From the Worldwide Faith News archives

United Methodists raise funds for Latin American work

Date 12 Feb 2001 14:39:54

Feb. 12, 2001 News media contact: Linda Bloom·(212) 870-3803·New York

NOTE: A sidebar, UMNS story #070, is available with this report.

NEW YORK (UMNS) -- United Methodists promoting a special fund for mission in
Latin America and the Caribbean hope to quickly finish raising $1 million to
begin that work.

The long-term endowment goal for "Encounter for Christ," a permanent fund of
the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, is $25 million, according
to the Rev. Franklin Guerrero, staff executive with the New York-based

Those financial goals were established by a 32-member study team that spent
Jan. 27-Feb. 4 traveling in Guatemala and Mexico to learn more about Latin
American ministries and how to promote them for fund raising back home.

The team happened to be in Antigua, Guatemala on the 10th anniversary of a
consultation there among the United Methodist Church, the Council of
Evangelical Methodist Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean (CIEMAL),
the Methodist Church in Great Britain, the United Church of Canada, and the
Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas. The consultation
resulted in a statement, "Covenant of Life and Hope," and led to the
establishment of the Encounter with Christ fund.

Created in 1992 by the Board of Global Ministries and affirmed by the 1996
General Conference, the denomination's top legislative body, Encounter with
Christ is designed to benefit long-term mission projects in conjunction with
Methodist churches in the region. As money is disbursed, it will be
monitored both by the board and CIEMAL, whose mission priorities include
evangelization and new church development, work with women, children and
youth, and community-based health care.

In Guatemala, the study team visited churches and projects in
Chichicastenango, Quetzaltenango and Mazatenango; spoke with national church
leaders; and greeted a Volunteers in Mission team from Iowa and Wisconsin.
The group visited the Gonzalo Baez Camargo Seminary in Mexico and the "Give
Ye Them to Eat" project in that country's Puebla area. Developed in 1977 by
the Methodist Church of Mexico, "Give Ye Them to Eat" combats hunger and
poverty in rural central Mexico.

Team members will be soliciting donations to the fund through a variety of
sources, including individual cash gifts and deferred giving; pledges from
churches, conferences and foundations; grant proposals to public and private
philanthropies; and Volunteer in Mission teams.

According to Guerrero, the Encounter with Christ fund (No. 025100) had
$301,000 in cash assets as of December, with another $415,000 pledged in

United Methodist News Service
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