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ILC Latin America regional conference meets in Mexico

Participants in the ILC’s 2021 Latin America regional conference.

MEXICO – The conference of the International Lutheran Council’s (ILC) Latin America Region met in Mexico City from December 2-5, 2021, following delays due to the pandemic.

ILC General Secretary Timothy Quill addresses the Latin America regional conference.

The conference brought together representatives from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina; the Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia; the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil; the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile; the Lutheran Church of Guatemala; the Lutheran Synod of Mexico; the Lutheran Church of Panama; the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paraguay; the Evangelical Lutheran Church-Peru; the Lutheran Church of Uruguay; and the Lutheran Church of Venezuela. The ILC’s General Secretary Timothy Quill and Assistant to the General Secretary Roger James were also present, as were a number of other guests.

Theological presentations were given on two themes: 1) “The Confessional Orthodox Lutheran Role in a Heterodox and Subjective Context” (Prof. Dr. Clóvis Prunzel of Concordia Seminary in Sao Leopoldo, Brazil); and 2) “Pastoral Vocation: Lack, Stimuli, and Contextual Factors” (Prof. Dr. Sergio Schelske of Concordia Seminary in Buenos Aires, Argentina). Discussion centered on two areas: 1) the need to recruit a larger number of pastoral candidates; and 2) unique challenges related to opening new missions in each country.

IELA President Arturo Truenow and ILC-Chile President Juan Pablo Lanterna sign a protocol agreement between their two church bodies.

During the conference, the Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia officially announced its intention to seek full membership in the ILC after more than a decade as an Associate Member. Other noteworthy events included the signing of a mutual cooperation protocol between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina (IELA) and the Confessional Church of Chile (ILC-Chile).

The gathering also celebrated the forthcoming publication of a new Lutheran hymnal in Spanish after fifteen years of work. The hymnal will be welcomed into use throughout Spanish-speaking countries in the region, as well as in other parts of the world.

“It was a great meeting, since it was finally possible to overcome the challenges that have delayed celebrating this moment due to the current pandemic,” noted President Juan Pablo Lanterna of the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile. “It should be counted as a historic moment.”


From a report by ILC-Chile President Juan Pablo Lanterna

Attack kills one, wounds President Emeritus of Lutheran Church in Guatemala

President Emeritus Eduardo Bonilla Porras (Image: Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brazil.)

President Emeritus Eduardo Bonilla (Image: Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brazil.)

GUATEMALA – The President Emeritus of the Lutheran Church in Guatemala (LCG) has been wounded and another church member was killed after unknown assailants opened fire on their vehicle Friday, November 21.

President Emeritus Eduardo Bonilla and Franciso Paxtor (Synodical Secretary for the LCG) had earlier in the day taken part in an anniversary service at New Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Chajabel, where Rev. Bonilla had been invited to preach for the special occasion. Their car was attacked while on the drive back to Guatemala City, with both men receiving gun shot wounds. The two were able to drive themselves to the nearest town, from which they were rushed by ambulance to Quetzaltengango.

President Emeritus Bonilla was shot in the chest, with a bullet grazing his lung and missing his heart by centimeters. Francisco Paxtor was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the head. President Emeritus Bonilla was stabilized and transported Sunday by plane for medical care in the capital. He is expected to make a full recovery. Tragically, Paxtor could not be stabilized. He succumbed to his injuries in Quetzaltengango on Sunday.

Local media reports initially suggested the attack might have resulted from land disputes over church properties owned by the LCG. However, LCG President Emeritus Ignacio Chan writes that this is incorrect, further noting that this area of rural Guatemala has seen a number of recent attacks by persons unknown upon the general populace.

“At this time we are deeply grieved and shocked by this violent act on the lives of our dear brothers in Christ,” said Rev. Cornelio Midence, current President of the Lutheran Church in Guatemala. He asks Christians around the world to keep President Emeritus Bonilla and his family in prayer as he recovers from this violent attack, as well to pray for the family of Francisco Paxtor as they grieve his sudden passing.

“Please also remember in your prayers those who committed this act,” President Midence continued. “May God have mercy on them.”

The Lutheran Church in Guatemala is a church body of about 4,000 members. It is a member of the International Lutheran Council, a worldwide association of confessional Lutheran churches.


Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Francisco Paxtor was a pastor. He was, in fact, a layman.

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