The workshop in Ambato, Tunguragua, Ecuador was filled with members from the local provincial FEINE chapter. Photo by Peter Wigginton.
By Jane Morrow
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

 

 

Versión en español

Injustice in Ecuador, especially for Indigenous Peoples, has ignited protests, national uprisings and strikes over the past four decades, which are increasing in frequency. Although Ecuador’s constitution and international law recognize Indigenous Peoples’ rights, United Nations experts found "persistent gaps" in the enforcement of these rights, especially regarding mineral extraction and development in Indigenous territories.

Furthermore, Indigenous communities are typically located in rural areas where the percentage of people living in poverty is double that of people in urban areas. Poverty contributes to the lack of access to basic services, including health care. This socioeconomic chasm has contributed to unrest.

Mennonite Mission Network has had a presence in Ecuador for over 30 years and, for over 20 years, has supported Ecuadorian partners through the Ecuador Partnership, which is made up of Mission Network, Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (IMCOL) and Central Plains Mennonite Conference, a conference of Mennonite Church USA.

At the request of the Council of Indigenous Evangelical Nations and Organizations of Ecuador (FEINE) President Eustaquio Tuala, Mission Network held a workshop for FEINE leaders, Dec. 8-10, 2022. The workshop was led by Ecuador Partnership co-coordinator Peter Wigginton and training and resource specialist — church planting Mauricio Chenlo, along with Dr. Julián Guamán, general secretary of Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Ecuador (ICME). Twenty-two FEINE leaders participated in the workshop at FEINE’s national office in Quito, Ecuador. Fifty church leaders attended the workshop, which focused on faith and politics, as well as methods of nonviolent direct action and reconciliation.

See “Mission Network facilitates workshops in faith, politics and reconciliation in Ecuador” for details about the December workshop.

This initial workshop and the enthusiastic response of the participants led to a plan between Mission Network and FEINE to further develop the workshops by producing written materials, providing training for Indigenous facilitators and working together to lead additional workshops.

This booklet, written by Dr. Julián Guamán and Mauricio Chenlo, with a foreword by Peter Wigginton, is the first in a series focused on preparing Christian leaders to follow in the footsteps of Jesus (Faith and politics, towards the politics of Jesus).

Throughout May and June, Chenlo, Guamán and Wigginton led a series of eight workshops, in seven Ecuadorian provinces, with a total of 1,400 people in attendance. The workshops challenged the attendees to consider what Jesus’ political platform would be, with key passages including Isaiah 53 and the Beatitudes (Mathew 5:1-12). Each participant received a copy of Fe y política, hacia la política de Jesús.

“Through these workshops, we have been blessed to meet and fellowship with local leaders and members of many Indigenous provincial federations,” said Wigginton.

Dr. Julián Guamán teaches the first part of a faith and politics workshop in Callata, Chimborazo, Ecuador.

The timing of these recent workshops is significant because Ecuadorian politics have been in tumult the past few months, since the attempt by politicians to impeach the president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, on corruption charges. In May, Lasso dissolved the National Assembly by decree, and new elections are scheduled for August.

After attending the workshops on faith and politics, many church leaders shared interest in a consistent program for leadership development that reflects the witness of Jesus as a servant leader. In response, Chenlo, Guamán and Wigginton are continuing to work with FEINE leaders to develop the workshop program further.

Mauricio Chenlo explores the biblical context in which Jesus presents his political platform — an upside-down kingdom approach — in a workshop in Latacunga, Cotopaxi, Ecuador.

This excerpt from Faith and politics, towards the politics of Jesus offers a summary of the context Chenlo presented:

“Palestine was under the control of the Roman Empire and the tetrarch (governor) Herod. The account of Jesus in Matthew's Gospel places Jesus' birth in a concrete political context. Jesus becomes a threat to the powers that be because he embodies the expectations of justice and peace, of shalom that the neediest longed for. Jesus initiates a style of leadership based on service, on missional practices of going out where the people are; of healing, spiritual restoration, forgiveness of sins. These practices are grounded in the core values of God's kingdom. Jesus initiates a clear policy of service and love of neighbor. The formation of a group of disciples who embody these practices is central to God's political strategy. It is through the community of believers that God intends to restore all things under one name, the name of Christ!”


“We are working together to conduct a survey with church leaders to learn more about what key functions pastors are expected to perform within the bi-vocational paradigm common in Ecuador. In addition, we are writing a second booklet that includes the history of church planters and how to plant peace churches,” said Chenlo. 

A third booklet will offer peacebuilding methods and tools for planters and pastors.

These reconciliation and justice efforts in Ecuador have been envisioned and developed by FEINE and Ecuadorian Mennonites, along with Mission Network personnel and funds from the Schowalter Foundation.


Note from Regional Director for Latin America Linda Shelly

FEINE invited a Mission Network predecessor agency to Ecuador in 1990. They were seeking opportunities for theological education and leadership development for their vast network of churches. Mission Network’s work with FEINE during the past 30+ years has varied, depending significantly on the local context and FEINE leadership. The current political situation, combined with strong interest from FEINE leadership, opened the door for increased Mission Network involvement in 2022 and 2023, including training sessions for Indigenous leaders.

The partnership between IMCOL, Central Plains Mennonite Conference and Mennonite Mission Network continues work with Indigenous churches and communities in Ecuador as one of our priorities.

In addition to the work with FEINE, the partnership relates with ICME and Jane and Jerrell Ross Richer’s work with Indigenous people in the Eastern rain forest region. The Ross Richers also serve as educators in the United States in two-way mission.

Related

Ayni: An invitation and a vision

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It starts with language

Faith and politics, towards the politics of Jesus

Missio Dei, volume 30: The wind blows where it wishes, 30 years of walking in the Anabaptist faith in Ecuador

Mission Network facilitates workshops in faith, politics and reconciliation in Ecuador



Continúan los esfuerzos por construir la paz en Ecuador

La injusticia en Ecuador, especialmente para los pueblos indígenas, ha originado protestas, levantamientos nacionales y huelgas a lo largo de las últimas cuatro décadas, cada vez con mayor frecuencia. A pesar de que la constitución de Ecuador y las leyes internacionales reconocen los derechos de los pueblos indígenas, expertos de Naciones Unidas han encontrado “grietas persistentes” en el cumplimiento de estos derechos, especialmente con respecto a la extracción de minerales y el desarrollo en territorios indígenas.

Además, las comunidades indígenas generalmente están asentadas en áreas rurales donde el porcentaje de personas que viven en la pobreza es el doble que en áreas urbanas. La pobreza contribuye a la falta de acceso a servicios básicos como es la asistencia médica. Este abismo socioeconómico ha contribuido al malestar general y la agitación.

La Red Menonita de Misión ha estado presente en Ecuador durante más de 30 años, y durante más de 20 años ha apoyado a obreros ecuatorianos a través de la Coparticipación ecuatoriana, integrada por la Red de Misión, la Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Colombia (IMCOL) y la Conferencia Menonita Central Plains, una conferencia de la Iglesia Menonita de Estados Unidos.

Ante el pedido de Eustaquio Tuala, presidente del Consejo de Pueblos y Organizaciones Indígenas Evangélicos del Ecuador (FEINE), la Red de Misión organizó un taller para los líderes de FEINE del 8 al 10 de diciembre de 2022. Estuvieron a cargo del taller Peter Wigginton, co-coordinador de la Coparticipación ecuatoriana, Mauricio Chenlo, especialista en Capacitación y recursos y Plantación de iglesias, y el Dr. Julián Guamán, secretario general de la Iglesia Cristiana Menonita de Ecuador (ICME). Participaron del taller veintidós líderes de FEINE en la oficina nacional de FEINE en Quito, Ecuador. Y cincuenta líderes de iglesias asistieron al taller, el cual se enfocó en fe y política, además de métodos de acción directa no violenta y reconciliación.

Para más detalles sobre el taller de diciembre, ver “La Red de Misión facilita talleres sobre fe, política y reconciliación en Ecuador

Este taller inicial y la respuesta entusiasta de los participantes condujo a un plan entre la Red de Misión y FEINE para avanzar en el desarrollo de los talleres con la producción de materiales escritos, la capacitación de facilitadores indígenas y el trabajo conjunto para organizar nuevos talleres.

Este cuadernillo, escrito por el Dr. Julián Guamán y Mauricio Chenlo, con prefacio de Peter Wigginton, es el primero de una serie enfocada a preparar a líderes cristianos a seguir los pasos de Jesús (Fe y política, hacia la política de Jesús).

Durante los meses de mayo y junio, Chenlo, Guamán y Wigginton enseñaron una serie de ocho talleres en siete provincias del Ecuador, con un total de 1400 asistentes. Los talleres desafiaron a los asistentes a considerar cuál sería la plataforma política de Jesús, con pasajes clave como Isaías 53 y las Bienaventuranzas (Mateo 5:1-12). Cada participante recibió una copia de Fe y política, hacia la política de Jesús.

“A través de estos talleres hemos tenido la bendición de reunirnos y de compartir con líderes locales y miembros de muchas federaciones indígenas provinciales,” comentó Wigginton.

El Dr. Julián Guamán enseña la primera parte de un taller sobre fe y política en Callata, Chimborazo, Ecuador.

El momento en que se brindaron estos últimos talleres es significativo porque la política ecuatoriana de los últimos meses ha estado alborotada, desde que algunos políticos han intentado destituir al presidente de Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, bajo cargos por corrupción. En mayo Lasso disolvió por decreto la Asamblea Nacional, y las nuevas elecciones están convocadas para agosto.

Después de asistir a los talleres sobre fe y política, muchos líderes de iglesias se mostraron interesados en un programa consistente para el desarrollo de líderes que refleje el testimonio de Jesús como un líder siervo. En respuesta, Chenlo, Guamán y Wigginton continúan trabajando con los líderes de FEINE para desarrollar y avanzar con un programa completo de talleres.

En un taller en Latacunga, Cotopaxi, Ecuador, Mauricio Chenlo analiza el contexto bíblico en el cual Jesús presenta su plataforma política: un enfoque de “reino al revés”.

Este extracto de Fe y política, hacia la política de Jesús brinda un resumen del contexto presentado por Chenlo:

"Palestina estaba bajo control del imperio romano y del tetrarca (gobernador) Herodes. El relato de Jesús en el evangelio de Mateo ubica el nacimiento de Jesús en un contexto político concreto. Jesús se convierte en una amenaza para los poderes porque encarna las expectativas de justicia y paz, del shalom que tanto ansiaban los más necesitados. Jesús inicia un estilo de liderazgo basado en el servicio, en prácticas misionales de salir donde está la gente; de sanidad, restauración espiritual, perdón de los pecados. Estas prácticas se sustentan en los valores centrales del reino de Dios. Jesús inicia una política clara de servicio y amor al prójimo. La formación de un grupo de discípulos que encarnen estas prácticas es central a la estrategia política de Dios. ¡Es por medio de la comunidad de creyentes que Dios se propone restaurar todas las cosas bajo un solo nombre, el nombre de Cristo!"

“Estamos trabajando juntos para llevar adelante una encuesta con los líderes de iglesias para conocer mejor cuáles son las funciones clave que se espera de los pastores dentro del paradigma bivocacional común en Ecuador. Además, estamos escribiendo un segundo cuadernillo que incluya la historia de los plantadores de iglesias y cómo plantar iglesias de paz,” dijo Chenlo. 


Un tercer cuadernillo ofrecerá métodos y herramientas de construcción de la paz para plantadores y pastores.

Estos esfuerzos de reconciliación y justicia en Ecuador han sido concebidos y desarrollados por FEINE y menonitas ecuatorianos, junto con personal de la Red de Misión y con fondos de la Fundación Schowalter.

Una nota de la directora regional para América Latina, Linda Shelly

FEINE invitó a una agencia predecesora de la Red de Misión a Ecuador en 1990. Buscaban oportunidades de educación teológica y el desarrollo del liderazgo para su vasta red de iglesias. El trabajo de la Red de Misión con FEINE durante los últimos 30 años ha variado, dependiendo significativamente del contexto local y los líderes de FEINE. La situación política actual, combinada con el fuerte interés por parte de los líderes de FEINE, abrieron las puertas para una mayor presencia de la Red de Misión durante 2022 y 2023, incluyendo sesiones de capacitación para líderes indígenas.

La coparticipación entre IMCOL, la Conferencia Menonita Central Plains y la Red Menonita de Misión y su continuo trabajo con iglesias y comunidades indígenas en Ecuador es una de nuestras prioridades.

Además de trabajar con FEINE, la coparticipación se relaciona con la ICME y con el trabajo que Jane y Jerrell Ross Richer realizan con los pueblos indígenas en la región de la selva tropical del este. La pareja Ross Richer también sirve como educadores en los Estados Unidos en su misión de doble vía.

Artículos relacionados

Ayni: An invitation and a vision

Choosing community in a globalized world

It starts with language

Fe y política, hacia la política de Jesús

Missio Dei N 30: El viento sopla por donde quiere, 30 años de ministerio menonita en Ecuador

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