Carmelo Alvarez, Global Service Co-worker
How would you describe the mission of our partners in Venezuela and Latin America and the Caribbean?
The Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela, is an ecumenical, Pentecostal denomination, with a trajectory of more than 50 years of active participation in ecumenical initiatives both in Venezuela and in LAC. Among the organizations founded and sponsored by the UEPV we can mention the Latin American Commission on Christian Education (CELADEC), the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) and the Latin American Evangelical Pentecostal Commission (CEPLA). At the national level UEPV is the founder with other denominations of the Committee for Justice of Venezuela (CVJ).
How do you fit into their mission?
My relationship with Pentecostal churches in LAC includes an active participation in retreat, conventions and teaching courses in theological seminaries and institutes. For 39 years I have had the privilege of sharing and learning from this dynamic and creative interactions. I really thank God for this blessing!
What led you to engage in this calling?
I have been a missionary for 39 years. My father, a pastor and seminary professor for 60 years was my mentor and teacher and the main source of inspiration in my calling to ministry.
Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?
Yes, Romans 8.
What are some of the challenges facing the people of Venezuela?
Venezuela is passing through a revolutionary process with many changes at all levels of life. The UEPV has been a very prophetic and ecumenical Pentecostal denomination. It has deep roots in what they call “Bolivarian thinking” with a theology of liberation, influenced by the dominant voices of that theological movement in Latin America and the Caribbean. Many of these theologians are close partners with the UEPV.
What is a lesson you have learned from our partner that you feel should be shared with churches in the U.S.?
A profound spirituality of hope in the midst of suffering, poverty and search for justice, putting together justification by faith and holiness with social justice with peace is the main issue here!
Which books have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology?
Carlos Sintado and Manuel Quintero Pérez, Federico Pagura. Alborada de Esperanza. Vida y testimonio de un profeta latinoamericano. Quito: CLAI, 2012.
Alberto Barrera y Cristina Marcano, Hugo Chávez. Sin uniforme. México: DEBATE, 2007.
Clemencia Tejero Sarmiento. Ed. El pentecostalismo en Colombia. Bogotá: CES-Universidad Nacional, 2010.
Henry H. Knight III. Ed. From Aldersgate to Azusa Street. Wesleyan and Pentecostal Visions of the New Creation. Eugene, Oregon: PICKWICK Publications, 2010.
James K. A. Smith and Amos Young. Eds. Science and the Spirit. A Pentecostal Engagement with the Sciences.Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2010.
Which films that have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology?
Romero. Raúl Juliá.
Historia Oficial. Argentinian Film.