A Mennonite conference in Mexico has initiated a relationship with Mountain States Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA.
Jaime Lázaro, director of Mountain States’ SEED (Seek, Explore, Encourage and work to Develop vital churches), reports in the Mountain States newsletter Zing! that the connection began when conference minister Herm Weaver received an email in Spanish. He considered deleting it but instead forwarded it to Lázaro.
The email was from the Conference of Evangelical Anabaptist Mennonite Churches of Mexico, or CIEAMM. It said the conference is “going through interesting and important changes to carry out the ministry God has given us.”
According to Mennonite World Conference, CIEAMM is a group of 12 congregations that counts 850 members. Made up primarily of churches on the edges of Mexico City, the conference dates back to a church plant by Franconia Mennonite Conference mission workers in 1958.
CIEAMM is opening itself to “options for community relations with other conferences or conventions of the United States, and to interlace ties of friendship and mutual aid.”
Lázaro contacted CIEAMM moderator Fernando Pérez and asked if the conference was aware that Mountain States Conference had licensed a female pastor who is in a committed relationship with another woman.
He says Pérez responded: “We know, but that’s not a problem for us. Here, we have an open dialogue about this issue.”
Lázaro and Weaver traveled to Mexico City Nov. 17 to visit several pastors and congregations.
“We found an active and alive conference,” Lázaro said. “A group of . . . churches that over a few years worked hard to rescue their Anabaptist identity.”
The two returned to the U.S. with a firm intention to formalize a relationship with CIEAMM. CIEAMM leaders will visit Mountain States churches in 2015. Mountain States is willing to coordinate visits to Mexico City for U.S. congregations.