WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: EMA ROSERO-NORDALM
“I follow Jesus so what starts in pain ends up in power.”
Ema Rosero-Nordalm is a deacon and the Missioner for Latino Hispanic Ministries of the Diocese of Massachusetts with an irresistible, positively torrential impulse to serve. Raised a Roman Catholic in Bogota, Colombia by a mother who was immensely entrepreneurial, a teacher, principal and superintendent who organized her slum-bound working-class community to build a church, then schools with medical facilities, Ema was expected to stay home and care for her many siblings. Within the confines of that expectation burned in Ema a faith in a God to whom she prayed every night, discovering in God's faithfulness an empowering sense of her own belovedness that eased her into sleep, so that she woke in the morning refreshed each new day.
With the intercession of nuns who advocated for her education, and a marriage to an American that lifted her from Colombia and planted her in Brookline, Massachusetts, teaching language at Boston University, that faith never left Ema, though she never found a church to house it or a community to nurture it. Not until she met her mentor and ministry partner Daniel, a Latino gay man who had just discovered the Episcopal Church and his call to priesthood, did Ema begin to discern her own call to serve God through Latino communities, particularly Latinas.
Since that discovery, there is no stopping the torrent of Ema's energy and entrepreneurship, a “mother to mothers,” organizing Hispanic women of all ages to view themselves not as victims of the church kitchen, but rather as powerful agents of their own futures, full of possibility in concert with each other, in the faithfulness of God. In Salem's immigrant community, she taught mothers to support their gay sons with sex education. In Boston's South End, she has forged community with Hispanic youth and women elders. Now in East Boston, she is partnering with a young Lutheran woman church-planter to grow a new Hispanic church community that bridges denominations. Escaping by faith her mother's constraints, Ema's open, compassionate, loving deacon's heart - a woman's heart - has taken up her mother's community service, devoting 100% of every day to expanding our own Episcopal heart to include a whole new and growing Hispanic community learning, as Ema herself has learned, that they are made in the image of God.
- The Rev. Holly Lyman Antolini