A report from ASIGLEH, the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela, prepared by Rafael González
The city of Cúcuta in the sister Republic of Colombia was the place chosen and prepared by God for the first Annual Conference of the Association “Church of the Brethren Venezuela” (ASIGLEH) from Feb. 21 to Feb. 28, 2022, and with the theme “Expansión” (a call to consolidate identity).
This beautiful and generous land opened its arms to receive a large Venezuelan delegation (pastors and delegates) and pastors from the USA: Joel Peña (CAT Venezuela), Jeff Boshart (director of the Global Food Initiative), and Eric Miller (co-executive director of Global Mission for the Church of the Brethren).
It is of vital importance to point out that this celebration is done after two years of many difficulties due to the Venezuela situation, of the pandemic and other adversities that have occurred in these six years of struggles to establish the Church of the Brethren in this South American country.
Brothers Eric and Jeff were able to see first-hand the effort and encouragement of pastors and delegates to attend this conference, and continue to consolidate the Brethren church in Venezuela, as well as the existing spirit of fraternity during the whole conference, especially in the celebration of the Agape Feast: supper, communion and washing of feet, practices that have been rooted in the spiritual life of the congregations, as a seal of identity and sense of belonging to the Church of the Brethren.
Also, Brother Jeff exhibited the historical work of social and spiritual service that has been done by the Global Food Initiative, emphasizing that the practice of love through service is the most important element in the preaching of the gospel of Jesus, and Brother Miller also spoke about the origins and expansion of the Church of the Brethren in the world.
It should be noted that among the attendance were pastors and delegates from seven Venezuelan indigenous ethnic groups (Piapoco, Jibi, Yekuana, Wayuu, Sanema, Yavinapi, and Carinna) who with great enthusiasm left their habitat (natural environments) which are far from the cities, in order to attend this conference. They participated with praises in their vernacular (original) languages and in Spanish; and like all the assistants, they stated their commitment to continue doing God’s work in Venezuela simply, together and peacefully, assuming the identity of the Church of the Brethren.
This conference resulted in the appointment of a new executive board, which was composed as follows: Roger Moreno (chairman), Oswaldo Lezama (vice chairman), Rafael González (secretary), Alexander Mota (treasurer), and Jorge Martínez (vocal member). Thirty-three churches reaffirmed their commitment to ASIGLEH, among them 13 churches of the Venezuelan ethnic indigenous groups, and 7 new affiliated churches showing an average of 1,548 congregant members.
Finally, it is a reason for content to reaffirm that, throughout the conference, very special moments were experienced, where the Holy Spirit of God ministered to the hearts of those present, through his word, praise, and discernment, filling with blessing his church, and leaving in all attendees the hope of a promising future, of greater consolidation and expansion for the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela.
— Pastor Rafael González is secretary for ASIGLEH, the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela.
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