In 1990, three Wisconsinites attended the annual meeting of the Iglesia Evangélica y Reformada de Honduras and signed a covenant with our sister denomination. The focus was on mutual ministries with two-way leadership, and we were impressed with the many development activities of our new sister “Sínodo.”
Early partnership activities involved pastor and lay visits from both sides, a month’s visit from Jack and Marcia Fry to work on the Synod’s seminary library, assistance for the Synod’s medical clinics, a Lakeland faculty visit from Rich Christensen to teach at the seminary, and numerous gatherings for Colloquia at Lakeland College, Germany, and Honduras. Honduras hosted two “Triólogos” in 2007 and 2014. Jim Gorman, Jim Mohr, Ruth Hansen, and Marcia Fry attended the first one in Copán, with David Moyer visiting for meetings at the end. Pastors Gorman and Mohr attended the 2014 event on the island of Roatán, along with Marcia Fry and Karl Kuhn of Lakeland College. The most recent colloquy took place at Pilgrim Center in April 2016, and six Hondurans participated fully, along with pastors from Germany and Wisconsin, including our Conference Minister, Franz Rigert.
With the Honduran portion of funds from recent capital campaigns designated for home building, the Wisconsin committee, under the leadership of head builder, Dave Piper, began constructing two small cement block dwellings per year. In July 2014 a last work group traveled to Honduras to complete the construction of our 30th and 31st houses.
In terms of the current partnership, congregations might potentially wish to participate in any of the following ways:
— Our sister synod runs a technical school called CEVER in the northern town of Yoro. There is a great need for facilities improvement, for additional equipment, and for tuition aid for students at the school.
— Our Honduran brothers and sisters have indicated their desire to better equip and staff a small medical clinic, which they run in the rather poor, rural area of Subirana.
— Our partners also tell us that there might be a potential for “sister church” pairings between congregations in Honduras and Wisconsin.
— The seminary and the library of the Sínodo are always potential areas of involvement.
— Churches or the Associations might consider hosting pastors to come and preach-teach in Wisconsin churches.
These are only examples, and it would be best to coordinate any activities through the Partnership Committee, so that we could communicate closely with the Honduran leaders of our Sister Synod to make sure that their priorities were respected.
Security in Honduras is currently an issue, such that partnership trips have been problematic lately. But both the missionaries Westra, and the leaders of the E and R Church of Honduras, tell us that potential travel there is always a possibility. The Maine Conference of the UCC has continued to send work teams from time to time – some going only to build on the island of Roatan.