The Convención de los Pastores de las Iglesias Mennonitas del Paraguay (Die Konferenz der Vereinigung der Mennonitengemeinden von Paraguay = Conference of the United Mennonite Churches of Paraguay) was founded on 10 January 1967 in the Mennonite Church in Filadelfia. The founding churches were the Mennonite churches in Asunción, Volendam, Friesland, Neuland and Fernheim. Upon their request, the Menno (Colony) churches were accepted into the conference on 12 February 1968. After the division of the large Menno Church, first into North and South Menno (Nord and Südmennokonferenz), and subsequently into additional local churches, there were 15 churches in Menno Colony in 2008.
The entire conference united in 2008 with nearly 7,400 members in 20 churches. Most of the churches were located in the three Chaco colonies. Already 19 years before the founding of the new conference, relationships between the churches and the joint branches of work existed under the so-called "Vermittlungskomitee" (Facilitating Committee).
The Conference, as well as each of the supporting churches, is committed to the Apostles' Creed of 381 AD. The conference is legally recognized as the "Convención de los Pastores de las Iglesias Mennonitas del Paraguay," abbreviated COPAIMPY. The office of the Conference is at Colegiostraße No. 975, in Loma Plata. A second office is at Centro Evangélico Mennonita de Teología Asunción (CEMTA). As guidance for the work of the Conference there are the articles of association along with internal regulations. Each congregation is autonomous.
The training center of CEMTA is legally under the Conference, but is also subordinate to the South American Conference. Furthermore, the Conference is one of the sponsoring organizations of the "Universidad Evangelica del Paraguay" (UEP).
Some tasks of the Conference in 2008 were: to nurture and encourage relationships between the member churches of the Conference; to keep the biblical Anabaptist confession and the resulting beliefs alive and current; and as a coordinating body, to support local initiatives, and to initiate and coordinate and even unite as necessary in the areas of missions, evangelization, education, literature, etc. The conference aims to maintain relationships with other conferences, and establish new relationships. In the area of literature, the Conference issued a new hymnal in 2008 which was then used in the churches from that year onward. From 1965 they had mainly sung from the Mennonite Hymnal. Another challenge was the united planning and implementation of the Mennonite World Conference in July 2009. This conference was organized in collaboration with seven other conferences.
Every other year, the General Assembly meets to deal with theological and pastoral issues. All church leaders of this association constitute the Board which regularly meets twice a year. The Board monitors the business affairs of the conference.
Ratzlaff, Gerhard. Ein Leib - viele Glieder: Die mennonitischen Gemeinden in Paraguay. Asunción: Makrografic, 2001: 97-100.
The above article, translated by Hugo Friesen, is based on the original German language article that was written for the http://www.menonitica.org/lexikon/index.php?C:Convenci%F3n_de_los_Pastores_de_las_Iglesias_Mennonitas_del_Paraguay.and has been made available to GAMEO with permission. The German version of this article is available at
Mennonite Encyclopedia Volume V ArticleFrom 4 July 1930 to May 1932, ca. 2,000 people came to Paraguay to form Fernheim Colony in the heart of the Chaco region. In 1937 ca. one-third of these moved to the east side of the Paraguay River and founded Friesland Colony. This temporary separation was soon bridged through conferences and mutual visitation. The two groups were strengthened in 1947 with the coming of additional refugees to found Volendam and Neuland colonies.
In 1948 these congregations joined the General Conference Mennonite Church of North America and received both spiritual and financial help from it. In 1950 a congregation was founded in Asunción. On 10 January 1967 leaders of these congregations met to found the Conference of Mennonite Congregations in Paraguay. Peter Wiens of Fernheim was elected president, Johann Regehr of Friesland was chosen vice-chairman, and Dietrich Klassen of Neuland became secretary. The conference adopted the "Mennonite confession of faith" as its foundation. The original annual meetings of the conference were later changed to biennial meetings.
The purpose of the conference was (1) to promote and deepen the Christian faith in life and work; ( 2) to promote among Mennonites biblical knowledge concerning doctrine and practice, including baptism, nonresistance and holiness; and (3) to coordinate work in mission, evangelism, education, the production of literature, peace teaching, and Christian service. (4) A particular concern of the new conference was to promote missionary activity among the Indians in the Chaco and in east Paraguay. This also involved cooperation with other Mennonite conferences. Inter-Mennonite cooperation was also evident in continuing support for the Centro Evangélico Menonita de Teologia, Asunción (CEMTA), a Bible institute and seminary.-- Peter Wiens, Vol. 5, pp. 910-911.
BibliographyHandbook of Information, General Conference Mennonite Church. Newton, KS (1988): 39-40.
Kraybill, Paul N., ed. Mennonite World Handbook. Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1978: 258-260.
Mennonite World Handbook Supplement. Strasbourg, France, and Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1984: 99.
Cite This Article
Friesen, Ferdinand. "Convención de los Pastores de las Iglesias Mennonitas del Paraguay." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 2008. Web. 30 Apr 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Convenci%C3%B3n_de_los_Pastores_de_las_Iglesias_Mennonitas_del_Paraguay&oldid=61670.
Friesen, Ferdinand. (2008). Convención de los Pastores de las Iglesias Mennonitas del Paraguay. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 30 April 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Convenci%C3%B3n_de_los_Pastores_de_las_Iglesias_Mennonitas_del_Paraguay&oldid=61670.
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