Adrienne Wiebe writes for the MCC Latin America Advocacy blog reflecting on a Mennonite pastor’s perspective in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Here’s an excerpt:
“How can we be a church of peace and hope in a context of overwhelming violence?” asks Pastor Carlos Martinez, in an interview in April, 2011. Martinez is the pastor of the Iglesia Evangelica Misionera Nuevo Pacto, the only Mennonite church in Ciudad Juarez, México, The congregation’s historic peace theology has added significance for them as they live in what has become “the most dangerous city” in the Americas: Ciudad Juarez.
Assaults, robberies, express kidnappings, and car-jacking are common occurrences. Almost every member of the Mennonite church as experienced at least one of these in the past year, including Martinez who was victim of an “express-kidnapping,” in which he was held for several hours at gunpoint until he got the money the kidnappers demanded.
What is the church’s calling in this complex web of violence? “Our role is to have an impact,” says Martinez. “We need to do more than pray; we need to act. Our best hope is to overcome our separateness as churches and as individuals, and to work in unity.”