Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

Global Ministries proposes ties with Colombia

The PNC Board of Directors is recommending that the Annual Meeting affirm a Covenant Agreement between Northern Lights Region Disciples of Christ, the PNC-UCC, and JUSTAPAZ and CEDECOL in Colombia.

Citing verses in Ephesians 3, the resolution talks of “speaking the truth in love,” being “knit together” so the body “is working properly” to promote the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”

Photo from the Justapaz video shared as part of the September 2020 Peace Pilgrimage.

Mary Olney-Loyd, co-chair of the joint UCC-DOC regional Global Ministries (GM) Committee, said the passage sets a framework for a partnership with Justapaz, an organization for justice and peace organized by Mennonites, and CEDEPOL, the Peace and Justice Commission of the Evangelical Council of Churches in Colombia Peace and Justice Commission.

The partnership is “something to which we are responding that has its origins in the creative movement of God,” states the resolution, which is about being called into a larger body of relationships to discover an engage with the Body of Christ in Colombia. A partnership connects people to mutually strengthen each church’s witness.

The Covenant Agreement calls for connecting in love, maintaining unity of the spirit in a bond of peace, for five years to:

• Pray for each other’s churches and ministries.

• Listen with open hearts to each other on the joys and challenges of ministry and life.

• Learn about each other’s countries, ministries and lives.

• Develop lasting friendships by e-mail correspondence, virtual presence and visits to each other’s countries and churches.

• Coordinate sharing resources, projects and people between the respective ministries.

• Celebrate the richness of affirming the fullness of life and the hope for enduring peace by sharing materials for worship for liturgies, music and resources of each other’s worship life.

The agreement recognizes that healthy relationships are based on awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses with U.S. churches at growing edges needing development and refinement.

It adds: “Often we find we are a people of affluence driven by a myth of scarcity. Our view of the world is often informed by self-interest, which lacks a global perspective,”

The covenant is entered with awareness that U.S. churches can learn about peace, justice and reconciliation from sisters and brothers in Justapaz and CEDECOL.

A hope is that the partnership “can help us learn how to promote peace, justice and reconciliation in the U.S.,” and “how different expressions of spirituality enrich our lives,”

“We celebrate the gift of openness, which God is nurturing in our life, readying us for this new relationship. While financial resources for support of special projects will likely be a part of lived relationship, it is our desire that these would be shared in a way which honors the mutual nature of our relationship,” the agreement says.

As the UCC Statement of Faith says, “God bestows upon us God’s Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.”

In 2017, the PNC-DOC GM Committee began working toward a new partnership with the national Global Ministries, expressing interest in Latin America because of farm laborers in Eastern Washington.

The UCC-DOC in the region already had a partnership with South Korea and previously with West Berlin, both of which are dormant.

Tom Morse of Global Ministries met with the committee, suggested the Colombia groups and committee agreed.

In summer 2018, committee members began participating in monthly zoom calls with JUSTAPAZ and CEDECOL with Angel Luis Rivera-Agosto, Latin America secretary for Global Ministries, JUSTAPAZ and CEDECOL leaders, persons from the East Coast and several committee members.

They were opportunities to learn about the situation in Colombia and the ministries.

In January and February 2019, a group of the committee prepared documents to send to Rivera-Agosto, in Indianapolis, describing strengths and challenges of the DOC Region and UCC Conference.

In September 2019, Michael Joseph, mission co-worker to Colombia, visited the Northwest, spoke in churches and met with clergy groups and the GM Committee telling of the two ministries.

The GM committee proposed a mission pilgrimage to Colombia in September 2020, but with the pandemic Angel Agosto-Rivera and Lorna Hernandez from Global Ministries suggested a virtual pilgrimage.

The DOC and UCC each recruited eight participants for a virtual pilgrimage Sept. 21 to 26. Hosts in Colombia traveled to the remote area of Choco in NW Colombia, where they took videos as they delivered food aid and COVID-19 supplies to six villages. The videos included worship and interviews, which they put on a website at

On Jan. 21, 2021, the GM Committee recommended to the DOC and UCC Boards of Directors to form a partnership.

“We are enthusiastic about moving toward an official partnership,” said Mary who co-chairs the committee with Rick Russell.  “It has taken nearly three years to come to this place, yet we are already living into something new and exciting!

“The Christian leaders in Colombia experience hardship and violence in their Christian walk as they deal with the aftermath of a 60-year civil war. We are challenged and heartened by their deep faith,” she said. “We look forward to learning from them and sharing ourselves with Christians in Colombia.”

For information, email or


Pacific NW Conference United Church of Christ News © April-May 2021


Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share