By Nancy Reed
BLUE JAY, CA (November 1, 2016) – Attendees at last month’s triennial La Confraternidad de Iglesias del Pacto Evangelico (CIPE) celebrated the growing number of church plants by Covenant congregations in Latin America.
The conference was held October 3-7 at the Alpine Camp and Conference Center and drew 112 people representing all of six CIPE countries—Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, as well as Hispanics from the United States. The theme for this year was “Casting your nets—into deeper waters.”
John Wagenveld, president of the Multiplication Network, and John Wenrich, executive minister of the ECC Start and Strengthen Churches mission priority, exhorted the gathering to continue planting and revitalizing congregations.
At the 2013 CIPE gathering, attendees committed to planting 100 churches by 2018. So far, 86 new congregations have been started, including 60 in Ecuador.
The work was evidence of CIPE’s commitment to live out the slogan “Juntos somos mas y lo hacemos major,” or “We are more together, and together we can do better.”
Workshops at the conference focused on topics that included human sexuality, pastoral excellence, Christian education, mental health, mentoring, Christian formation, evangelization, and contextualization.
CIPE has made developing women leaders one of its top priorities. “Women in the Kingdom of God,” a workshop taught at CHET, the Hispanic Center for Theological Studies in Compton, California, was offered. The contributions of the women ministers named by Paul in Romans 16 also were highlighted during a special presentation. The video “Called and Gifted” expressing the Covenant’s position on women in ministry was shown and followed by comments from ECC president Gary Walter.
Other speakers for the event included Danny Martinez, pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Spring Valley, California, and president of the Ministry of Hispanic Covenant Churches in the United States (MHIPE), Al Tizon, executive minister for the ECC Serve Globally mission priority, and Allan Serrano, director of Hispanic church ministry for the Midwest Conference.
The final night was the “Night of the Nations,” which included three hours of folkloric presentations by the different countries. Causa y Canta, a music group from Ecuador, helped lead worship.
Walter said afterward, “The spirit for connecting as partners was wonderful. There are so many gifted leaders throughout our CIPE connections. God was worshiped and vision was raised.”
The 2019 CIPE will be held in Chile.