Collage-on-6th-Ave

Welcome Statement

Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church, as the first United Methodist Reconciling Congregation in Iowa, has a long history of welcoming people who have been excluded from other congregations.  We continue our bold witness of welcoming all, including status in the criminal justice system, all genders, sexual orientations, immigration status, age, ethnicity, family configuration, and people with physical and mental challenges.

All who worship at Trinity Las Americas are welcome to fully participate in our community as we worship God together and then disperse to share God’s love in the world.

The collage at left was created by photographer Karla Conrad in October 2018 and is installed on Sixth Avenue, a few blocks from Trinity Las Americas.

Our History

For 120 years, one Methodist congregation has cared for the people of the River Bend community of Des Moines.  Through eras of being an upscale neighborhood to one struggling through the ravages of urban unrest to a multi-cultural part of the city, the people of the United Methodist Church, now known by the name Trinity Las Americas, have been a witness for peace and social justice and a haven for compassion, feeding both body and soul. In December 2016, Trinity formally joined with Las Americas to become one bilingual congregation.

Trinity Las Americas Staff

Pastor-Alejandro

Alejandro Alfaro-Santiz

Lead Pastor

Pastor Alejandro is a second career clergy. A Guatemalan native, he worked as a cultural anthropologist.  In 2013 he received the M.Div. from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado with a concentration in United Methodist Studies, receiving the student of the year award.
He grew up Catholic, and after finishing high school became a non-denominational Christian. After a few years he realized that most churches do exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught and lived, so he decided to follow Jesus on his own and became a “free agent.” He came to realize that community is very important to follow Jesus, both for support and for accountability.
Pastor Alejandro believes that those who call ourselves Christian must follow the example of Christ and he strives to do that. A daily life of prayer/communion with God is essential in order to follow Christ, because it is as countercultural today as it was in the Palestine of the first century.
For Pastor Alejandro, the Bible is very important and John 10:10b is the lens he uses to read it.  He has experienced that the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ is life-giving. His theology is post-colonial liberationist.  He is in his seventh year of appointment as pastor and feels very blessed to be working with Trinity Las Americas UMC (TLA) – a reconciling congregation focused on social justice.
Pastor Alejandro has experienced that we are all created in God’s image -Imago Dei- and when we behave in ways that don’t reflect this reality, is when we most need to be reminded of our true essence.
In the fall of 2019, he completed the Living School, a two-year program from the Center of Action and Contemplation, focused on recovering Christianity’s mystic tradition to balance one’s spiritual life and social justice life. This is what John Wesley called personal holiness and social holiness, we need both, just like Jesus lived.

In his free time, Alejandro likes to ride his bike and read poetry in Spanish… though not at the same time. He is a partner to Maria, sidekick to two-year-old Luca and human to Mochi (Mochilero) our Weimaraner dog.

Contact Pastor Alejandro at 515-450-1621 or rev.alejandro@trinitylasamericas.org

Pastor-Emily-Ewing

Emily E. Ewing

Social Justice Pastor

Pastor Emily E. Ewing began serving as Social Justice Pastor in 2019. They are from Colorado and attended Luther College, studying Spanish, Religion, and Women and Gender Studies. They spent time in Argentina, Ecuador, and South Africa during their studies. After graduating, they lived in Slovakia for a year with a missionary program of the Lutheran Church before going to seminary.

Pastor Emily began their ordained ministry in 2014 in Utah for a year and then served as pastor for Trinity and First, a Lutheran-Presbyterian reconciling community in Minnesota. They helped the congregation strengthen their welcome to people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions, and immigration status.

In 2017 Pastor Emily moved to Iowa and worked with Downtown Disciples in 2018. They are very excited to work together with Trinity Las Americas for justice here in Des Moines.

As Social Justice Pastor, Pastor Emily collaborates and coordinates with congregation and community members in justice work especially around Immigrant Rights, Queer Inclusion, and Racial Justice. Pastor Emily supports and helps lead worship twice a month.

Pastor Emily also supports the connections between faith and justice by queering and querying the lectionary readings and other liturgy components, on their blog, Queerying the Text, and connecting scripture to the Harry Potter universe with their podcast, HP@Church.

Pastor Emily enjoys any conversation about the Harry Potter books, deep questions, and astronomy.
Contact Pastor Emily at 970-471-1595 or rev.emily@trinitylasamericas.org

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Lindsey Mabe

Office Administrator

Lindsey is from Des Moines, Iowa and studied Spanish at the University of Iowa and La Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Costa Rica. Previously, Lindsey volunteered and worked at various nonprofit organizations as a bilingual program specialist, assisting families and individuals from minority populations to access health care, medical coverage, and legal assistance. She also worked as a SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information Program) counselor, giving unbiased assistance and education about Medicare for Spanish speakers throughout the state of Iowa.

Passionate about language, sustainable communities, and communing with people in minority groups, Lindsey has found a welcoming space at Trinity Las Americas. She enjoys keeping up with the "holy chaos" pace and is informally known as "The Spiritual Bartender," a fitting description for an Office Administrator who gets to hear wholesome stories from people from all walks of life - prison van riders, dedicated volunteers, and bishops alike.

Always up for adventures, Lindsey is enthusiastic about exploring ideas, traveling, and making music.  She's worked on farms all over the world and apprenticed at The Wallace Centers of Iowa’s small sustainable farm. After years of dreaming about starting a community garden for immigrants and refugees, Trinity Las Americas became the perfect place for it and it has grown from two little raised beds to over 30 plots. She's a New Leaders Council alum and outgoing Curator of Global Shapers DSM, working with young leaders from around the planet to design and implement creative solutions to local and global issues.

Contact Lindsey at the Trinity Las Americas office at 515-288-4056 or office@trinitylasamericas.org