The Round Table for Mission Development in Mexico consists of the Christian Congregational Churches of Mexico, the Fraternity of Evangelical Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico (CICE), and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico. Since 2006, the Round Table has been a unique space for the three churches to do God´s mission and live out God’s reconciliation in a united way within the volatile and conflictive context of Mexican churches and overall society. Through their meetings and shared efforts in areas of theological curriculum and summer encounters, mutual recognition of ministerial orders, and their ongoing search for transparency and effectiveness in their diaconal ministries, the Round Table for Mission Development has contributed to the reconciliation of divided Mexican churches and Christians.
Projects that the Round Table for Mission Development in Mexico have developed are by women of the three member churches of the Round Table. These projects are micro-credit efforts through which women take out loans at a low interest rate for family income-generation projects. Then, they pay back the loans from the proceeds of their project in order to benefit additional women with loans.
Participants on the Disciple Woman to Woman Worldwide (WWW) mission trip in 2013 from the U.S. and Canada were quite inspired by their visits with Mexican women of the Round Table for Mission Development. At the concluding meeting between both groups, they made an affirmation statement that in part states:
Aware of our identity as women created in the image and likeness of God, trained to undertake our journey toward a full life in relationship with our environment and ourselves, we reaffirm our desire to strengthen this identity in a community process of information, training, education and renewal.
The WWW women learned about some of the micro-credit projects the women in Mexico have undertaken:
In Aguascalientes, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) presented their projects which included a couple who has purchased 32 goats with a loan provided by the project. From these goats they will sell the goat’s milk and meat as they reproduce. They currently have 25 females of which four are impregnated and seven males. These goats have approximately 128 acres of land on which to graze.
Another micro-credit project is of pig-raising. Pastor Claudia and her husband have adult and baby pigs. They will keep some to reproduce and others will be sold for meat. They hope to one day have at least 50 pigs so they can provide a more comfortable life for their family from this income-generation effort.
Karen and her husband shared information about their sheep project. They purchased 15 sheep that were expecting and 20 young males. They are fattening the sheep and selling the lambs for meat. Karen and her family live on a beautiful human-made lake. She grazes the sheep on the pasture around the lake.
The WWW women also visited a restaurant managed by Flory which specializes in healthy foods (salads, smoothies, etc.). They tried some of her food and enjoyed it very much. She received $2,000 to start her business and has a year to pay it back.
In San Luis Potosí, the Fraternity of Evangelical Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico presented their project called La Joya Divina (The Divine Jewel). This micro-credit project involves the processing and sale of organic-artisan coffee processed by indigenous women from the Huasteca Region.
The women from the Christian Congregational Churches of Mexico have several micro-credit projects. They include a woman who sells items at a bazaar, two women who cook and sell food from their home, and another woman who makes tamales using the church’s kitchen and sells them.
The Mexico Woman to Woman Worldwide Round Table consists of the Christian Congregational Churches of Mexico, the Fraternity of Evangelical Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico (CICE), and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Mexico. Since the mid-2000s, their meetings, shared efforts, and projects have contributed to the reconciliation of divided Mexican churches and Christians. The large majority of these projects are microcredit efforts. Once they have begun to receive returns on their business investments, they pay back the loans from the proceeds of their project in order to benefit additional women with loans. Moving forward, every three years the Woman to Woman Worldwide Round Table will check in on new microenterprises developed and evaluate strategic directions of the project. This year, the Woman to Woman Worldwide Round Table entered a new stage called, I am Woman and I am Present.
As the round table and new stage develops over the next years, one of the main goals is to host a series of conferences in the region. These conferences will foster business development, develop strategies, and to cultivate important skills that create successful microcredit enterprises. The Woman to Woman Worldwide Round Table hopes these conferences will invite and inspire new women to develop and to create new ideas and projects. In addition, further expansion and development will foster connections with sisters from different regions and countries, through sharing strategies and tactics, and planning new projects. These connections and relationships will enrich and empower women through solidarity with one another.
Angel Rivera-Agosto, the Global Ministries Latin America and Caribbean Area Executive, visited the project this fall. After speaking with participants and seeing the project, Angel commented, “As women have been working in their respective economic initiatives, they have joined together to help each other in a cooperative way for everyone’s best wellbeing. For example, some women organized and opened a cafeteria, and they are selling items from different enterprises of women in the community, such as coffee and Mexican treats. This is a direct result of the way the round table has been organized, through dialogue and collaboration between women.”
Looking towards the future, Mexico Woman to Woman Worldwide Round Table hopes to increase and develop its capacity for more projects and conferences, in order to enrich, empower, and sow solidarity between women and their communities around the world.