Costa Rican church ordains committed woman evangelist Teresa Guadamuz

Rev. Gilberto Mora Quesada said the church ordained Teresa Guadamuz “based on merit and maturity” after a long and sometimes difficult process, in which she always stood firm. Photo: ILCO/Rodolfo Mena Vargas
Rev. Gilberto Mora Quesada said the church ordained Teresa Guadamuz “based on merit and maturity” after a long and sometimes difficult process, in which she always stood firm. Photo: ILCO/Rodolfo Mena Vargas

A commitment to bring hope and transformation in community

(LWI) – The Lutheran Costa Rican Church (ILCO) celebrated a historic day 3 April, when it ordained one of its longest-serving church workers Teresa Guadamuz as a pastor of the church.

Fondly referred to as “Dona Teresa” (Sister Teresa), because of her dedicated service as an evangelist and diaconal worker, newly ordained Rev. Guadamuz expressed her gratitude to God and the ILCO community in her new role. “For me it [ordination] enhances the commitment in my relationship with God—to bring the good news full of hope and the promise of transformed lives—for the sake of the community of faith in the Lutheran Costa Rican Church,” she said.

Congratulating Guadamuz, ILCO President Rev. Gilberto Mora Quesada noted the church ordained her “based on merit and maturity” after a long and sometimes difficult process, in which she always stood firm and never gave up. “I am very pleased that the synod supported this decision and I thank God for the vocation of Dona Teresa. The church not only has a woman shepherd, but above all, it receives one who has achieved her heart’s desire after so many years.”

Guadamuz will be responsible for the church’s mission area in the indigenous community of Quitirrisí in the northwest.

For me, ordination enhances my commitment to bring the good news full of hope and the promise of transformed lives.
Rev. Teresa Guadamuz, Costa Rica

Bishop Timothy M. Smith of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America North Carolina Synod officiated at the ordination at ILCO's headquarters in the capital San José, assisted by Quesada and other ILCO pastors.

Guadamuz’s active engagement in the church for more than 20 years includes missionary and evangelism work among rural and indigenous populations and coordination of income-generating projects for women in the southern region of Cabagra. ILCO accompanied her through theological training at the Latin American University for Biblical Studies in San José, a process that lasted several years, alongside her regular work.

ILCO was founded in 1988 by a group of Lutherans and other Christians seeking a church whose integrated ministry responded not only to people’s spiritual needs but also provided opportunities for a dignified life to those living on the margins of society. A relatively small church with around 500 members today, it is one of the most outspoken organizations in the country of some 4.1 million people. Its advocacy and diaconal work caters to marginalized groups including indigenous people, people living with HIV and AIDS; refugees and migrants from Colombia, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Rev. Dr Patricia Cuyatti, LWF area secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, said the ordination of Guadamuz affirms the important process the church began in 1995 to empower women for the church ministry. “It is the recognition of women in ordained leadership, and in her case, endorsement for outstanding service during the last two decades.”

A member of The Lutheran World Federation since 2002, ILCO is organized into seven congregations and nine mission points throughout the country. Quesada, the head of the church, works alongside seven other pastors including two women—Guadamuz and Rev. Geraldina Alvarez, who was ordained in 2013.