From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutherans in Puerto Rico celebrate 100th anniversary

Date 22 Oct 1998 06:57:05

"Communicate Hope"

CHICAGO, Illinois, U.S.A./GENEVA, 19 October 1998 (elca/lwi) - Lutherans in
Puerto Rico will communicate a message of hope to the world as they
celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Lutheran presence there. The
anniversary will be celebrated at a Global Mission Event to be held on
October 30 and November 1 in San Juan.

"Communicate Hope" will be the theme when more than 400 members of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) gather at the event organized
by the ELCA's Division for Global Mission.

"The Global Mission Event is about mission, and mission is about sharing
Christ," wrote the Rev. Margarita Martinez in Global Contact, a newsletter
produced by the ELCA's Division for Global Mission. Mission-minded
Lutherans "seeking cross-cultural experiences will find a unique
opportunity to do so this year at the first Global Mission Event hosted by
Lutherans in Puerto Rico." Martinez is ELCA associate director for global

For members of the ELCA's Caribbean Synod, the event will offer the
opportunity to celebrate with brothers and sisters from the United States.
They will learn about mission in the world and translate it into a renewed
missionary zeal for work in local communities, said Martinez. The theme
text for the event is from the Bible: "We cannot keep from speaking about
what we have seen and heard." ELCA members will come together to
"celebrate, deepen our commitment to mission, grow in love and care for
each other and all God's creation," Martinez said.

Emphasis will be on recognizing daily events as opportunities to testify to
Jesus, advocating a message of hope, declaring Christian identity and
equipping people to use today's technology as a tool for Christian
communication, according to Martinez.

"Lutherans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands face many challenges
-- social issues such as consumerism and secularism, and identity issues
about what it means to be Lutheran in Caribbean and Latin American
contexts," said Martinez. "Our younger generations want to be more involved
in facing these challenges and help communicate the hope we have in Jesus

The Rev. H. George Anderson, presiding bishop of the ELCA, will speak at
the event's opening celebration. Dr. Jose Miguel Bonino, who teaches
liberation theology at the Evangelical Institute for Higher Theological
Studies (ISEDET) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, will lead Bible studies. The
Rev. Francisco L. Sosa, bishop of the ELCA's Caribbean Synod, will also

About 40 courses will be offered in four "global university" sessions.
Topics range from Lutheran domestic disaster response to the beginning of
Lutheran churches in Puerto Rico. The ELCA's Caribbean Synod will organize
a special component celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Lutheran
church in Puerto Rico.

ELCA missionary staff working in many countries will take part along with
international guests from partner churches around the world. Music will
come from the Caribbean and Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia,
North America and Europe.

Three similar Global Mission Events were held last summer at the University
of Wisconsin, La Crosse, from July 9 to 12; Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute, Troy, New York, from July 16 to 19; and at San Jose State
University, San Jose, California, from July 23 to 26.

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Lutheran World Information
Editorial Assistant: Janet Bond-Nash

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