Update from The Evangelical Congregational Church of Argentina (IECA)
The Evangelical Congregational Church of Argentina (IECA) has a membership of approximately 6,000 individuals in 120 congregations throughout the Argentine provinces of Entre Rios, Misiones, Chaco, Formosa, Cordoba, Buenos Aires, and Santa Fe. The Evangelical Congregational Church is rich in history and is growing rapidly.
The Evangelical Congregational Church of Argentina’s (IECA) Hands of Solidarity program is a direct-service operation that brings food, clothing, and financial assistance to vulnerable families in some of the most difficult to reach areas of the Santa Fe, Chaco, and Santiago del Estero provinces of Argentina. Working in tandem with this program, Hearts that Open offers workshops focused on teaching knitting, sewing, and embroidery skills. In addition to receiving training in handicrafts, attendees use their sewing skills to ‘upcycle’ gently used clothing, which can then be given to families. Attendees’ skills are also put to use in crafting handmade toys that are gifted lovingly to children in the communities where IECA works.
With the Covid-19 pandemic in full swing, IECA pivoted the focus of their Hands of Solidarity program to provide bulk, non-perishable food items to families so that vulnerable families would still have enough to eat, even as the world came to a standstill. IECA was able to shift program operations and distribute over 500 bags of non-perishable food items to families throughout Santa Fe, Chaco, and Santiago del Estero. On April 2, 2020, a joyful moment was celebrated in the midst of the pandemic when the two programs collaborated to distribute food, clothing, chalkboards, and toys to children and families throughout the three provinces.
In addition to operating these two programs, the IECA has been constructing the forthcoming House of Peace – a transitional housing shelter for female victims of violence and their young children. The House of Peace will not only provide physical safety and respite for women and their children but will create space for counseling and support groups and programs focused on nurturing healthy relationships and building self-esteem. Additionally, the House of Peace will provide training for the church and community about the issue of violence against women, and how to work together toward a world free from gender-based violence. Volunteers and staff have been hard at work preparing the space, and IECA is looking forward to opening the House of Hope as soon as possible.
Read more about the Evangelical Congregational Church of Argentina (IECA) here.