An emerging Church of the Brethren denomination is in process of formation in Mexico, reports Global Food Initiative manager and Global Mission staff Jeff Boshart following a trip to Tijuana in mid-April. Documents to make the group an official church in the country are being submitted to Mexican authorities, beginning a process that is expected to take several months.
The next step in the process for the emerging church will be official recognition by the Global Church of the Brethren Communion. The communion includes the officially recognized and registered Church of the Brethren denominations around the world, in the 11 nations of Brazil, the Dominican Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Rwanda, Spain, Uganda, the United States, and Venezuela,
Leading the emerging Mexican church is pastor Salvador Galaz Soto, who met with Boshart and others in April. The church has grown from work carried out over many years by Gilbert Romero and the Bittersweet Ministries, based in Los Angeles and the Pacific Southwest District of the Church of the Brethren. Participating in the visit to Tijuana last month were Jeff Boshart, Gilbert Romero, Carlos Padilla, and Joe Vecchio, among others.
Romero and Soto have been working at formation of a denomination in Mexico since at least 2019, when former mission executive Jay Wittmeyer gave a green light and some funding for work on legal recognition to move forward.
The Mount Horeb congregation, led by Soto and his wife, Maximina Roberta Dominquez Rodriguez, is set to become the founding or “mother” church in Mexico, once the denomination is successfully registered with the government. Other congregations in and around Tijuana also are considering affiliation with the Church of the Brethren.
“Gilbert says he’s had a dream of this becoming a reality for well over a decade,” said Boshart. “I first heard about it when Gilbert came to me at Annual Conference in 2013 when the Church of the Brethren in Spain was recognized.”
Since then, various Church of the Brethren leaders have traveled from the United States to Tijuana to provide theological training on Brethren beliefs and practices.
Please pray… For the emerging Church of the Brethren in Mexico to be successfully registered with the Mexican government. Please pray for the church’s leaders and members and for Bittersweet Ministries and all who benefit from their assistance.
Bittersweet Ministries’ current work in Tijuana includes daycare and community feeding centers for children and elders, and a facility to house and provide basic needs for migrants awaiting the chance to cross into the United States.
The migrants are sent to the facility by the Mexican government, Boshart reported. The services offered to migrants include a health worker sent by the Mexican government to provide basic medical care and consultations. Bittersweet Ministries hopes to expand those healthcare services.
The migrants “may stay days or up to six months,” Boshart said. “When I last visited in 2017, it was full of Haitian migrants. Now the migrants are from Venezuela, Honduras, and Nicaragua–each with their own difficult story of how they came to Mexico.”
Find out more about the Global Mission of the Church of the Brethren at www.brethren.org/global.
Find out more about the Global Food Initiative at www.brethren.org/gfi.
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- Standing Committee of Annual Conference to hold online meetings open to the public