Brethren in Dominican Republic make small but important steps toward reconciliation

By Jeff Boshart

Small, but important steps were taken this year in the life of Iglesia de los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren) in the Dominican Republic. In February of 2019, a division in the denomination began when pastors of Haitian descent walked out of the Asamblea or Annual Conference, citing discrimination among other reasons leading to a separation. An autonomous organization, La Communidad de Fe (Community of Faith), was organized and registered with the Dominican government as a nonprofit entity.

Attempts have been made by representatives from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service Ministries since 2019 to reunite the church through visits and video calls. This year, two small, symbolic, but important steps have been made.

When Iglesia de los Hermanos held its Asamblea in February (18-20), representatives from the leadership of La Communidad de Fe were in attendance. More recently, on April 9-10, leaders from the board of Iglesia de los Hermanos attended the Asamblea of La Commnidad de Fe. A joint pastors’ retreat is in the planning stages for late May, as the two groups pursue a process of reconciliation.

The leadership of Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (Church of the Brethren in Haiti) also has made numerous visits to the Dominican Republic over the last few years and this year sent representation to both conferences. Both the Haitian and the US delegations have consistently called for the two sides in the conflict to seek peace and reconciliation.

– Jeff Boshart is manager of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative (GFI).

Above, a view of the annual conference of La Communidad de Fe in the Dominican Republic. Below, presentation of new pastors: Francisco Santo Bueno, with microphone, president of the board of Communidad de Fe, and Ariel Rosario Abreu, president of the board of directors for Iglesia de Los Hermanos. Photos by Ariel Rosario, president of the board of Iglesia de Los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren) in the Dominican Republic.

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