Lectionary Selection: Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28
Prayers for Venezuela:
Oh, God, as we confess that you are the foundation of our faith and the foundation of the church, give us the strength and the power to be active agents of your reign in our world.
In times of conflict, confrontation, and despair in Venezuela, grant that the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela could be an agent of reconciliation and peace. Give to the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela the courage to be a prophetic voice in the midst of silence and complacency.
There are evil forces that become obstacles in the way to do justice and promote peace.
Help the leadership of the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela to discern ways in which a pastoral accompaniment could provide vision and hope for the future, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to open spaces for dialogue to reconstruct a society in which justice and equality prevail.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace. Amen.Read more
A reflection from a Venezuelan Christian leader in the midst of the Constitutional process in the country
The Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela (UEPV, acronym in Spanish) has the challenge of being a witness as a church in the midst of the political turmoil that has affected Venezuela. While the Venezuelan government called for a National Constituent Assembly (ANC, acronym in Spanish) to address problems like poverty, public services, ecology, or culture, the right-wing opposition alleges that the initiative has the purpose of perpetuating President Nicolás Maduro term without being accountable on general elections.Read more
The Pentecostal Evangelical Union of Venezuela has made a new call for solidarity as the United States government insists on declaring that country a “threat for our national security.” U.S. President Barack Obama renewed on May 3rd, 2016 an executive order issued in March 2015, that declared Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” The renewal of the decree is valid for one year and was revealed in a letter from Obama to congressional leaders. In the letter, the U.S. president claims that alleged conditions that first prompted the order had “not improved.” The executive order was first issued by Obama in March 2015 based on alleged violations of human rights and widespread corruption and it provoked a storm of controversy inside Venezuela and a backlash throughout Latin America. After the first time, and after an international campaign pressing the U.S. to cancel the order, President Obama clarified that Venezuela wasn't a threat.Read more
by Mark Weisbrot
Venezuela’s opposition has won a large majority of the country’s congress, or National Assembly for the first time in 16 years. Many observers in Washington see this as a tipping point not only for Venezuela but for the region, where about half of the people are currently living under left governments.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 6:51-58
Prayers for Venezuela:
Oh, God, you are the source of life and the reason for our hopes and dreams. We pray today for the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela, our partners in mission. They are facing the deep economic and political crisis that confronts Venezuela at all levels of society. Give then the strength and capacity to be a glimmer of justice and peace, needed to move ahead. As they organize to celebrate their annual Assembly, August 27-30, 2015 give them the vision and courage to continue proclaiming the good news of your gospel and values of your reign. In Jesus Christ, our redeemer and savior, we pray. Amen.
Now that the process of normalizing United States and Cuban diplomatic, political and economic relationships is under way, it is appropriate to reflect on some of the issues that lie ahead, examining the deep spirituality so pervasive in Cuban culture and life. Touching the Cuban life necessitates traveling deep into the spiritual relationship of Cuban faith and culture and the ongoing struggle to define spiritual and cultural identity. This was within a twofold mixture of Spanish/indigenous cultures (mestizaje) and the creole/African cultures (mulatizaje). Out of this mixture came a blend of humanity we call “Cuban”.Read more
Lectionary Selection: John 11:1–45
Prayers for Venezuela:
O God, we pray for peace in Venezuela, by the liberating power of the Gospel. We believe in the power to struggle, affirm, and achieve a goal, the defense of life in the midst of so many contradictions in our human existence. In order to experience and see the glory of God requires that we seize the moment, this decisive unique opportunity of God’s presence. We must watch for the manifestation of God’s calls for concrete faith and trust in the liberating power of the Gospel from all oppressions.
When underlining the liberating power of the Gospel over oppression, we need to be reminded of our own call to work incessantly for peace and justice in concrete expressions of love. The clear message is the affirmation of the triumph of life over death, even when we are surrounded by so much suffering and pain. In Jesus Christ the Prince of peace we pray. Amen.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Venezuela:
The Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela (UEPV) made an option for the poor and for peace with justice from its foundation as a national autochthonous or indigenous Pentecostal denomination in 1957. Global Ministries has and continues to support the development of programs in areas such as education, agricultural projects, health programs, women’s struggles for justice and equality, solidarity with marginalized indigenous and afro-Venezuelan groups and the promotion of an intense peacemaking commitment well known in the public arena in Venezuela.
The Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela opted for an ecumenical commitment that included the foundation of a Committee for Justice in the 1970s, joining with progressive Catholics, Presbyterians, Independent and Charismatic churches in the denunciation of human rights violations and the promotion of justice.
During the recent conflict that sent a violent wave of confrontation with more than 39 deaths and many wounded citizens in the big cities of Venezuela, the Evangelical Pentecostal Union provided a message of reconciliation and peace, sharing a dimension of hope in local communities, trying to provide both a prophetic and a pastoral perspective of accompaniment and solidarity. As Presiding-Bishop Gamaliel Lugo stated recently, “we tried to follow Jesus in times of desperation, looking for the kairos moment of the good news of the Gospel for Venezuela.”
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Carmelo Alvarez)
Mission Partners in Venezuela:
More information on Venezuela:
Global Ministries Missionary in Venezuela:
Carmelo Alvarez serves the Latin American Evangelical Pentecostal Commission (CEPLA) and the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela (UEPV) based in Chicago, Illinois. He works as program consultant and visiting professor for the CEPLA and the UEPV.