The Iglesia Menonita de Guatemala (Guatemala Mennonite Church) is the result of mission work cosponsored by the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities (Mennonite Church) and the Franklin-Washington Mennonite Conference (later continued by the Franklin Mennonite Conference) of Chambersburg, PA. In 1968 Richard and Lois Landis began church planting work in Guatemala City. By 1971 the first congregation was formed in a low-income colony, La Brigada, where a few years later the first meeting house was built. This congregation on the western side of the city had 10 different pastors, 3 of them missionaries, during its first 12 years. A similar pattern followed for the four other congregations that were formed in these same years. Nearly all of the first decade's pastors came into the Mennonite church, many temporarily, from other denominations with little or no understanding of Mennonite history and theology. Congregations experienced sporadic growth and instability. A resident Bible institute functioned from 1980 to 1984 to offer training for pastors and prospective leaders. In 1984 a large, centrally located property was purchased to provide a meetinghouse for Casa Horeb, the new 200-member middle-class congregation and a center of operations for the conference that had been organized in 1975. This Mennonite Center included the conference administrative offices, DESEC (Department of Christian Education), CPSS (Permanent Social Service Committee), and the central clinic and pharmacy. Mennonite Central Committee's appropriate technology program also has a subcenter with an experimental herb garden on the back part of the lot. The health program under CPSS operates five health and nutrition clinics in the five low-income congregations. After 1986 DESEC offered Saturday Bible institute studies, and, in 1987, it sponsored a primary school using the Mennonite chapel in one of the poorest suburbs until the government school was built there. The two congregations formed by Mennonite- and Anabaptist-oriented leaders in the central part of the city in the early 1980s included people with secondary school and university training. Many of these were participating in the SEMILLA (Seminario Ministerial de Liderazgo Anabautista, see Consulta Anabautista Menonita Centroamericana) program of theological education by extension and carried various conference leadership responsibilities capably. In 1987 the total membership of 900 in eight congregations was led by four ordained and four licensed ministers. In 2003 there were nine congregations with 1200 members.
Kraybill, Paul N., ed. Mennonite World Handbook. Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1978: 219.
Mennonite World Handbook Supplement. Strasbourg, France, and Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1984: 74.
Mennonite World Conference. "MWC - 2003 Caribbean, Central & South America Mennonite & Brethren in Christ Churches." Accessed 21 February 2006. <http://www.mwc-cmm.org/Directory/carcsam.html>.
Cite This Article
Yoder, Amzie. "Iglesia Evangélica Menonita de Guatemala." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 16 Apr 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Iglesia_Evang%C3%A9lica_Menonita_de_Guatemala&oldid=88167.
Yoder, Amzie. (1987). Iglesia Evangélica Menonita de Guatemala. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 April 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Iglesia_Evang%C3%A9lica_Menonita_de_Guatemala&oldid=88167.
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