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Vital Conversations 4 Study Guide

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The Rev. Dr. Irving Cotto is senior pastor of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Warrington, Pennsylvania, appointed there in summer 2018 after having completed a term as superintendent of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference’s North District. He also recently competed his doctorate in theology in a combined program with the Graduate Theological Foundation in Indiana and the Instituto Teológico Internacional de Puerto Rico. He is writing his dissertation in the area of liturgy and pastoral care ministry. Irving has been in pastoral ministry since 1976 when he started a new church as a student pastor in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico (new church start among rural families). He has served as pastor of several churches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For four years, he was director of congregational development/director of Latino ministries, Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. He has also served on the board of ordained ministry in both the Eastern Pennsylvania and the Greater New Jersey annual conferences. He holds membership in the Order of Saint Luke, American Counseling Association, the Society of Pastoral Theology and the National Association of United Methodist Evangelists. He is a founding member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Born in New York City, he is married to the Rev. Lilian Lucrecia de Paz. They have three children: Julio, Andres and Alejandro.

Jorge A. Lockward is the minister of worship arts at The Church of the Village in New York City. A native of the Dominican Republic, he formerly served as director of the global praise program of the General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, and lectured on worship at Union Theological Seminary. Jorge was a committee member of the Spanish-language United Methodist hymnal, Mil Voces para Celebrar, and has served as consultant on other denominational hymnals. He is the editor of Regocíjate y Canta (1995), a collection of Latino worship choruses; Tenemos Esperanza (2001), a trilingual (Spanish, Portuguese, English) songbook and recording; assistant editor of Global Praise 3: More Songs for Worship and Witness (2004); and co-editor of For Everyone Born: Global Songs for an Emerging Church (2008). He has served as a member of the executive committee of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada (1999-2002), the consulting board for Reformed Worship magazine, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (1999-2002) and the board of directors of Choristers Guild (1999-2002). As song leader and workshop leader, he models a passion for the ways congregational song both reflects and shapes the theology and praxis of the assembled community. He is co-founder and conductor-in-residence of Cántico Nuevo (New Song), a worship and arts ecumenical project in New York City, and a popular workshop leader in the field of liturgy and music throughout the United States and abroad. As song leader, Jorge was part of the song-leading team for the 9th Assembly of the Word Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and for the 2010 quadrennial assembly of United Methodist Women in St. Louis. Nashville and the United States in variety of volunteer capacities. He is a past president of Nashville PRIDE.

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