press

WEA Goodwill Ambassador Meets with Colombian Church Leaders

February 18, 2006

For Immediate Release

February 17, 2006

WEA Goodwill Ambassador Meets with Colombian Church Leaders

Evangelicals have an unparalleled opportunity to help bring peace in war-torn Colombia, a top figure from the World Evangelical Alliance said Thursday.

Addressing a group of 100 Evangelical leaders in
Colombia this week, Johan Candelin, the WEA Goodwill Ambassador and head of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission, said the Latin American society is ready for Evangelicals to make great changes.

“The tremendous growth of Evangelicals in Latin and Central America brings a possibility to influence society like never before,” he said. “However, what is most important at this time is for these politically powerful and influential evangelicals to maintain a high level of morality that is free from corruption.”

Candelin’s comments came amid ongoing violence in Colombia , where a decades-old conflict has claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions. Around 3,000 people die each year in the ongoing conflict, and more than 100 churches have been closed and 150 pastors killed in the last ten years alone.

The Evangelicals’ meeting, held in the Island of San Andreas from Feb. 13-17, brought together at least 100 theologians, clergy, academics, community and denominational leaders.

Among those in attendance was Colombian Senator Vivian Morales, who helped write in a law that gave full religious freedom to Evangelicals in Colombia.

“This is a historical opportunity for the churches to play a significant role in the peace process,” Morales said.

By the close of the summit, the Evangelicals plan to produce a document with suggestions for action to be presented to the Colombian Government. The document will address issues ranging from the demobilizing of armed troops to repatriations for civilian victims of violence.

Candelin meanwhile urged Evangelicals to address these topics with a new lense.

“We can measure the success of the new Evangelical influence in Latin America by the way it addresses poverty, crime, and corruption,” said Candelin. “These issues must be dealt in a new and relevant way.”

World Evangelical Alliance will closely follow the situation in Colombia and
give assistance to the leaders involved in the peace process.

Contact Information:

Rev. Johan Candelin (Finland)

E-mail: candelin@kolumbus.fi

Tel: + 358 50 5147611

Pauline Chang, Press Secretary

E-mail: pauline@worldevangelical.org

Tel: +[1] 202.223.7556