Philadelphia Pastor Receives Dante Venegas Award

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Rev. Manny Ortiz, pastor of Spirit and Truth Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Philadelphia, Penn., was this year’s recipient of the Dante Venegas Award.

The award was presented at this year’s Multiethnic Conference, held in conjunction with Synod 2013.

Ortiz was recognized as a trailblazer in cross-cultural ministry for his church planting in both Chicago and Philadelphia.

Ortiz could not travel to the conference, so Pedro Aviles, who was mentored by Ortiz, accepted the award on his behalf. “He has an incredible ability in cross-cultural relationships,” said Aviles. “I am ministering today because of him.”

The Dante Venegas Award was established by the CRC’s office of Race Relations in 2011 to honor those who “demonstrate a passion for multicultural congregations and a commitment to antiracism.”

“You can’t know about diversity in the CRC without knowing about Dante Venegas,” said Michelle Loyd-Paige, director of multicultural affairs at Calvin College. 

Venegas was a co-pastor of Madison Square CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., before he died of cancer in 2007. His wife and Chris Meehan co-authored a book about him titled Dante’s Dance.

“The message of reconciliation is in action tonight,” Jackie Venegas told conference attendees. “As my husband would put it, this is the real deal. God’s people must come together as one.”

Synod 2013 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. from June 7-14. For continuous Banner coverage of Synod 2013, please follow The Banner on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

About the Author

Gayla Postma retired as news editor for The Banner in 2020.