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From left, Bishop Samuel Aguilar, vice president of CIEMAL (Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean); Elder Juan de Dios Peña, president of the council; and Bishop Hideide Gomes de Brito Torres, council secretary, listen during the XI Assembly taking place Oct. 9-13, in Panama City, Panama. The three were elected officers at the meeting. Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS.

Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS

From left, Bishop Samuel Aguilar, vice president of CIEMAL (Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean); Elder Juan de Dios Peña, president of the council; and Bishop Hideide Gomes de Brito Torres, council secretary, listen during the XI Assembly taking place Oct. 9-13, in Panama City, Panama. The three were elected officers at the meeting.

Strengthening mission in the Americas

 

By the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez
Oct. 11, 2017 | PANAMA CITY, Panama (UMNS)

The Rev.  Lizzette Gabriel Montalvo, minister of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico and current president of CIEMAL (Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean) attends the XI Assembly taking place Oct. 9-13, in Panama City, Panama. Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS.

The Rev.  Lizzette Gabriel Montalvo, minister of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico and current president of CIEMAL, attends the XI Assembly, Oct. 9-13, in Panama City, Panama. Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS.

Methodist bishops from Latin America and the Caribbean want to strengthen the mutual connection in supporting Methodist mission — not only in the region, but also in other parts of the world.

CIEMAL (Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches in Latin America and the Caribbean) is meeting Oct. 9-13 in Panama City. United Methodist bishops are part of the council through the denomination’s mission in Honduras.

The autonomous Latin American Methodist churches are experiencing a continuous growth in membership, ministries and presence in most of the countries. Almost all Latin American countries have a Methodist church or mission.

Sandra López, secretary for Latin America with the Methodist Church in Britain, speaks during the XI Assembly. Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS.

Sandra López, secretary for Latin America with the Methodist Church in Britain, speaks during the XI Assembly. Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS.

The Rev. Lizzette Gabriel Montalvo, Methodist Church of Puerto Rico and president of CIEMAL, shared information about the current situation of the U.S. territory after Hurricane Maria.

“This is a difficult hour for Puerto Rico,” she told the gathering. “It is a time in which faith is a necessity.”

Sandra López, secretary for Latin America of the Methodist Church in Britain, shared a presentation and proposal to create a program for mutual cooperation and exchange with CIEMAL. Specifically, the British and Latin American denominations want to collaborate on congregational development, evangelism and mission.

Bishop Elías Galván, episcopal leader of The United Methodist Church in Honduras, shared with the council teh current state of the chuch and possibilities for development. Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS.

Bishop Elías Galván, episcopal leader of The United Methodist Church in Honduras, shared ideas about the current church and potential development. Photo by the Rev. Gustavo Vasquez, UMNS.

“Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions where the church is growing in depth and in a good way,” López said. “We want to learn from our sister churches in this region and from other parts of the world.”

Bishop Elías Galván, leader of the mission of The United Methodist Church in Honduras, shared with the council the current state of the church and the different possibilities for development. Honduras is the only United Methodist mission in Latin America at this time.

The council elected three new officers. The new board members are Elder Juan de Dios Peña, Evangelical Methodist Church of El Salvador, as president; Bishop Samuel Aguilar , Methodist Church of Peru, as vice president and Bishop Hideide Gomes de Brito Torres, Methodist Church of Brazil, as secretary.

“I am in the best disposition to serve joyfully, and to be an instrument for God to continue doing God’s work,” said de Dios Peña, the new president. He is also the president of the Evangelical Methodist Church of El Salvador.

Vasquez is the director of Hispanic/Latino Communications at United Methodist Communications. Contact him at 615-742-5470 ornewsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests