The Presbyterian Church of Venezuela is currently celebrating its 120th anniversary! It traces its history back to the close of the nineteenth century – to schools and churches established with help from U.S. Presbyterian missions. The current Presbyterian Church of Venezuela (Iglesia Presbiteriana de Venezuela – IPV) is small in numbers and has two synods, but it is strong in theological impact and witness. Due to the national economic crisis and extreme food insecurity, even situations of famine, the Venezuelan Church has opted to prioritize the church wide mission of feeding programs that include food pantries, food deliveries, and eating halls in church buildings. Every congregation of the IPV is involved in this ministry.
With funding from our Endowment Foundation, GPPC is expanding our support of world missions through the Venezuelan Mission Network (VMN) – between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the IPV. The VMN began its work in 2017 to encourage mission partnerships between the US and Venezuelan congregations, including prayer, sharing faith stories, and exchanging pastoral visits and resources. The network, which also includes multiple partners from the Latin American alliance of Reformed Churches and friends from the Latin American Council of Churches, meets monthly via internet, supports the pastoral visits of the PC(USA) mission personnel in Latin America to the IPV, and is currently preparing to host a peacemaker from the IPV to the PC(USA).
Matilde Moros, member of the GPPC Session, is Moderator of the VMN. Mati is bi-national, and Venezuela is her birthplace. Mati’s grandparents were founding pastoral staff of the IPV and her parents have both served as pastors in the IPV. Her baptism into the IPV connects her deeply to that church community and has served as a catalyst for welcoming the new mission structure of the mission network between PCUSA and the IPV.
GPPC has a long tradition of supporting Presbyterian mission work around the world, bearing testimony to God’s healing and transforming love for all people everywhere. We are grateful to add the VMN to our global mission partners.
Note: A May 2018 article in the Presbyterian Outlook provides more information on the church’s response to the current situation in Venezuela.
Amy Clark is the chair of GPPC’s Endowment Foundation. She and husband Rick are longtime church members who provide leadership with our annual efforts involving CARITAS and neighborhood block parties. They also keep bees and grandchildren.