Celebrating Hispanic American Heritage Month in the WNCC: Rev. Diana Wingeier-Rayo
October 6, 2022
By: Jim Pyatt, WNCC Archivist & Historian
Rev. Diana Wingeier-Rayo
Diana Wingeier-Rayo is the first Hispanic/Latina woman to be received into full clergy membership in the WNC Conference. Born in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, she was ordained a Deacon in Cuba in 1996 and ordained an Elder in the WNC Conference in 2004. Diana was admitted as a Probationary Member of the Northern Illinois Conference in 1998 and into Full Connection in the Mexican Methodist Church in 2001, transferring her membership to the Western North Carolina Conference in 2003. Regarding her call to ministry, she states: “I began my journey toward ministry in 1992. I was a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries in Cuba, serving The Methodist Church. At first, my intentions were to study for a master’s degree in pediatric nursing. I experienced my call when I saw the third generation of Cuban [children] who knew nothing about our Lord. They had no hope, only misconceptions about life and personal healing. I started to believe that I needed to share my faith with them. But my knowledge was limited. I enrolled in the Seminario Evangelico de Matanzas in Cuba to prepare myself for ministry. Three years later, in 1996, I was ordained a deacon in Cuba. In 1997 I returned to the United States to serve in the UMC. In 2000 I was invited by GBGM to go to Mexico for three years to serve in The Methodist Church there. Later, upon an invitation by the Western North Carolina Conference, I returned to the United States to serve in Monroe.” (Patricia J. Thompson, Courageous Past—Bold Future (Nashville:General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, 2006), 124.)
Presently the Rev. Wingeier-Rayo serves as pastor of Hughes UMC in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference.
Rev. Carlos Alberto Rodriguez, a key figure at the Board of Missions Office of The WNCC in 1961.
Be sure to read the other biographies written by WNCC Archivist & Historian Jim Pyatt:
Raul Adriano, the first known person of Hispanic/Latino heritage to be elected by The WNCC to serve as a Lay Delegate to General Conference.
Rev. Dr. Abraham Kim, the first Asian-American to be elected as a clergy delegate to Jurisdictional Conference from the WNC Conference.
Rev. Karen Miyoshi Kagiyama, the first Asian-American women to be ordained an Elder in the WNCC.
In Muk Kim, the first Asian-American to be elected as a delegate (clergy or lay) to Jurisdictional Conference from the WNC Conference.
Rev. M. B. Lee McCrary, the first woman to become a full clergy member of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Rev. Dolores Barus Queen, the first woman to serve as District Superintendent in the Western NC Conference.
Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer, the first (and to date, the only) woman to serve as Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Mrs. Jettie Morrison, a key figure in the Women's Society of Christian Service and the integration of The United Methodist Church in 1968.
Bishop L. Scott Allen (May 4, 1918-September 18, 2004), the first (and to date, the only) African-American to serve as Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Mrs. Effie Miller (September 17, 1930-September 1, 2008), a leader in the Western North Carolina Conference and the United Methodist Church, especially with regard to the United Methodist Women.
The Rev. Dr. J. C. Peters (July 10, 1925- July 2, 1998), the first African-American to serve as a District Superintendent in the Western North Carolina Conference.
Mr. Clarence Winchester, a leader in the North Carolina Conference (Central Jurisdiction) and in the WNC Conference.
Dr. Isaac Miller (September 26, 1920-November 1, 2008), a leader in Higher Education and in the United Methodist Church.