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Ecumenical Theological Education in Latin America, 1916-2005.

One result of the Edinburgh 1910 Mission Conference was that the Congress on Christian Work in Latin America was held in Panama in 1916. (1) Establishing Protestantism in a continent colonized by Roman Catholic countries was a difficult challenge, and education was a key strategy from the beginning. Historic Protestant churches and missions marked their presence through modern liberal North American democratic ideals implanted in educational institutions.

In 1916 John A. Mackay arrived in Peru to become director of the Anglo-Peruano School, one of the many American schools in Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela that have remained influential to the present day. Mackay's impact as an educator and scholar in Peru is symbolic of the role of education in the development of Protestantism. Thirteen educational institutions in Brazil established by Presbyterian missionaries between 1870 and 1930 became catalysts for national educational reform. The American School, founded in Sao Paulo in 1870, "was the pioneer in the application of the North American pedagogical system in Brazil" and forerunner of Mackenzie University. (2)

The missionaries and mission agencies that dominated the Panama Congress also advocated the unity of Protestants in Latin America, which naturally led to reflections on unity in theological education. Subsequent congresses in Montevideo (1925) and Havana (1929) perpetuated the twin emphases on education and ecumenism.

As autonomous Protestant denominations resulting both from mission efforts and from immigrant communities made inroads in Latin America, they established primary and secondary schools alongside congregations. Additionally, denominational seminaries were established, usually following closely the educational philosophy and curriculum of conservative evangelical seminaries of the North Atlantic churches that supported them. Although Protestant denominations founded seminaries soon after their arrival in the mid-nineteenth century, it took over a century for ecumenical associations of seminaries to be established. (3)

From the 1930s into the 1960s major changes, social ferment, and military takeovers rocked church and society in Latin America. Protestant student and ecumenical movements articulated commitment to social responsibility and societal transformation. Councils and federations of churches were formed throughout the continent, as well as interdenominational seminaries in Cuba, Argentina, and Puerto Rico, along with associations of seminaries. The first Latin American Evangelical Conference (CELA I) was hosted by the Faculdad Evangelica de Teologia in Buenos Aires in 1949. However, polarization between the ecumenical and evangelical sectors in Latin America began to surface. The structural-contextual analysis of ecumenical Christians at CELA II (Lima, 1961) and the confession of their debt to the Roman Catholic community at CELA III (Buenos Aires, 1969) rankled the evangelicals and only intensified the divide. The departure from the Presbyterian Seminary of the South in Campinas, Brazil--a school associated with the evangelical side--of Richard Shaull, who was a leader in the student and ecumenical movements and who had served in Colombia (1942-51) and Brazil (1952-62), due to criticism of his revolutionary ideas about theological renewal and the role of the church in society, symbolized the depth of ecumenical-evangelical polarization.

As Latin American countries have engaged in the process of redemocratization and struggled to stabilize their economies during the 1980s and 1990s, two recurrent dialectical themes have marked theological studies: the necessity for contextualization (doing theology out of and within the Latin American context and culture) and the reality of the globalization of theological education (doing theology in conversation with scholars and institutions around the world). The tension of the dialectic is complicated by Latin resistance to the economic globalization of the neoliberal model from the North, which cares little about the difficulties that many in the South face in obtaining the basic necessities for a life of human integrity and dignity, in effect excluding them from a just participation in free markets and democratic processes.

In this context we review below five centers of theological excellence and four associations of seminaries that have made a long-term ecumenical impact in Latin America. (4)

Five Centers of Theological Excellence

UBL--Universidad Biblica Latinoamericana/Latin American Biblical University. In 1923 the Latin American Biblical Institute (IBL) for women was founded in San Jose, Costa Rica, by Susan Strachan, a Scottish Presbyterian missionary. The name was changed to Latin American Biblical Seminary (SBL) in 1960, and full autonomy and independence from the Latin American Mission was achieved in 1971, which enabled the development of Latin American identity and ownership. In 1997 it became the Latin American Biblical University upon receiving accreditation by the National Council of University Education of Costa Rica. UBL understands its identity as progressive evangelical, its disposition and practice as ecumenical, and its vocation as being an academic institution of biblical-theological and pastoral formation that serves all denominations in Latin America and the Caribbean. A unique contribution of UBL is the trust it has established with the Protestant community without its being limited to that constituency and with being open to dialogue with liberation theology in response to the context of oppression. Students and professors come from both evangelical and ecumenical Protestant denominations, as well as Roman Catholic and Pentecostal traditions. Priority is given to women, African descendants, and indigenous peoples.

UBL offers bachelor's, licentiate, and master's degrees in Bible and theology and since 1997 has had the Pastoral Biblical Institute (IBP) for nonuniversity studies. There are 17 professors on faculty and more than 1,500 students, half of whom are women. The current model, which combines distance and residential studies, began in 1990. UBL partners with churches and seminaries to offer its program through 15 satellite centers in 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, each of which follows the same basic curriculum but has its own director and local council. Students initiate their studies in their own countries through independent study of modules, small extension groups, and intensive courses taught by visiting or adjunct professors. Then they go to Costa Rica for two, four, or six months to complete their course work and do research in the UBL library. One example is the Martin Luther King Memorial Center in Havana, which provides university-level courses and also serves, at a more basic level, 500 students from diverse church bodies through a network of 45 nuclei scattered throughout the island. The Central American Evangelical Center for Pastoral Studies (CEDEPCA) in Guatemala is also affiliated with UBL. Other countries with affiliated centers are Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile.

The focus of UBL is to provide theological education that strengthens partner institutions in Latin America and the residential program in Costa Rica. UBL produces study guides for all its educational programs, as well as the journal Vida y Pensamiento (Life and Thought), independent publications, and publications in partnership with other institutions and ecumenical organizations.

SET--Seminario Evangelico de Teologia / Evangelical Seminary of Theology. SET, in Matanzas, Cuba, was founded in October 1946 by Methodist, Presbyterian, and Episcopal churches as a fruit of the vanguard spirit of ecumenism in Latin America. This ecumenical institution for basic and advanced theological training soon expanded beyond the three founding denominations and today prepares pastors and leaders for twelve Cuban and Latin American denominations. SET has covenants of collaboration with the Instituto Superior Evangelico de Estudios Teologicos (ISEDET) in Buenos Aires and with the Methodist University of Sao Paulo (UMESP) and the Lutheran School of Theology (EST) in Brazil, as well as programs of exchange with other institutions of theological education in the United States, Canada, Europe, and South Korea. Furthermore, SET maintains close contact with developing social processes in Cuba, Latin America, and the world. Its siting and focus enable SET to offer a unique perspective on evangelism and new church development in a socialist environment.

Possessing a lovely chapel, SET seeks to be a center for liturgical renewal through worship experiences for the seminary community and for outside groups. In recent years there has been more focus on spiritual formation in the exploration of different expressions of prayer, including both ancient and contemporary cultural traditions.

SET offers bachelor's, licentiate, and master's degrees in theology. It also offers a doctor of ministry in pastoral studies in partnership with Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Three-year extension courses for laywomen and laymen are offered in Matanzas, La Habana, and other provinces. The library contains 22,500 volumes. The faculty has nineteen professors. The seminary's official publications are Cuba Teologica and Didaje.

As a service to the seminary community, the Arcoiris (Rainbow) Project promotes spaces of Christian education for children at SET, who learn to respect creation and environment. SET also offers service to the community through the Pastoral Counseling Program.

ISEDET--Instituto Superior Evangelico de Estudios Teologicos /Higher Evangelical Institute for Theological Studies. The University Institute ISEDET is an ecumenical center of graduate and postgraduate studies in theology located in Buenos Aires. Its origins go back to 1884, when Waldensians and Methodists in Uruguay united in their efforts to prepare national pastors. In 1917 they moved their seminary to Buenos Aires and were joined by the Disciples of Christ. Thirty years later the Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church (related to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.) joined. Separately, a Lutheran seminary was begun in Buenos Aires in 1955. In 1969 the two seminaries united to form ISEDET. Today its board is composed of nine member churches: Anglicans, Danish Lutherans, Disciples, Evangelical Church of the River Plate, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Reformed Church, and Waldensians.

ISEDET has government accreditation and offers the only Spanish-speaking ecumenical Protestant doctoral program in Latin America. After accreditation was achieved, the number of students increased. Programs include bachelor's, licentiate, master's, and doctoral degrees in theology, as well as continuing education (EDUCAB). ISEDET also has a Project with Original Peoples (PPO) in the Chaco in the north, where several professors go to teach a week each month. Since the doctoral program began (1984-85), 14 degrees have been granted, and 20 students were in the program in 2004 (15 from Argentina and 5 from other Latin or European countries). Master's degrees have been granted to 102 people (1984-2003). The total number of residential students in 2003 was 185. In the past five years there have been students from twenty denominations (including Roman Catholic) and from eleven Latin American countries, seven European countries, and three others (including the United States).

It is noteworthy that ISEDET has the largest Protestant library in Latin America (110,000 volumes and 850 journals) and has invested considerably in computer technology. The four strong centers that have made significant advances in information technology (UBL, ISEDET, UMESP, and EST) offer a vital service to small seminaries and churches on the continent. From 1973 to 1990 ISEDET published a comprehensive bibliography on religious materials in and about Latin America entitled Bibliografia teoloica comentada. Present publications include two online journals, Estudios Exegeticos Homileticos and Journal of Latin American Hermeneutics, (5) with articles in English and German. Furthermore, their journal Cuadernos de Teologia (Notebooks of Theology) and a journal of practical theology, Visiones y Herramientas (Visions and Tools), are published annually.

ISEDET has formal relations with the Free University in Amsterdam, SET in Matanzas, and the Theological Institute of Andean Higher Education (ISEAT) in La Paz, Bolivia, and informal relationships with UBL in San Jose, the postgraduate program in Sciences of Religion of the Methodist University of Sao Paulo (UMESP), the Ecumenical Institute of Post-Graduation (IEPG) of the Lutheran School of Theology (EST) in Sao Leopoldo, Brazil, the Evangelical Theological Community (CTE) in Santiago, the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago (LSTC), and others in Europe, including the Waldensian seminary in Rome. Through these connections ISEDET is able to facilitate South-South and South-North faculty and student exchanges and institutional relationships.

UMESP--Universidade Metodista de Sao Paulo / Methodist University of Sao Paulo. UMESP is located in Sao Bernardo do Campo, a municipality belonging to Greater Sao Paulo in Brazil. The university includes the Methodist Theological Seminary, which offers bachelor's degrees. In 1976 UMESP inaugurated a post-graduate program in sciences of religion, offering a master's in theology. In 1979 the program became the Ecumenical Institute of Post-Graduation (IEPG), offering master's and doctoral degrees. A distinctive emphasis of the program is the thoroughly ecumenical spirit, with a measure of autonomy and freedom, even though the IEPG is part of UMESP, a "confessional" university.

The following ten Protestant denominations are represented on the board: Baptist Association of Churches, Christian Reformed, Episcopal Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran, Evangelical of Lutheran Confession, Evangelical Reformed, Independent Presbyterian, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, and United Presbyterian. Roman Catholic and Pentecostal presence through professors and students is significant. The largest department is biblical studies, in which approximately half of the students are Roman Catholics.

In the postgraduate program in sciences of religion, the "sciences" include theology, as well as, for example, anthropology, exegesis, pedagogy, political science, psychology, and sociology, all of which are in conversation with the religions of the continent. The professors see themselves more as scientists of religion than as theologians and view the IEPG as a research institution where scientific methodology and rigor are extremely important and whose main objective is to prepare academics. This outlook stands in sharp contrast to confessional theological seminaries, whose emphasis is on apologetics, dogma, and evangelism and whose objective is to serve the church and defend a certain Christian tradition.

One of the most significant recent developments for theological education in Brazil is that the Ministry of Education and Culture passed legislation to accredit theological seminaries and programs in religion. (Similar legislation has been passed in Argentina and Costa Rica.) The postgraduate program in sciences of religion of UMESP and that of the IEPG of the Lutheran Seminary (EST) in Sao Leopoldo are the only Protestant postgraduate programs with accreditation in Brazil.

The faculty for the postgraduate program in sciences of religion has 18 professors (14 are full-time). In 2004 there were 106 students, 64 seeking a master's and 42 a doctoral degree, coming from throughout Brazil, other parts of Latin America, and beyond, including Roman Catholic missionaries from Poland and Germany who work in Brazil. The international flavor is a positive aspect. As of 2000, a total of 195 master's theses and 35 doctoral dissertations had been approved. Many graduates are teaching in theological institutions or in sciences of religion programs in Brazil and throughout Latin America, including all of the 20 who received master's degrees and the 16 who received doctorates in 2004. Three libraries are available for postgraduate students: the general Methodist University library, the Methodist Seminary library, and the Ecumenical library. The last one is specifically for the program and houses around 15,000 volumes and over 2,000 periodicals.

The IEPG has changed as the institution has developed. Today it is a sponsoring organization responsible for ecumenical and international relations. It receives and administers scholarship and library grants and owns an off-campus Casa dos Estudantes (Student Home) that provides lodging for out-of-state commuting students, temporary lodging for students from out-of-country, and a VIP suite for visiting professors.

The IEPG coedits the collection Ciencias da Religiao (Sciences of Religion) in conjunction with Methodist-Loyola, and faculty and research groups produce the journal Estudos de Religiao (Studies in Religion) which stands on a par with any academic journal in the world for quality and quantity of materials included.

EST--Escola Superior de Teologia / Superior School of Theology. In contrast to the Presbyterian churches, which owe their origin to missionaries to Latin America, the Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil (IECLB) was started by German immigrants who arrived in Brazil in 1824. In 1946 they founded a theological faculty in Sao Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, which became the EST, offering bachelor's degrees in theology. Initially the main language of study was German. In the 1960s there was an intense debate over how to be a Lutheran church in Brazilian soil. One result was the decision to teach only in Portuguese. By the end of the twentieth century the library owned more books in Portuguese than in German (38 percent vs. 37 percent of its holdings), with the rest in English and Spanish (25 percent).

An integral part of EST, the Ecumenical Institute of Post-Graduation (IEPG) created the master of theology program in 1981 and the doctor of theology program in 1990. In the early 1990s the postgraduate program in sciences of religion at the Methodist University in Sao Paulo and the postgraduate program in theology at the Lutheran School of Theology in Sao Leopoldo were under the direction of one board, the IEPG. In 1993 they were formally separated, though the ecumenical cooperation of the two IEPGs continues. Seven denominations are represented on the board of the IEPG in Sao Leopoldo: Episcopal Anglican, Evangelical Lutheran (1ELB, Missouri Synod), Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession (IECLB), Independent Presbyterian, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, and United Presbyterian.

The postgraduate program has continually received the maximum accreditation grade of 7, a point of pride and strength for the institution. With a faculty of 17, as of 2005 the IEPG had granted 110 master's degrees and 47 doctoral degrees. In both programs one-third of the graduates have been women. The number of students in the two degree programs doubled in two years to total 94 in 2004, most of whom were Lutherans from the three southern states in Brazil However, there were Catholics and other denominations, as well as students from outside Brazil, especially from Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile.

EST is a school of theology committed to training pastors and academic theologians who are involved in the ministry of Christian communities. The courses are all in theology, in contrast to the Methodist University in Sao Paulo, whose courses are in sciences of religion. The professors see themselves as ecumenical Lutheran theologian/pastors. This awareness does not diminish the school's commitment to academic excellence and research. For EST the struggle is to be more ecumenical by attracting non-Lutheran professors and students, while for UMESP the struggle is to be more at the service of the church. Both EST and UMESP have a strong commitment to contextual relevance in Latin American society and culture. EST defines its reference points as contextualization, interdisciplinary approach, and ecumenism, and the theme of its research is Latin American theology.

The IEPG recently added an area of concentration, Education and Religion, which has attracted many students, and a new program, Mestrado Profissional, somewhat like the doctor of ministry, in the areas of liturgy and community education, which already has 40 students.

EST participates in the International Network in Advanced Theological Education with other seminaries (mostly Lutheran) in India, South Africa, Hungary, China, Costa Rica (UBL), Canada, and Norway. The network promotes contextual theological research through exchanges of students and professors. EST has interaction with ELCA seminaries through the sister relationship of the parent denomination, IECLB, with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It also has a partnership with SET in Matanzas, Cuba, that provides a constant exchange of students and professors. Their student-exchange program provides an outstanding infrastructure that since 1994 has received 85 international students from around the world. In the last ten years 114 students of EST have participated in global exchanges, often through the World Lutheran Federation.

The library houses around 80,000 volumes, including 800 periodicals, and it acquires 1,400-1,800 new volumes annually. The IEPG also publishes a series of essays and monographs and a series of theses and dissertations and has collaborated in eighty publications with EST and the publishing house Editora Sinodal, both translations and books written by Brazilians.

Four Associations of Theological Seminaries

ASTE--Associacao de Seminarios Teologicos Evangelicos / Association of Evangelical Theological Seminaries. The exuberant and turbulent decade of the 1960s was also an era of ecumenical cooperation during which the Theological Education Fund (TEF) of the World Council of Churches (WCC) visited Latin America and made many generous gifts and courageous contributions. In 1961 TEF inspired and supported the founding of the ASTE in Brazil. ASTE began sponsoring an annual symposium that brought together thirteen evangelical seminaries "in an unprecedented Protestant ecumenical experience in the field of theological education" to reflect on a theme. (6) Today there are thirty-eight member institutions. Roman Catholics participated from the beginning, and the first symposium was on Roman Catholicism. The lectures then became a part of the publication Symposium, whose forty-sixth number appeared in 2004. ASTE has an occasional Bulletin and has published sixty-six books, often collaborative efforts, both translations of theological classics and contextual works by Brazilian scholars.

ASIT--Asociacion de Seminarios e Instituciones Teologicas / Association of Seminaries and Theological Institutes. Practically a twin of ASTE, ASIT was born with assistance of the TEF in 1963 to bring together institutions in five countries of the Southern Cone--Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay--for dialogue and exchange. The twin associations share a similar vision for contextual relevance, theological excellence, and ecumenical cooperation, and they participate in each other's events. ASIT has fifty-one member institutions and since 1966 has promoted many consultations. Number 16 of their journal Encuentro y Didlogo (Encounter and Dialogue) was released at the fortieth anniversary in 2003; they have an electronic bulletin and often publish books in partnership with other institutions. ASIT's accreditation and library commissions are very active. The latter facilitates the development of computer technology in member institutions and provides a CD with thesis information from member schools.

ALIET--Asociacion Latinoamericana de Instituciones de Educacion Theologia / Latin American Association of Institutions of Theological Education. ALIET has members from Peru in South America, through Central America and the Caribbean to Mexico, and functions much like ASTE and ASIT in coordinating and gathering seminaries from a geographic region for theological, pedagogical, and contextual reflections. Its assembly meets biannually.

CETELA--Comunidad de Educacion Teologica Ecumenica Latino-americana y Caribena / Ecumenical Community of Theological Education in Latin America and the Caribbean. CETELA was created in 1988 to continue the work of the Special Fund for Theological Education in Latin America (FEPETEAL), founded in 1980 by seven seminaries to provide financial assistance to institutions suffering from the economic crises in their countries. By definition CETELA is ecumenical, and one of its major concerns from the outset has been to stimulate contextualized theological reflection in Abya-Yala (i.e., Latin America and the Caribbean) in light of major worldwide changes in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s and into the new millennium. The Community is composed of twenty-four Protestant member institutions committed to ecumenical openness. In contrast to the other associations, CETELA does not accredit institutions. In 1991 CETELA initiated a series of theological jornadas (day's work together) with the following themes:

"Theological Education in Situations of Survival" (Managua, Nicaragua, 1991)

"Theological Education in Abya-Yala" (San Jose, Costa Rica, 1992)

"Viability of Ministerial Formation in Today's World" (Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 1994)

"Theology in Abya-Yala at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century" (San Jeronimo, Colombia, 1995)

"The Ultimate of Life in a Society with a Place for All" (Matanzas, Cuba, 1997)

"Abya-Yala and Its Faces: Theological Formation and Transversality" (Cumbaya, Ecuador, 2000)

"Theologies of Abya-Yala and Theological Formation: Interactions and Challenges" (La Paz, Bolivia, 2003)

"Interculturality, Negotiation of Knowledge, and Theological Education: Contemporary Challenges for Theology in Latin America" (Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, 2006)

As the theme for 2006 indicates, CETELA encourages theological debate among member institutions, as well as recognizes the necessity for contextualization of pedagogical methods through interaction between theology and pedagogy. Through publications CETELA seeks to discover new generations of theologians and to find space for them in theological institutions, especially in the areas of indigenous theology, Afro-theology, feminist theology, Pentecostal theology, and campesina theology.

These four associations of theological institutions in Latin America are supported by the World Council of Churches through its Ecumenical Theological Education Desk (ETE), which replaced the TEE Jose Duque, ETE's consultant for Latin America, accompanies and encourages the work of all four. ETE continues to provide small grants for some institutions and programs. Additionally, ASTE, ASIT, and ALIET are members of the World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions (WOCATI).

The Department of Bible and Theology of the Latin American branch of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches also provides support and guidance to theological institutions. In 2001 the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico hosted its first encounter of seminary professors and institutions of member churches in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, which reflected on needs and projects of theological education in the region. A similar encounter for South America was held in Sao Paulo in 2005.

At the Ninth Assembly of the WCC, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the Cafe Teologico, a space sponsored by EST and ASTE with the support of other institutions dedicated to theological education, promoted stimulating dialogue and book signings and was a huge success. Furthermore, over 100 theology students from Latin America participated in the congress "Mission and Ecumenism in Latin America" during the Assembly at the Lutheran School of Theology (EST) in Sao Leopoldo, thirty-five kilometers from Porto Alegre. Speakers came from the Assembly, and students also participated in parts of the Assembly activities. The congress was sponsored by EST, ASTE, and CETELA, with the support of the WCC Ecumenical Theological Education network.


In my judgment, the most creative and effective Latin American theological educators and institutions are those committed to ecumenical cooperation and academic rigor. They are more interested in seeking new models for our age of globalization and our postmodern world than in maintaining existing ecclesiastical institutions. The leaders who are doing theology in Latin America today, seeking new theological answers for new times and constructing theological programs of excellence, are challenged by the following tasks:

* Being ecumenical and inclusive without losing one's particular ecclesial identity and without alienating the evangelical community.

* Achieving and maintaining government accreditation.

* Offering postgraduate programs to prepare a new generation of church leaders and professors for Latin American seminaries in their own context and continent.

* Being academic with critical scientific methods in the study of the Christian faith without losing the notion of theology as a practice of the community of faith and while maintaining the objective of pastoral and diaconal service to the church and the realm of God.

* Maintaining contextual and social relevance by taking popular cultures seriously, impacting society with Gospel values and ethics, engaging in prophetic missionary dialogue, and addressing political and economic crises in the region through solidarity and the promotion of structural transformation.

* Increasing projects of South-South exchange and interaction for professors and students through institutions and associations, as well as exchanges with other parts of the world through networks and partnerships.

* Creating programs and alternative courses and materials that enable self-support.

* Expanding library resources, information technology, projects of investigation, and contextual theological publications in Spanish and Portuguese.

* Offering continuing education for pastors and lay leaders through distance learning and extension courses.

* Strengthening the area of practical theology and especially missiology, with new Latin American paradigms as part of the voice of the new majority church of the South.


(1.) Because Anglo-Catholicsin the Church of England and some German societies considered Latin America to be a Roman Catholic continent where any Protestant work would be mere proselytizing, they "insisted on its omission from the programme" in Edinburgh (Hugh Martin, Beginning at Edinburgh ... Fiftieth Anniversary, 1910-1960: A Jubilee Assessment of the World Missionary Conference, 1910 [London: Edinburgh House Press, 1960], p. 5). The boards working in Latin America agreed to this omission, "reserving at the same time the privilege of identifying themselves at some future time with a movement for a Latin American conference" (Christian Work in Latin America, vol. 1, Reports of Commissions [New York: Missionary Education Movement, 1916], p. 6). However, in the introduction to the reports on Panama, the Edinburgh Conference is considered a factor that opened the way for other such conferences, especially in the unanimous vote to establish the Continuation Committee. Furthermore, many boards that sent delegates to Edinburgh also had missionaries in Latin America, some of whom were among the conference delegates. At Edinburgh these delegates gathered informally for a luncheon and then met with the secretaries of boards with work in Latin America, who agreed that "Latin America should have a conference to do for all its mission interests what the Edinburgh Conference was doing for the rest of the world" (Christian Work, p. 7). Consequently, a conference in New York in 1913 appointed a Committee on Cooperation in Latin America, which planned a congress on the field in Panama in 1916 following the format of Edinburgh both in preparation and in follow-up. See Ruth Rouse and Stephen C. Neill, eds., A History of the Ecumenical Movement, 1517-1948, 2d ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1967), p. 396.

(2.) Osvaldo Henrique Hack, Protestantismo e Educacao Brasileira (Sao Paulo: Casa Editora Presbiteriana, 1985), p.102. The schools studied are (with state in parenthesis) Colegio Agnes Erskine in Recife (Pernambuco), Colegio Dois de Julho in Salvador (Bahia), Colegio Ev. Alto Jequitiba (Minas Gerais), Colegio Ev. Buriti (Mato Grosso), Colegio Internacional in Campinas (Sao Paulo), Colegio XV de Novembro in Garanhuns (Pernambuco), Escola Americana in Curitiba (Parana), Escola Americana in Florianopolis (Santa Catarina), Escola Americana in Sao Paulo, Instituto Cristao in Castro (Parana), Instituto Gammon in Lavras (Minas Gerais), Instituto Jose Manoel da Conceicao in Jandira (Sao Paulo), and Instituto Ponte Nova (Bahia).

(3.) Jose Miguez Bonino, "La educacion teologica latinoamericana en busca de profundidad y relevancia," Encuentro y Dialogo 16 (2003): 143.

(4.) Web sites and contact information for the various schools and associations discussed here:

UBL Contact: Violeta Rocha, rector, UBL, Apartado 901-1000, 350 Cedros de Montes de Oca, San Jose, Costa Rica;

SET Contact: Reinerio Arce, rector, SET, Apartado 149, Matanzas, Cuba;

ISEDET Contact: Rene Kruger, rector, Instituto Universitario ISEDET, Camacua 252, C1406DOF Buenos Aires, Argentina;

UMESP Contact: Antonio Carlos Magalhaes, coordinator of Instituto Ecumenico de Pos-Graduacao (IEPG) of the Universidade Metodista de Sao Paulo (UMESP), Rua do Sacramento, 230-Rudge Ramos, Sao Bernardo do Campo, Sao Paulo, SP, 09640-000 Brazil;

EST Contact: Lothar Hoch, rector, Escola Superior de Teologia (EST), 467 Rua Amadeo Rossi, 93030-220 Sao Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil;

ASTE Contact: Fernando Bortolleto Filho, executive secretary, Rua Rego Freitas, 530, F-13, 01220-010 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil;

ASIT http: // Contact: Guillermo Steinfeld, executive secretary, Casilla de Correo 103, 1449 Sucursal 49B, Buenos Aires, Argentina;

ALIET Contact: Debora Garcia, executive secretary, Prol. Cayetano Heredia, 151 Pueblo Libre, Lima, Peru;

CETELA Contact: Roberto E. Zwetsch, executive secretary, Escola Superior de Teologia (EST), Caixa Postal 14, 93001-970 Sao Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; cetela@est.

(5.) See

(6.) Joao Dias de Araujo, Inquisition Without Burning, trans. James N. Wright (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Superior de Estudos da Religiao, 1982), p. 104.

Sherron Kay George is Theological Education Consultant and Liaison for South America for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). From 1996 to 2001 she served as associate professor of mission and evangelism at Austin (Texas) Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is the author of Called as Partners in Christ's Service: The Practice of God's Mission (Geneva Press, 2004).
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Author:Kay George, Sherron
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Geographic Code:0LATI
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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