“It is such a pleasure to be leading a Christian organization that has made an impact and earned respect in the community. And I love working with people who treat everyone—no matter how needy—with dignity,” says the Rev. Edith Yamina Apolinaris Concepción.
She served Baptist churches of Puerto Rico as executive minister from 1989 to 2000. From 1977 to 1984, she served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Bayamon, and from 1984 to 1988 directed American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ Urban Strategies program. Apolinaris has also served as a professor and chaplain at Baptist Theological Seminary in Madrid, Spain.
While in Spain, she earned a master’s degree in mediation and family counseling and completed coursework toward a Ph.D. at the Universidad Pontificia Comilias. Now Apolinaris has returned home to a demanding, exciting and highly satisfying ministry with Corporacion Milagros del Amor (CorMA).
CorMA was born from a 1992 local church retreat focused on the theme “Love’s Miracles: Spiritual Sources of Social Action,” sponsored by the Social Action Board of the First Baptist Church of Caguas. CorMA was registered in 1994 and opened its doors to the community in 1997, with two programs of ministry: “Jesus’ Groceries” and coordination of community services.
To these ministries CorMA added over time a wide range of programs, including transportation for elderly people and people with disabilities; “Overcoming Barriers” for people with disabilities; “Therapy and Orientation Program for the Homeless” (T.O.P.S.); “Metamorphosis,” a program assisting head-of-household women in establishing their own businesses; along with a GED program and “Conversational English.”
During the last three years, four new programs have been established: “Housing Counseling Services,” certified by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Agency (HUD); Brigada del Amor (“Love’s Brigade”) composed of volunteers who perform minor repairs in the homes of the elderly and people with disabilities; “Family, Education and Technology” (FEduTec), a family violence prevention program designed with the resilience model; and a pastoral counseling program. CorMA has organized a coalition of community organizations, agencies, schools, youth, and parents as part of a new program for the prevention of use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs among youth.
The expanding activities of CorMA continue to be guided and sustained by the spiritual sources for Christian social action discovered in a local church retreat some dozen years ago. CorMA is one of 20 Christian centers related to American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ Neighborhood Action Program.
Apolinaris’ daughter, Marta Yamila, is a student of speech therapy at the Universidad del Turabo in Caguas.
- B.A. Psychology, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras - 1972
- M.Div., Andover Newton Theological School, Boston, Mass. - 1977
- Master’s, Mediation and Family Counseling, Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, 2001
- Ph.D., Psychology, Universidad Pontificia Comillas (in progress)
- 2000-2004, Chaplain and Professor, Baptist Theological Seminary, Madrid, Spain
- 1989-2000, Executive Minister, Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico, San Juan
- 1984-1989, Director, Urban Strategies, American Baptist Home Mission Societies, Valley Forge, Pa. USA
- 1977-1984, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Bayamon, Puerto Rico
- June 2 — Apolinaris’ birthday
- July 9 — daughter Marta Yamila’s birthday
- October 1980, ordination, Bayamon