From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
"YEAR WITH LATIN AMERICA"
05 May 1996 08:09:03
95086 "YEAR WITH LATIN AMERICA"
PROPOSED FOR DENOMINATIONAL EMPHASIS
by Alexa Smith
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--A yearlong celebration of the Presbyterian Church's ties
with Latin America has been approved by the General Assembly Council and
is now headed for the General Assembly in July.
"Year With Latin America ... Continuing the Journey" was approved by
the Council as a follow-up to the successful "Year With Africa ... Walking
With Africans: A Healing Journey," which concludes in 1996. The new
emphasis would begin in 1997.
"The 'Year With Africa ...' was such a powerful story of solidarity as
Presbyterians in the United States prayed with and for the people of Africa
and for Christian churches on that continent," the Rev. Sandy Peirce of
Placerville, Calif., told the Presbyterian News Service, adding that
African Christians have something to teach Westerners about "vital faith"
and "courage" in the face of suffering.
Peirce is the newly elected chair of the Worldwide Ministries Division
Committee, where the recommendation originated.
"It's important to continue the journey with our sisters and brothers
in other parts of the world," she said, noting that pressing human rights
and justice questions continue to emerge in Latin countries.
Emphasis during the year will be on Central America, Brazil and
Mexico. A year of preparation is recommended, extending from June 1996 to
PC(USA) coordinator for Central America and Mexico Julia Ann Moffett
stressed to the committee that she understands the upcoming study as
extending the church's international walk -- not as a time to forget about
the denomination's ties to Africa.
"And this is not just Worldwide Ministries calling the shots,"
Associate Director Marilie Blanchard said during the division committee's
meeting. She emphasized that the denomination's involvement in the "whole
range of domestic issues here," such as immigration policy and development
in Hispanic communities, is also tied to issues in Latin countries
The Council is also recommending the Assembly adopt a report entitled
"Marathon of Hope: Renewing the Journey with Central America." The report,
based on interviews with mission workers in Central America and with
partner churches there, emphasizes what it means to be "faithful partners"
in that region now.
Presbyterian presence in Central America began in 1882 in Guatemala.
Now more than 20 mission workers serve throughout the region..
"Marathon of Hope" was commissioned by the 1993 General Assembly in
response to a request from Central American mission workers that the
PC(USA) take a new look at mission there -- and to understand that, while
the wars of the '80s have ended, the violence of death squads has been
replaced by more random violence, born of extreme poverty.
"One of the concepts you often hear in Latin America is hope," Moffett
told the Presbyterian News Service. "[We must] learn from Latin American
Christians what that means in situations of hopelessness."
The "Year With Latin America" will include a call for presbyteries and
* pray for the people of Central America
* learn more about the PC(USA) mission there
* work for justice in relation to Central America
* minister with sensitivity to refugees from Central America
* support the witness of the church in Central America
* examine opportunities that currently exist within their bounds to
become involved in concerns of Central America and to develop new and
innovative ways to support the mutal mission of the PC(USA) with neighbors
to the south.
Further, the GAC is recommending that Presbyterians pray for a
scheduled 1996 gathering with Central American partners for missiological
and theological exchange and examination of past and future challenges for
Coordinator for South America the Rev. Ben Gutierrez relishes upcoming
opportunities for exchange between Brazilian and U.S. Presbyterians. "Some
of the things taking place in Brazil are very close to us in the U.S.,"
said Gutierrez. "We just haven't thought about it."
He named a growing Pentecostal movement in that country and the
tendency of the poor to shy away from more mainline denominations, as
issues to be addressed.
"Latin America has a great deal to contribute to the U.S.
missiologically," he said, noting that the church in Brazil currently
commissions 2,000 missionaries -- half remain inside that immense country
and the other half go to different parts of the world.
# # #
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .