The Rev. Ella Luna-Garza is a native of Austin, Texas, and a new resident of Merced, California. She has been a servant leading the United Methodist Church of Merced, (UMC Merced), since July of 2018.
Rev. Luna-Garza holds a Bachelors in Business Management Organizational Behavior (BSBM), a Master of Divinity (M.Div), and is a Fellow of Pastoral Leadership and Public Life at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Rev. Luna-Garza has extensive experience in advocacy and social change for grassroots organizing, community development, and access to underserved populations.
She is collaborating in leadership with Journey for Justice, Faith in the Valley, the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries of the United Methodist Church, the Center of Vision Enhancement (COVE), and the Literacy Coalition of Merced County.
Pastor Ella has most recently advocated and worked to support compassionate immigration reform, access to Mental Healthcare, healthcare for all, the Merced Union High School Black Parallel School Board, Pride Merced, the LGBTQ Alliance, and various other initiatives. She is actively engaged with the faith, educational and civic communities of Merced. One of her passions is working against food insecurity. She has led UMC Merced’s Food Pantry to serve Merced, Mariposa, and Madera counties. In feeding over 200,000 families in the past 18 months in and through the pandemic.
Rev. Luna-Garza has worked with at-risk children and youth, the homeless and traditional housing populations, and other-abled communities. She has helped to develop and provide community linkages for the holistic address of social issues, access, and services. She has worked in advocacy and service of the blind, deaf, and other-abled communities, as well as for persons with Autism. She has extensive experience working with multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual constituencies, persons of color, and diverse populations.
She has held and holds various offices at district, conference, and national levels of the United Methodist Church. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the National Plan for Hispanic Latino Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
Pastor Ella enjoys spending time with her sons, Aj and Diego, and her husband, Rene. She thrives being in the company of friends, sharing faith, and being engaged in the community, especially in sharing faith, culture, history, hope, and facilitating positive change.