Strengthening mission in the Americas
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.
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.
“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 email@example.com. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.