Dori Kay Hjalmarson ordained in New Mexico, called to serve in Honduras


By Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service

The hymn “Here I am, Lord” floated through the sanctuary at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church in New Mexico in early September, and just moments later, Dori Kay Hjalmarson (MDiv 2015) walked down the aisle into her ordination and her new role as a mission co-worker in Honduras..

Hjalmarson grew up in New Mexico and has had a relationship with Central America since 1993 when her parents took her to visit her aunt in El Salvador, who happens to be mission co-worker, Rev. Leslie Vogel, currently serving in Guatemala and who participated in the ordination service.

“At one moment of the church service Sunday I was kneeling and feeling the weight of so many hands—those of my childhood church pastor, those of my grandmother and my current colleagues in mission—touching me, pressing on my shoulders and head and grasping my hands,” said Hjalmarson. “My dear friend and mentor was praying, calling down God’s blessing. Tears were streaming down my face and I felt changed.”

The new Rev. Hjalmarson will move to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, this fall to begin working in organizational, leadership and theological development with the Presbyterian Church of Honduras. Among many duties, she will serve as the primary Presbyterian World Mission liaison to the Honduras Mission Network, providing in-country experience, as well as coordinating the partnership between the Presbyterian Church of Honduras and the PC(USA).

In Honduras, she will coordinate and coach lay and pastoral leadership in the Presbyterian Church of Honduras as the denomination seeks to strengthen leadership capacity and broaden theological education.

The Presbyterian Church in Honduras consists of 18 Presbyterian churches located in a 60-mile radius of the capital city, Tegucigalpa, that enthusiastically attend church Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Honduras is a largely mountainous, sparsely populated country in Central America, once the center of the Mayan empire. Throughout most of the 20th century, the country was dominated by military dictatorships, but since the late 1980s democracy has strengthened. The per capita income of the country is one of the lowest in Latin America, having improved slightly since 1990.

Her selection as a full-time mission co-worker was a collective process of discernment with World Mission and the Honduras Mission Network, along with Carlisle, Arkansas and Tampa Bay presbyteries. These presbyteries will not only continue to support Hjalmarson financially, but also with prayers and accompaniment in many forms.

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“It was such a blessing to celebrate Dori’s ordination as she is sent to be a PCUSA Mission Co-Worker in Honduras. But we were celebrating even more than that: Dori is a third-generation Mission Co-Worker. Her grandfather was a Mission Co-Worker; her aunt, Rev. Leslie Vogel (SFTS ___) is a Mission Co-Worker in Guatemala, and now Dori is joining them in this important connectional ministry.”
Rev. Scott Clark, SFTS Chaplain & Associate Dean of Student Life, who led the charge to the congregation during Rev. Hjalmarson’s ordination service.