Pastor Enna Antunez knows how to juggle. Since 2010 she has been juggling three Methodist congregations–one in Perry, one in Rippey and one in between Perry and Rippey–all while progressing through a Ph.D. program at the University of Dubuque.
But on Sunday her life got a little simpler. Pastor Enna, as she is informally known, can now also be called Doctor Enna.
Antunez was joined by about 75 of her fellow worshippers at the First United Methodist Church in Perry to celebrate the completion of her doctoral degree in ministry, which now caps the master’s degree in divinity she received from the University of Dubuque in 2010.
With her husband, Marco Cabrera, and daughter Terri Cabrera by her side, Antunez was showered with cards and flowers and made the subject of speeches by two members of the Staff Master Parish Relations Committee, Nancy Hanaman and Alex Perla.
“We deeply appreciate her ministry,” said Hanaman, “and all the effort she has put into getting a graduate degree.” The parish relations committee acts as a kind of personnel commission and a liaison between the pastors and the congregation.
“We want to congratulate Pastor Enna on her degree and thank her and Pastor Paul for being so supportive of us,” said Perla. “They have been here four years and made a big difference in all our lives.”
Pastor Paul Burrow shares some of the pastoral duties of the three churches with Antunez. Perla said Antunez and Burrow opened a Latino congregation within the Methodist community in Perry and made many people feel welcome.
“Before then we had no church to go to,” Perla said.
Antunez and her family emigrated to Iowa from Honduras in 1989. She said the move to the U.S. took some getting used to, but now she is attached to Iowa, and Terri, the younger of her two daughters, was born here.
Marco Antunez beamed as he watched Pastor Enna celebrated.
“We are very proud of her,” he said.
Video courtesy PEGASUS TV 12 volunteer Doug Wood