Pilot Hispanic Training Program Well Received

CHICAGO, IL (August 12, 2011) – North Park University recently served as the host site to celebrate a groundbreaking CBCIPE (Colegio Biblico CIPE) program that trains Hispanic young people through a School of Leadership and Discipleship.

The program involved four weeks of intensive classes to help Hispanic churches in the Central Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church to grow in size and discipleship, says Julio Isaza, who helped coordinate the project. “It will keep them engaged in positive ways to benefit the communities,” he says.

CBCIPE has been taking place for years in other countries in Latin America and Spain, and the program in Chicago was a pilot project for the Central Conference.

Delegates to the conference’s 2010 Annual Meeting approved the project. Isaza had been working with Hispanic young adult leaders since that time to prepare the project.

The CBCIPE Chicago inauguration was held July 3 in Isaacson Chapel at North Park Theological Seminary. The event included a bilingual worship and praise service followed by a barbecue.

Mark Olson, the university’s dean of enrollment and director of church relations, and Doreen Olson, executive minister of the Department of Christian Formation, welcomed the gathering and provided information concerning the relationship of North Park and the Covenant. The leadership training ran through July 31.

One of the participants, 17-year-old Gerson Rameriz, said he came to real faith while attending. “I had so many questions coming to CBCIPE, such as, who is this God that I have been supposedly praying to?” he said. “So coming into CBCIPE I told myself that I will search for him, but what I realized in the first week of the program was that God searches for man – it’s not the other way around.

“Once I have understood that God is looking for me, I accepted Christ in my life for the first time. It was a wonderful experience because there is now a feeling of rest in my heart knowing that all the questions I have don’t have to be answered because they don’t matter. The things that are most important to me are my communion with God and to love and serve the way Christ has served for his people.”

Another student had been living with emotional scars he did not know how to deal with. “During CBCIPE I was able to talk openly about things that had hurt me in the past and had a negative effect on my life,” he said. “As a result, I experienced a process of inner healing.

“My relationship with God was restored and is growing thanks to classes like Inner Healing and Spiritual Formation,” he added. “Other dreams that flourished, with the amazing support of the leaders and professors, are that of going to college and then to seminary. These are new goals I have in my life, thanks to CBCIPE. During CBCIPE, I experienced a sense of family and belonging.”

A female student said, “I feel like now I’m more connected to God, my dreams have gotten stronger everyday. God will give me the strength to keep on going and never give up because now I know that he is going to use me in such a way that I can’t even imagine.”

Sponsors for CBCIPE Chicago include the Central Conference, Hispanic Covenant churches, CIPE, Covenant Children Ministries, the Department of Christian Formation, the university, and North park Theological Seminary.

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