From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ALC Noticias Peru, Cuba, El Salvador, Brazil, Mexico

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 05 Apr 2004 13:23:43 -0700


PERU: Parliamentary forum emphasizes educational work of Adventist missionary
CUBA: Cuban theologian receive homage for 80th birthday
EL SALVADOR: Catholic Bishop calls on President elect to show unity and to 
fulfill promises
BRAZIL: IURD expands its media empire
MEXICO: II Symposium on the history of Protestantism in Latin America

Parliamentary forum emphasizes educational work of Adventist missionary

LIMA, March 30, 2004 (alc). Congress representatives and Peruvian 
intellectuals and from other countries attended a forum held in the 
legislative palace in homage of Fernando Stahl, considered the father of 
rural education in Peru.

Congresswoman Graciela Yanarico, organizer of the forum Genesis of Rural 
Education in Peru said she could not help but express her profound 
gratitude to Stahl. She considers herself to be the fruit of this education 
and the efforts of a man who opted to leave the comforts of his 
professional life in the United States, to educate Aymara indigenous in the 
Puno highlands in southern Peru and later indigenous people in the Amazon 

Stahl, a member of the Adventist Church arrived in Puno with his wife and 
children in the 1920s. He began to live alongside the Aymara, helping them 
in the fields and learning their language.

Congress president Henry Pease lauded the fact that a forum was held in 
Parliament to recognize and strengthen rural education in Peru and above 
all to recall the educational efforts that the Adventist Church developed 
through Stahl and his children, who lived alongside the people.

It is an admirable action that we Peruvians must recognize because the 
only way to change the country, is to join with the poor, the excluded, 
with those who were left on the margins hundreds of years ago, he said.

The forum brought together key historians including Jose Tamayo Herrera, 
who spoke about indigenous education in Peru and Charles Teel, director of 
the Stahl Foundation in the La Sierra University in California.

Another historian, Merlmn Alomia spoke about the history of rural education 
in Peru. He affirmed that Adventism contributed to the formation of people 
in the Puno area. When it entered the highlands it had a double effect, he 
said. First, it broke the bindings of traditional culture and secondly, it 
prepared people for the new tasks and challenges in modern society.

The event also included the testimony of the Chambi Venero brothers, who 
are part of the history of rural education in Peru. Evenezer Chambi owns a 
clinic in Beverly Hills, California and his brother Israel Chambi is a 
renowned neurologist who also lives in the United States.

The head of the family is Pastor Pedro Chambi, who learned to read at age 
22. He accompanied Stahl, becoming his guide and translator.

Cuban theologian receive homage for 80th birthday

By Josi Aurelio Paz
HAVANA, March 31, 2004 (alc). Church leaders came together in the Martin 
Luther King Jr Memorial Center in Havana to pay homage to Evangelical 
theologian and Cuban congressman Sergio Arce Martinez for his 80th 
birthday. Participants also included a delegation from Puerto Rico, 
government official and members of the academic world.

During the event, a group of speakers referred to the so-called Theology in 
the Revolution, developed by Arce Martinez based on the new vision of the 
Cuban religious phenomenon after the social change in January 1959, which 
challenged the Church to make changes in its evangelizing concept, its 
praxis and its commitment with the people.

A professor of theology in the Presbyterian Seminary in Princeton, New 
Jersey, Arce returned to Cuban in 1961. A doctor in Philosophy and 
Literature in the University of Havana, he also has an Honoris Causa 
doctorate in Theology from the Carolina University in the former Czech

Ricardo Alarcsn de Quesada, president of the Cuban parliament attended the 
event. To unite the search for truth and the practice of virtue is the 
quality that must preside the life of Marxists and Christians, said 
Alarcon in his speech.

In 1968, Arce was named vice president of the Christian Conference for 
Peace and created the Camilo Torres Restrepo national theology days, 
aimed at analyzing, in the light of the Cuban reality, the example of the 
priest who was murdered in Colombia.

A man who is emblematic of the theology of Cuban roots and committed to his 
people, Arce, who was elected legislator for third consecutive period, also 
receive the homage of the Cuban Council of Churches.

Other participants in the event, held in the Ebenezer de Marianao Church 
included representatives from the Presbyterian Reform Church of Cuba, as 
well as his local Church in Varadero where he was pastor for many years. 
City government authorities and authorities from the Theological 
Evangelical Seminary of Matanzas also attended the event. Caridad Diego 
Bello, head of the Religious Affairs Office for the Central Community Party 
Committee,  Hart Davalos, president of the Catedra de Estudios Martianos y 
Rhode Gonzalez, president of the Cuban Council of Churches, also attended.

The Reverend and legislator Raul Suarez Ramos presented a reprint of Sergio 
Arces book The mission of the Church in a socialist society; published 
by Caminos. An essential document of Arces work, it characterizes the 
theological task in Cuba, controversial, novel and committed to a pastoral 
ministry from and with the people.

Catholic Bishop calls on President elect to show unity and to fulfill

SAN SALVADOR, April 1, 2004 (alc). The country needs everyone. It is not 
viable if we are not all included in a national project that favors the 
most dispossessed, said Gregorio Rosa Chavez, auxiliary bishop of San 
Salvador, in a homily addressing President elect Elias Antonio Saca.

The prelate offered the homily during a Mass celebrated in this cathedral 
to mark the 24th anniversary since the March 24, 1980 murder of Salvadoran 
Bishop Oscar Arnulto Romero, by a paramilitary commando.

In his homily entitled From fear to hope, Msgr. Rosa Chavez also referred 
to the violence of the so-called maras or youth gangs in Central America.

Why does a young person turn to violence? Why do they turn to drugs? They 
do so because doors are closed, because they cannot finish their studies, 
because they cannot obtain dignified work, because they have no future, 
because their hope is killed. We hope that we are capable of accompanying 
the best there is in the government program so that the poor have life and 
life in abundance, he said.

Saca, a candidate for the right wing Alianza Republicana Nacionalista 
(Arena) party won with 57 percent of the vote last March 21, beating 
Schafik Handal who ran for the leftist Frente Farabundo Martm para la 
Liberacisn Nacional (FMLN).

The mass was attended by Carlos Rivas Zamora, mayor of San Salvador, Human 
Rights Ombudsman Beatrice de Carrillo, Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gomez and 
pastors from different Evangelical Churches as well as delegates from 
Honduras, the United States and other countries.

Given the electoral results, Bishop Rosa Chavez asked, which was stronger 
hope or fear? Didnt the candidates generate hope? And then a more 
disturbing question, Do we have a future of hope after the results of last 

He mentioned that Msgr. Romero, in the face of a military uprising October 
15, 1979, spoke with many people, seeking the best for the country and 
discovered that the project was going to fail because it was a reform 
stained with blood and repression.

One year after the war in Iraq, there are two paths for the world: fear 
and hope, he said.

The current situation in El Salvador can also be summarized in three words: 
the first is hope, hope that things can change, the second is 
disenchantment and the third is disappointment. I also see there are three 
words to look to the future: the first is challenge, the second is 
discernment and the third is commitment, he added.

We have the challenge of moving forward without losing hope. Then there is 
discernment, which includes an objective analysis of what took place, 
self-criticism and bravery and humility to accept the truth. Finally, 
commitment, a commitment to say no to fear and yes to hope, he said.

What is our mission, the Churchs mission?, he asked. The Church, the 
Churches have the responsibility to accompany the people from their own 
identity and with complete freedom.

Political leaders also have a responsibility, he said. They must not forget 
that their main commitment is to common good, above all the poorest. Social 
leaders also have a responsibility; they must not allow themselves to be 
overcome by exhaustion, pessimism and divisions.

There is a responsibility for those who follow Jesus Christ, for 
Christians. We cannot forget that faith in eternal life leads us to 
transform the world. We cannot remain with our arms crossed. If we do, the 
economy will be at the service of profit and not the human being. If we 
remain with our arms crossed we will have harsh and super harsh hand and 
not the tenderness of God who wants all people to have life. (202/2004).

IURD expands its media empire

SAO PAULO, April 2, 2004 (alc). The Universal Kingdom of God Church (IURD) 
recently bought channel 67 of Atlanta and plans to broaden its media empire 
in the world, buying a radio station in New York.

Channel 67, W67CI is affiliated with the Telemundo Network, one of the 
biggest in the United States and the main American partner of Red Globo de 
Televisisn, according to journalist Marcelo Dutra in the magazine Eclesia.

In Brazil the IURD owns Red Record de Televisisn, which vies for viewers 
with Globo. They have been at loggerheads since 1995 when Globo produces 
the miniseries Decadence which featured a corrupt pastor who grew rich 
thanks to his Church.

The dispute peaked when Bishop Sergio Von Helde beat an image of our Our 
Lady Who Appeared, patron saint of Brazil, during a Red Record television 
show. The repercussions were so enormous that the IURD was forced to 
transfer Von Helde to Portugal.

Today, another episode of this dispute is underway. Brazilian communication 
media owe approximately $3.5 billion. Of that total, 60 percent corresponds 
to Red Globo, which has appealed to the government for help.

Carlos Lessa, president of the National Economic and Social Development 
Bank (BNDES) met March 19 with representatives from Record, TV and SBT 
networks to discuss funding that would benefit, among others, Red Globo.

Networks that compete with Globo told Folha Universal, the IURD paper, that 
they are in agreement with the BNDES concession as long as the money is 
used for technological modernization and not to pay debts. This position 
clearly affects Globos interests.

A 12-point study by the Communication and Culture Studies Institute looked 
at the reasons for the current crisis the media are facing in Brazil.

It points to the family administration of these companies, businesses that 
do not yield what is hoped for, such as Cable TV, Internet and Telephones, 
dollar debts taken on when the Real and the dollar were equal. Today, one 
dollar equals three Reales, which means the debt has tripled in the period.

Given this trend, Red Record is seeking new fronts abroad, seeking to 
conquer a growing segment in the US market: the Hispanic community. On the 
air since 1987, 85 percent of Telemundos audience is Spanish speaking.

The radio that the IURD is seeking to buy is WADO-1280 AM, which only 
broadcasts in Spanish.

II Symposium on the history of Protestantism in Latin America

By Carlos Mondragsn
MEXICO CITY, April 2, 2004 (alc). The II International Symposium on the 
History of Protestantism in Latin America and the Caribbean will be held 
next October 20-22 in San Cristsbal de las Casas, Chiapas and the general 
theme will be Making History in a Context of Poverty and Violence.

Experts from diverse Protestant Churches will analyze the main thematic 
focal points of the event: 1) Evangelical Christianity in the indigenous 
world; 2) History of Protestant thought in Latin America; 3) Experiences of 
Protestant political participation; 4) Evangelical women, power and 
violence and 5) Protestantism and social sciences: the methodological debate.

The Mexican section of the Latin American Theological Fraternity (FTL), 
teaching personnel from the National Autonomous University of Mexico 
(UNAM), the Mexican Studies Center on Protestantism (CEPROMEX) and the 
Kairos Chiapas organization are convening the event.

The event will take place in the state of Chiapas, in the southeast of 
Mexico, a region where Evangelical indigenous people have been the victims 
of intolerance. In some cases, they have been expelled from their homes and 
communities for abandoning the religious traditions of their ethnic groups. 
More than 20,000 have been displaced, forced to flee their lands for 
embracing the Evangelical faith. The majority sought refuge in the areas 
surrounding San Cristobal de las Casas, the city where the symposium will 
be carried out.

The state of Chiapas became famous for the indigenous rebellion of the 
Zapatista de Liberacisn Nacional Army, which began a decade ago. It also 
has the highest Evangelical population the country. According to official 
data, more than 30 percent of the local population is non-Catholic, 
something that contrasts with the national average of around 5 percent.

This symposium, organized by Carlos Martmnez Garcma, Alfredo Echegollen and 
Carlos Mondragsn, is a continuation of the one held in October 2002 in the 
National San Marcos University in Lima, Peru, sponsored by the university 
and the Latin American Theological Fraternity. (205/2004).

Agencia Latinoamericana y Caribeqa de Comunicacisn (ALC)
P.O. Box 14-225 Lima 14 Peru
Tel. (51 1) 462-0189  Telefax (51 1) 463 2496
Cell Phone (51 1) 9724 3959 / E-Mail:
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