July 13, 2005, the Latino Pastoral Action Center (LPAC) conducted a citywide conference entitled, The Role of Character and Leadership in Community Development; the Rev. Dr. A.R. Bernard, Senior Pastor of the Christian Cultural Center (CCC) was its keynote speaker. Rev. Dr. Raymond Rivera, President and CEO of LPAC welcomed ministers, lay leaders, community and business leaders who were in attendance and spoke about the importance of not merely possessing a vertical ministry but a horizontal one that addressed the issues and challenges of life in the community.
The Bronx Borough President, the Hon. Adolpho Carrion, Jr. shared with the clergy the importance of indigenous leadership and community renewal. The Manhattan Borough President, the Hon. Virginia Fields also greeted ministers from all over the city, as well as Jose Calderon the Vice President of the Hispanic Federation.
Ministers from the Latino Leadership Circle were in attendance including the Rev. Jose Humphreys, the Rev. Luis Alvarez, and the Rev. J.C. Morales. Representatives of the American Bible Society attended as well including Paul Savage, Enid Montes and Monique Rubio.
The highlight of the event was Rev. Dr. Bernard’s presentation where he shared about his life journey as a leader, some of the challenges he faced, as well as many truths about character and leadership. He warned against having our, “skills and talents take us where our character could not sustain us.” He also struck a compassionate note when quoting James Madison, the chief writer of the Federalist Papers, who said, “It is the lot of humankind to have deficiencies as well as strengths,” he underscored the reality that all things are imperfect because of the imperfection of the institutor.
Rev. Dr. Bernard shared a few measures of a good CEO/Leader that included:
1. The ability to generate trust; all relationships are built upon trust
2. There should be tolerance in dissention.
a. Weak, insecure leaders are intimidated by competent subordinates
3. They are straight talkers
4. They possess personal dynamism/charisma
5. They are deliberate leaders
a. They understand that not all decisions require forceful action but through patience, they can wait for alternatives to appear that may not be immediately apparent
6. They have a strong Board of Directors
7. They shun the spotlight
8. They measure by performance
a. If a person it merely concerned with “their watch” and not the benefit of the company, then they are self-centered and selfish. “Fame lasts for a moment, but greatness comes through longevity”
9. Know that the organization is far more important than the person who runs it
Rev. Dr. Bernard shared that one of the reasons of the success of his church was operating by CCC’s guiding principles of his church which were possessing:
1. Core Values
2. A Core Purpose
3. A relentless drive towards progress
4. Strength beyond the presence of any one individual
He also shared four “P’s”:
The event was a wonderful success and approximately one hundred church and community leaders attended including para-church ministers such as the Rev. Rosa Caraballo, the Rev. Wilfredo Rodriguez, and the Rev. Dr. Peter Ramos.
The Vice-President of LPAC Susan Rivera and its Director of Operations, Jose Montes shared that this is the beginning of a host of citywide events that will sponsored by LPAC as it seeks to provide technical assistance to area churches, faith-based organizations and community-based organizations.