Institute for Intercultural Study and Research (INESIN) – Bishop Ruiz Memorial Project

Mexico

The Institute for Intercultural Study and Research (INESIN) is an organization which was formed by Mexican Protestant and Catholic Christians. It is the result of the concern of men and women committed to the people of Chiapas, men like Bishop Samuel Ruiz, who began with a concern and work with Guatemalan refugees in southern Mexico during the 1980s.

INESIN was originally the Ecumenical School for Pastoral Training which was developed in response to the indigenous uprising of the Mexican Zapatistas and the political and religious confrontation in the highlands of the Chiapas in the 1990s. During restructuring in 2002, the Ecumenical School for Pastoral Training was transformed into INESIN. Today, the Institute is divided into the following four departments:  the Indigenous Theology Department, Ecumenical Studies Department, Gender Studies Department, and the Social Development Department. Central to INESIN’s work is the knowledge that there cannot be peace without justice and a respect of diversity.

INESIN has been developing their property to provide an ecumenical center for gatherings and has made good progress.  Following the death of Bishop Samuel Ruiz in January 2011, the Intercultural Institute in San Cristobal de Las Casas began work on a memorial project. The director of INESIN shared their plan to build an assembly hall as part of their center. The hall will provide space for ecumenical assemblies and will provide common ground for groups to meet. This assembly hall will be dedicated to the memory of Bishop Samuel Ruiz, a fitting tribute to the man who in many ways was the spiritual founder of INESIN. 

Update: October 2014

The late Bishop Samuel Ruiz was a revered leader who served the region of Chiapas for nearly four decades and helped conduct peace talks during the Zapatista uprising in the mid-1990s. A new INESIN assembly hall is being named after Bishop Ruiz as one way to show solidarity, tolerance, and respect to all Christianity.

This space will give INESIN the opportunity to host more participants in their many workshops and events throughout the year, more than doubling its capacity for guests. This new hall will also give INESIN more financial stability as it can generate revenue by being rented out to individuals, friends, partners, and businesses in the area for events, workshops, and other uses.

The project sat with its bare rebar and concrete platform for over two years before starting the next phase of construction in spring and summer 2014. On May 26, 2014, construction started on the walls of the building. With a visiting delegation from the Missouri Mid-South Conference approaching on June 4-11th, 2014, the construction company prepared the area and started constructing the walls so that the visitors could assist in the build when they arrived. Within one month’s time, the wall portion of the building was complete.

Next, INESIN will complete the next phase of the project–the roof. Gifts totaling $10,000 are needed for this purpose. Once the roof is up, INESIN will be able to sustain the rest of the fundraising needed to complete and furnish the hall.

INESIN thanks those who are helping them achieve their dreams for the future of INESIN’s work. Global Ministries welcomes gifts for the Bishop Samuel Ruiz Hall and for the work of INESIN in general.

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