MEDELLíN, COLOMBIA (November 26, 2018) — Thomas Jimenez, a 10-year-old from Bogota, stood before the 300 representatives who had gathered from different nations to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Federation of Covenant Churches of Colombia (FIPEC) and told them, “In five to ten years, I hope to see the Covenant expanding to other places in Colombia and other countries around the world. As a Covenanter, I am willing to serve so that this becomes a reality.”
FIPEC has grown to more than 40 churches and multiple church plants. More than 20 social ministries are impacting lives and communities around the country.
The day-long celebration was held November 17 at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia. Participants came from throughout the country, Latin America, the United States, and Norway. Guests included ECC president John Wenrich and secretary general of the Norwegian Covenant Church Øyvind Haraldseid.
The event highlighted the church’s history through testimony, pictures, videos, and drama. Key Colombian leaders who have been instrumental in the denomination’s expansion spoke to the gathering. Former missionaries were welcomed back, and several who couldn’t attend sent video greetings. Multiple worship bands led the celebration, and participants shared communion as a reminder that all are reconciled through God.
Young adults showed a documentary they had produced about FIPEC’s history, and children acted out the story of how the Covenant Church of Colombia began in the Villa Hermosa neighborhood. “I learned so much about our history that I didn’t know before,” said Maria Eugenia, who had traveled from Bogotá to attend the event.
That history began in 1968 when Covenant missionaries Wayne and Mary Anne Weld arrived in Medellín to serve on the faculty of the Biblical Seminary of Colombia. They were joined a year later by two other missionary couples Dale and Arlene Bishop, and Dean and Donna Erickson. Together with Covenant students from Ecuador who were studying at the seminary, they formed a team with the vision of starting a Covenant Church in Colombia.
“Many of those who came together had not seen each other for many years,” missionary Gary Sander wrote on his Facebook page. “It was such a blessing to share our common story of God’s blessings and faithfulness.”