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Consultation Considers Volunteer Collaboration in Latin America and the Caribbean

UMCOR-UMVIM Latin America & Caribbean consultation-Mar09

More than 100 Methodist leaders from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States gathered in Mexico City March 24-27 to strengthen relationships, through sending and receiving volunteers when responding to local disasters. The four-day gathering was marked by honest dialog cross borders and cultures to build up understanding and intentionality when working in mission together.

“We need to extend our hands to each other,” said Juan de Dios Peña from ElSalvador regarding the need for Latin American countries to be senders as well as receivers of volunteer missionaries. De Dios acknowledged the economic challenges faced by many member denominations within the Council of Evangelical Methodist Churches of Latin America and the Caribbean (CIEMAL) and the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas (MCCA), and also gave examples of success in overcoming these challenges in his own and other countries in Latin America.

Sharing models for volunteer service and disaster response within the United States was part of the consultation that was led by United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

Ways to adapt these models for the various cultural contexts were invited.

The idea for the consultation was born out of a pre-General Conference meeting in Panama, which identified the need to coordinate mission volunteer activities in Latin America and the Caribbean.