Participants from ten members of Comunidad de Instituciones Teológicas Anabautistas (Community of Anabaptist Theological Institutions-CITA) gather in Mexico City, March 19 – 22 to share experiences and develop collaborative strategies for the future. Photo by Eleazar Diaz Ortiz.
By Jane Morrow
Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Versión en español

Amid vibrant colors of culture and faith, 20 people dedicated to nurturing Anabaptist principles within the fabric of contemporary Christian thought gathered in Mexico City, Mexico, February 19-22, energized by a vision to enrich theological education in the Spanish language.

The Comunidad de Instituciones Teológicas Anabautistas (Community of Anabaptist Theological Institutions-CITA) members met to evaluate and define their collective purpose, seeking strategies to address the evolving educational and formational needs within their churches and organizations.

The diverse membership of CITA reflects the richness of Anabaptist tradition across the Americas and Spain.

“Although we are small institutions, we make a great impact in our environment by offering quality education that responds to the realities of our countries. Although diverse, we maintain unity in the Spirit and, of course, in our theological and ecclesial principles,” said Isdalia Ortega Sánchez, SBMC board member.

Multiple strategies were defined with the expectation of forming teams to work together towards CITA’s vision statement: To energize the network of Anabaptist educational institutions for biblical-theological and ministerial formation for Christian mission in their contexts.

Estefanía Martínez from El Salvador (second from right) shares her group’s ideas on stories to write from Latin American Anabaptist history, while group members Santiago Espitia, Javier Márquez, Isdalia Ortiz Sanchez, Marco Guete and Violeta Ajquejay observe. Photo by Linda Shelly.

Estefanía Martínez from El Salvador (second from right) shares her group’s ideas on stories to write from Latin American Anabaptist history, while group members Santiago Espitia, Javier Márquez, Isdalia Ortiz Sanchez, Marco Guete and Violeta Ajquejay Suastegui observe. Photo by Linda Shelly.

Some of the strategies discussed include:

  • Developing a database of professors prepared to teach in multiple institutions
  • Expanding the promotion of theological education opportunities in ways that are more likely to reach young people
  • Revising and writing materials for children, youth and adolescents
  • Writing the stories of more of the churches

The voices of participants resonated with hope and determination.

Rebeca Gonzalez, CITA executive co-coordinator, said, “The in-person meeting helped us realize all the resources and gifts we possess together and that we can redirect CITA's path toward a more intentional and closer collaboration among ourselves and as institutions. Each institution brings a special and very specific program, so together we can achieve a range of educational possibilities for the people of God.”

As CITA continues to evolve and expand its reach, its commitment to collaborative education remains unwavering. United by a shared vision, these institutions stand poised to impact Anabaptist theological discourse and ministerial formation among Spanish-speakers globally.

A charitable funding distribution from the Schowalter Foundation contributed to making the gathering feasible.

A poster “Welcome 1st Theological Consultation, Mexico 2024” identifies the March 19-22 event. A previous in-person gathering in 2016 in Guatemala resulted in the formation of CITA. This time, the event included four theological presentations by Carlos Martínez-García, Santiago Espitia, Elizabeth Miller and Willi Hugo Pérez (presented by Estafanía Martínez).  Photo by Linda Shelly.

A poster “Welcome 1st Theological Consultation, Mexico 2024” identifies the February 19-22 event. A previous in-person gathering in 2016 in Guatemala resulted in the formation of CITA. This time, the event included four theological presentations by Carlos Martínez-García, Santiago Espitia, Elizabeth Miller and Willi Hugo Pérez (presented by Estafanía Martínez). Photo by Linda Shelly.


Estrechando lazos: Un encuentro para la educación teológica anabautista 

En medio de vivos colores de cultura y fe, veinte personas dedicadas a nutrir los principios anabautistas en la trama del pensamiento cristiano contemporáneo y con la visión de enriquecer la educación teológica en español, se reunieron en Ciudad de México, México, del 19 al 22 de febrero. 

Los miembros de la Comunidad de Instituciones Teológicas Anabautistas (CITA) se congregaron para evaluar y definir su propósito colectivo, buscando estrategias para abordar las cambiantes necesidades educativas y formativas dentro de sus iglesias y organizaciones. 

La diversidad de los miembros de la CITA refleja la riqueza de la tradición anabautista en las Américas y España.  


"Aunque somos instituciones pequeñas, tenemos un gran impacto en nuestro medio ofreciendo educación de calidad y que responde a la realidad de nuestros países. Aunque somos diversos, mantenemos la unidad en el Espíritu y, por supuesto, en nuestros principios teológicos y eclesiales", dijo Isdalia Ortega Sánchez, miembro de la junta directiva del SBMC. 


Se definieron múltiples estrategias con la expectativa de formar equipos de trabajo y juntos elaborar y determinar la visión de la CITA: Dinamizar la red de instituciones educativas anabautistas para la formación bíblico-teológica y ministerial para la misión cristiana en sus contextos.

Estefanía Martínez, de El Salvador (segunda por la derecha), comparte las ideas de su grupo sobre relatos para escribir de la historia anabautista latinoamericana, mientras los miembros del grupo Santiago Espitia, Javier Márquez, Isdalia Ortiz Sanchez, Marco Guete y Violeta Ajquejay Suastegui observan. Foto de Linda Shelly.

Algunas de las estrategias analizadas fueron: 

  • Desarrollar una base de datos de profesores preparados para enseñar en múltiples instituciones.  
  • Ampliar la promoción de las oportunidades de educación teológica, incluyendo maneras atractivas para los jóvenes. 
  • Revisar y redactar materiales para niños, jóvenes y adolescentes. 
  • Escribir las historias de más iglesias. 

Las voces de los participantes resonaban con esperanza y determinación.  

Rebeca González, co-coordinadora ejecutiva de la CITA, dijo: "El encuentro presencial nos hizo darnos cuenta de todos los recursos y dones que poseemos juntos y que podemos redireccionar el camino de la CITA hacia una colaboración más intencional y estrecha entre nosotros y como instituciones. Cada institución aporta un programa especial y muy particular y juntas podemos lograr tener un abanico de posibilidades educativas para el pueblo de Dios." 

A medida que la CITA sigue evolucionando y ampliando su alcance, su compromiso con la educación colaborativa se mantiene inquebrantable. Unidas por una visión compartida, estas instituciones están preparadas para influir en el discurso teológico anabautista y la formación ministerial entre los hispanohablantes de todo el mundo.  

Un aporte benéfico de la Fundación Schowalter contribuyó a hacer posible el encuentro. 


Un cartel "Bienvenida 1ª Consulta Teológica, México 2024" identifica el evento del 19 al 22 de febrero. Una reunión previa en persona en 2016 en Guatemala dio lugar a la formación de la CITA. Esta vez, el evento incluyó cuatro presentaciones teológicas a cargo de Carlos Martínez-García, Santiago Espitia, Elizabeth Miller y Willi Hugo Pérez (presentado por Estafanía Martínez). Foto de Linda Shelly.

 

 

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https://www.mennonitemission.net/news/5049/gathering-for-Anabaptist-theological-education

​​Jane Morrow is a writer and editor for Mennonite Mission Network.

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