Brethren from Dominican Republic and Spain start house churches in Europe

Church of the Brethren Newsline
January 26, 2018

by Jeff Boshart

A selfie from London taken during a trip by Church of the Brethren staff member Jeff Boshart (at right) and Fausto Carrasco, who hails originally from the Dominican Republic. They were visiting a new Brethren house church in London founded by Karen Mariguete (at left). Photo by Karen Mariguete.

In the 1990s, a wave of Dominicans began leaving their home country to look for a better life in Spain. Members of Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic) were among them. In time they established the Church of the Brethren in Spain and continue to plant new fellowships across the country.

As the economy has sputtered in Spain, with high unemployment since the world economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, some members are on the move again. Several church members moved from Spain to London, England, about five or six years ago and immediately started a house church. This preaching point was recognized in 2016 by the Asamblea or Annual Conference of Iglesia Evangelica de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in Spain).

Last fall, on our way to attend the 2017 Asamblea in Spain, I stopped for a brief two-day visit in London. Along with me on this trip was Fausto Carrasco, pastor of Nuevo Comienzo in St. Cloud, Fla., a fellowship of the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Southeast District. He was serving as a volunteer for the Global Food Initiative.

We visited with Karen Meriguete, founder of the church plant in London called Roca Viva Church of the Brethren, along with several other members. She recently turned over the leadership of the new fellowship to her brother, Edward De La Torres, and has begun a second fellowship in a different neighborhood of London.

Meriguete and most of the other house church members are of Dominican heritage but are Spanish citizens, which allows them to move freely across the European Union for work. Most of the members work in restaurants or as janitors and housekeepers for office buildings in the heart of London. Often, several families share small, very expensive basement apartments that rent for over $1,000 per month.

While in London, we learned of house churches starting in Holland and Germany as well–all springing from the Brethren in Spain. The vision of the leaders of the Spanish church is to reach Europe for Christ. It looks like they are well on their way.

— Jeff Boshart manages the Global Food Initiative and the Emerging Global Mission Fund, and is on the staff of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren.

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