About 40 representatives of Lutheran churches and educators in Latin America and the Caribbean gathered in Bogota, Colombia, to discuss current efforts, needs, and challenges in the formation of leaders for mission and ministry - writes Nilton Giese for ENInews/ALC.
The 'New Wine-New Wineskins' Consultation, which took place 7-10 August 2012, was sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
It grew out of the need that ELCA companion churches in Latin America and the Caribbean have been expressing for new models of leadership development to shape the kinds of lay and ordained leaders that can carry the mission and ministry of the church forward into the 21st century.
Noting that seminaries are becoming more ecumenical, the responsibility of fostering the denominational identity of students is falling to the churches, the Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency reported.
The dean of the Higher Evangelical Institute of Theological Studies (ISEDET) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pastor Dr José David Rodríguez, says the gaps between churches and seminaries must be overcome through dialogue and new resources. "In addition to the programs and projects according to the contextual needs, there should be co-responsibility, a complementing and a joint articulation, as the training centers also need to … have the human resources with which to deal with those challenges,” said Rodríguez.
Participants also observed there are different models of Lutheran churches in Latin America that are responding to the context and needs of each country. The challenge is to build bridges between those various models.
Pastoral fieldwork practice during training is basic, attendees agreed, especially work that deepens of knowledge in Lutheran theology and practice, contemporizing that theology in the reality of each community.
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]