Affirming faith and service 

Candidates for ordination and clergy from sister churches and partner organizations of the Christian Lutheran Church of Honduras during the 29th General Assembly, held in Tegucigalpa. Photo: Vera Morales

Honduran church assembly endorses human rights’ work

(LWI) - In a country where human rights’ defenders often face persecution, the Christian Lutheran Church of Honduras (ICLH) has adopted “Internal Regulations and Norms for Life in the Community/Congregation” focusing on human rights, justice and governance. 

The ICLH adopted the guidelines which offer a Lutheran perspective for the church’s diaconal and governance work during its 29th General Assembly, held 16-18 June in Tegucigalpa. “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears” was the theme of the church’s highest decision-making body.

Referring to the assembly theme, ICLH President Rev. Rolando A. Ortez Martínez said, “Our inspiration from the biblical text [Isaiah 38:5] has been chosen to continue the work on reconciliation and health, which has been part of our central task during the last year.” 

Ortez thanked the governing board “for all its work, which has enabled us to focus on change and transformation.” The church has intensified its education work, which focuses on children at church-run kindergartens and providing scholarships for needy families with students in primary and secondary schools.

Confirmation and ordination

The meeting of ICLH’s highest governing body included two acts of worship, which expressed the church’s commitment to service, transformation and the love of God.

During the opening service, three people were confirmed in their faith as members of the church. “This is the public expression of my belonging, not only to a church but also to a community which serves and in which every person is important to God,” said Eva María Valladares, one of the candidates.

From left:  Eva Valladares, Allan Palacios and Besy Vargas being blessed by ICLH President Rev. Rolando A. Ortez Martínez during their confirmation as members of the church. Photo: LWF/P. Cuyatti

The assembly closing service was a milestone in the life of the Honduran church, as it included the ordination of seven pastors—four women and three men. “It is God who has seen you and chosen you to be pastors, and, through this call, God has shown immense love for the people and the church,” said Bishop Victoria Cortez Rodriguez of Nicaragua’s Lutheran Church of Faith and Hope, who preached at the service. The Nicaraguan church is a companion church of ICLH.

The assembly also elected new office bearers of the church including the general secretary, Ms Gloria Erlinda Miranda, and president Ortez, who was endorsed for another term. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which the Honduran church joined in 1994 was represented by Rev. Dr Patricia Cuyatti, area secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean. She noted, “The close accompaniment to the ICLH during the last and this year is bringing good and motivating outcomes in terms of affirming leadership that is committed to empower other persons through faith shared in words and actions.”

Cuyatti said this accompaniment has also led to improved management of the church. “Altogether, it is a good example of what it means to be a church that continually prepares people and uses their human capacity to respond in faith to specific challenges,” she added.

The ICLH has 1,700-members served by eight pastors and other church workers. Its diaconal work includes care for people affected by HIV and AIDS, projects on environmental protection, education, supporting poor communities, and reaching out to individuals and families affected by violence. 

(A contribution by the LWF communication network in Latin America and the Caribbean)