​Photo by Linda Shelly.

By Linda Shelly
Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Approximately 130 Anabaptists from nine conferences in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela gathered in Quito, Ecuador, February 18 – 21, 2023. This Andean regional gathering was originally planned for November 2020, two years after the previous event in Cali, Colombia, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other meetings prior to the full gathering included the Red Latinoamericana de Estudios Anabautistas (RELEA—Latin American Network of Anabaptist Studies) and the Movimiento de Mujeres Anabautistas Haciendo Teología desde América Latina (MTAL—Movement of Anabaptist Women Doing Theology from Latin America) focusing on gender violence, and a meeting with representatives of each conference to discern possibilities for higher level theological education from an Anabaptist perspective.

César García, General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference, led the primary Bible studies and reflections with an emphasis on relating and working together in unity, even while recognizing the distinctive gifts, challenges, and perspectives of each conference. Afternoon workshops focused on themes like Anabaptist identity, creation care, mission and church-planting, spirituality of peace, migration and hospitality and including people with disabilities in our communities of faith.

Special sessions for children and youth attracted families and encouraged a focus towards the future as well as the present.

Mennonite Mission Network, together with other agencies, provided funding to help reduce the expenses for participants, supported planning and invited workers in the region to interact with church leaders in this context.

The following photos by Linda Shelly give a glimpse into the activities and fellowship experienced in Ecuador.

 

 

Ivonne Mendoza (Ecuador), María Elena Arango (Colombia) and Darlenis Estaba and Euclides Bauza (Venezuela) meet in a small group during the meeting to discern options for working together regionally in theological education.

Ivonne Mendoza (Ecuador), María Elena Arango (Colombia) and Darlenis Estaba and Euclides Bauza (Venezuela) meet in a small group during the meeting to discern options for working together regionally in theological education.

César García, General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference, led the primary Bible studies and times of reflection together with an emphasis on relating and working together in unity.

César García, General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference, led the primary Bible studies and times of reflection together with an emphasis on relating and working together in unity.


Approximately 130 Anabaptists from nine conferences in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela worshipped together in Quito, Ecuador.

Approximately 130 Anabaptists from nine conferences in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela worshipped together in Quito, Ecuador.

Times of prayer were scheduled in the morning and in the evening.

Times of prayer were scheduled in the morning and in the evening.

People of different ages and nationalities came together in a worship band to lead singing.

People of different ages and nationalities came together in a worship band to lead singing.

Delicia Bravo, Mission Network worker in Ecuador, led the children’s program, which included sharing songs in the worship services.

Delicia Bravo, Mission Network worker in Ecuador, led the children’s program, which included sharing songs in the worship services. Adaía Bernal (Colombia), on the left, shares about the Movement of Anabaptist Women Doing Theology from Latin America (MTAL) to invite additional participation.

Adaía Bernal (Colombia), on the left, shares about the Movement of Anabaptist Women Doing Theology from Latin America (MTAL) to invite additional participation.

Julián Guamán (Ecuador) concludes his workshop on Creation Care by asking the audience two central questions: 1) What is our personal and family commitment to care for God’s creation? 2) What could the church do in order to care for God’s creation in the context of the community where you are present?

Julián Guamán (Ecuador) leads a workshop on Creation Care drawing from Biblical texts and asking the audience two central questions: 1) What is our personal and family commitment to care for God’s creation? 2) What could the church do in order to care for God’s creation in the context of the community where you are present?

During a workshop on self-care and leadership, Paul Stucky (Colombia) asks, “What are your experiences in helping to carry the burdens of colleagues and in receiving help with your burdens? What more could you do that you aren’t doing?

During a workshop on self-care and leadership, Paul Stucky (Colombia) asks, “What are your experiences in helping to carry the burdens of colleagues and in receiving help with your burdens? What more could you do that you aren’t doing?

Mission Network worker Peter Wigginton accompanies an informal group singing favorite songs together.

Mission Network worker Peter Wigginton accompanies an informal group singing favorite songs together.

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https://www.mennonitemission.net/blog/4874/Anabaptists-from-four-Andean-nations-worship-and-explore-themes-of-reconciliation

​Linda Shelly is Mission Network Regional Director for Latin America.

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