This Fall the leaders of 16 of 19 of Latin America’s Evangelical Alliances gathered in Panama for several days of prayer and consultation about the needs of the region.
For the first time ever, they were then joined by the leaders of two networks of Hispanic Churches in the USA: the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (who helped facilitate the event, and were represented in Panama by Gabriel Salguero and a number of NaLEC board members) and Esperanza (with Luis Cortes in attendance). Representatives from the WEA included Gordon Showell-Rogers, Associate Secretary General, and Rob Brynjolfson, Director of the Leadership Institute.
This unique connection across the Americas is expected to bear a lot of fruit for the Kingdom of God in coming decades. As a group they unanimously and enthusiastically agreed the need to begin a process of building a full Latin America Evangelical Alliance to address the region’s many needs together. The sentiment and vision of this Round Table is expressed in the following Declaration as an outcome of the Panamá consultation.
Panama City Declaration
The Evangelical Alliance of Latin America, in the presence of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), represented by presidents or delegates, meeting in Panama City, at the Assembly of the Iberoamerican Forum for Evangelical Dialogue (FIDE) from 17 to 20 October 2012:
Bearing in mind:
1. Regional violence and other great challenges that face society and the Church, all of which demand a guiding presence and transforming actions;
2. The supplanting of Gospel values by values opposed to those of the Kingdom of God, which have compromised the institution of the family and the Church of Christ;
3. The great challenges posed by the relationship between church, state and society, and the active participation of God's people in social, political and economic topics;
4. The need to reinforce and raise awareness of evangelical Christian identity, and to critically review what has been the impact and relevance of our evangelical Church in the region;
5. The growth, but also the capacity we have to impact as the Church of Christ, and we are convinced that we want to be, a proactive church and not a reactive one before the regional and national context;
6. The need to find and sow evidences of unity that allow us to continue to dialogue, build mutual understanding, walk in fellowship, and stand firmly in solidarity;
7. The pain experienced by society in the region, as her people suffer poverty, and a lack of educational opportunities, access to health, daily bread and decent employment opportunities;
8. The need for strategic and operational capacity to enable us to fulfill our reason-for-being, with the vision that God has given us for the region, and with the expressed desires of the members of the Evangelical Alliances of each country;
We declare that:
1. We commit to continue working towards a unity that empowers us to increase the relevance and impact of the evangelical Church in the region;
2. We agree to meet for our next Assembly in November 2013, God willing, in Asuncion, Paraguay to approve a new shared strategic direction, and future organizational structure;
3. We will responsibly prepare a regional agenda of work that guides and inspires us to be closer and closer to one another, and also allows us to be more and more relevant to the needs of the evangelical Church in our respective countries;
4. We will communicate and share our vision, our activities and our thoughts for the Glory of God;
5. We want to be prepared to clarify and communicate our proposals and expectations for the General Assembly of the World Evangelical Alliance to be held in October 2014 in Seoul, Korea;
6. We reaffirm our common spirit of unity, dialogue, solidarity and effective evangelical activity in the region; and we intend to grow our operating capacity in order to more deeply reinforce these values for the development of the Church;
7. In addition, we express our full support for the hard work that is offered by National Evangelical Alliances with love and dedication for its members and their countries in the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and thereby demand from the states and society, respect, integrity, and both religious liberty and equality, that by right belongs to these representative bodies;
8. We will not allow our Alliances, Councils and Fellowships or their members to be threatened or attacked in any way: any such threat or attack is an offense to the Gospel and to all Alliances and members of the evangelical church of the region.
Signed in Panama City, Friday, October 19, 2012, by the representatives of the Evangelical Alliances of the following countries:
Argentina, Brasil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay, Venezuela