Five Churches Support Pastor Facing Deportation

TORRANCE, CA (September 23, 2010) – Five Evangelical Covenant Churches as well as Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) leaders are advocating on behalf of a Torrance pastor who is fighting her “order of deportation.”

Margarita Monsalve (at left in accompanying photo) serves as pastor of Navegando con Cristo Ministries, a mission to low-income and drug-addicted individuals and families. Neither she nor the ministry is connected officially with the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Monsalve came to this country in 1992, fleeing communist guerillas in Colombia who had targeted her family because of their leadership in the business community, according to an article published on the PSWC website. She initially applied for political asylum, but a series of errors by her lawyers ultimately led to the deportation order, according to the article.

Monsalve and her family did not return to Colombia because they feared for their lives, the article says. She was arrested this past July.

The Covenant churches and leaders assisting Monsalve say she has provided valuable ministry to people who might otherwise be forgotten. They are helping her negotiate the appeals process, including attending hearings, as well as providing other assistance.

Four of the churches are in California:

  • Taller del Alfarero Centro Cristiano in Gardena, pastored by Esteban Sanchez
  • La Vina Covenant Church in Kerman, pastored by Michael Jordan
  • Iglesias del Pacto de Eagle Rock, pastored by Pablo Anabalon
  • Vida Real Covenant Church in Norwalk, pastored by Eddie Ledesma

Iglesia Rios de Vida, a church plant in Surprise, Arizona, also has offered support. Patrick Branling is the pastor.

Also helping Monsalve are Centro Hispano de Estudios Teológicos (CHET), where she was a student, and the Ministerios Hispanos de la Iglesia del Pacto Evangélico (Hispanic Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church).

Walter Contreras, PSWC director of outreach and Hispanic church planting, is serving as her pastor.

Conference leaders say Monsalve’s threatened deportation highlights the need for comprehensive immigration reform and discussion about related issues. Paradise Valley Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona, will host a community conversation on immigration on October 1. For more information, visit the church website.

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