Rev. Traci Blackmon, Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ, shared a recent reflection titled “Follow me” where she invited the people to be “allies” on their own effort to follow Jesus. She said that “the organizing skills of Jesus remind us that true movements of liberation are best led by those who are being oppressed.” And the invitation Reverend Blackmon made on her reflection, regarding the role of those “allies” is “to follow the leadership of those who are at the center of the pain,” to support the narrative of the ones who own the story, avoiding the temptation “to lead or to fix.” She said that “the ally holds the story and amplifies the voice of the storyteller.”
We, as Global Ministries, share the story of a church that works in the midst of the present Venezuelan situation. Maybe different from information we can get in the media on a daily basis, the Evangelical Pentecostal Union of Venezuela, a Global Ministries longstanding partner in the country, affirmed the will of the Venezuelan people, as expressed recently on the re-election of President Nicolás Maduro Moros for a new presidential term (2019-2025). President Maduro was re-elected with a percentage greater than 67 of the casting votes on May 20, 2018, in an election process where 46 percent of the people with the right to vote participated. That is more than the average participation of most countries with similar electoral processes including the U.S. UEPV categorically rejects the misinformation of a “warlike attitude” of those who are betting on the coup d’état in Venezuela as a way out of the crisis, and that have been capable of affecting key services to the population. On the same day as the inauguration of the president-elect, a huge fire was reported on the warehouses of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Security (IVSS), destroying medicines destined for the Venezuelan people.
UEPV expressed its commitment to the process of change and structural transformation within Venezuela, understanding the urgent need for these profound changes. The church convened its churches, pastors, and bishops "raising, once again, that prophetic voice that facilitates dialogue and the creative participation of our churches in the development of these changes and the protection of Human Rights that lead to the construction of a more just, fraternal, more inclusive society, more human and closer to the values of the Kingdom of God,” as UEPV´s General Bishop, Rev. Gamaliel Lugo, expressed on a recent document titled “THE UEPV BEFORE THE CRISIS AND THE CURRENT SITUATION THAT LIVES IN VENEZUELA."
The demand for change, said Bishop Lugo, “has affected everything in Venezuela, including the churches. Hence, the importance of considering a project of socio-theological formation that accompanies the people and cooperates in the liberating biblical-theological formation. A project that contributes to the process of transformation that takes into account the founding and original roots of (Venezuela), that values its idiosyncrasy, originality, creative capacity and autochthony, and distinctive features of the national identity. A contextual formation that assesses the situation and the national reality is deeply needed.”
As Global Ministries, we support the narrative of UEPV as one who owns a story of commitment and presence among the poor and we accompany our partner in their commitment to walk alongside the marginalized in Venezuela. We open the doors to any dialogue that respects the self-determination of the people of Venezuela and reject any attempt to enforce a military intervention or any other action that could interfere with the democratic will of our brothers and sisters there. As allies, it is our role to accompany UEPV on their clear democratic and Christian commitment, promoting the understanding of all parts this country, as well as in the international community.