Our Approach

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 Story

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


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 eight 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 the fall of 2023 he started the program Creating a Culture of Renewal.

Pastor Alejandro has also experienced that the Christian Church (regardless of denomination) has failed to help people cultivate daily spiritual practices to connect with God, so that out of that relationship people go out into the world and work to make it a better place, just like God intended  to be.

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 sons Luca (5) and Mateo (almost 2) and human to Mochi (Mochilero) our Weimaraner dog.

Contact Pastor Alejandro at 515-450-1621 or [email protected]