Church Sustainability, Congregations in Puerto Rico
From April 11 to 16, I visited the Lutheran churches in Puerto Rico (Caribbean Synod - ELCA) to present the experience of the Lutheran churches of Latin America and the Caribbean facing the challenges of their sustainability today (church sustainability). The mission and ministry of the church comes from the Holy Spirit, but (we) the members of the churches have the answerability of a responsible stewardship of the gifts given by God.
In the experience acquired by the Latin American churches, sustainability is a capacity that could be developed. Churches are called to reflect and work on participatory mission planning processes, on the development of the gifts that God has given to them (the persons) and in the exploration of new ways of being a church. These challenges are unique in each church; they are unrepeatable. Each church is called to make their path reflecting their challenges, developing their capacities to be sustainable, and implementing the changes they need.
The visit included a workshop with the pastors of the churches in Puerto Rico on April 13th, and with the lay leadership on April 14th. In both workshops, church leaders reflected on the challenges facing church sustainability.
These workshops were a new opportunity in which the Lutheran churches in Puerto Rico and the Lutheran churches in South America can exchange experiences; the koinonia among these churches have historical traces. Maybe, God is calling to renew and vitalize those links. We pray that it will be so.