CDIPE Draws Women from Latin America, U.S.

Post a Comment » Written on January 30th, 2007     
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OAXTEPEC, MEXICO (January 30, 2007) – Jubilant celebrations, worship and workshops combined to make the Latin American women’s triennial event a bigger success than any had imagined, says Wendy Mark, who with her husband, David, serve as regional coordinators for Latin America within the Department of World Mission of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC).

Organizers initially expected 100 registrants, but 220 women from the United States and seven Latin American nations attended Confraternidad de las Damas de la Iglesia Del Pacto Evangelico (CDIPE). The conference was held January 15-18 in this area that has been used as a resort since the time of Aztec Emperor Montezuma.

CDIPEWomen from seven Latin American countries attended CDIPE: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Spain, and Uruguay. Seven Covenant missionaries, 13 Hispanic women from the United States, and Ruth Hill, executive minister of Covenant Women of the ECC, also participated.

Each day began with Bible studies and workshops. Hill says she was especially moved by a  general gathering in which women formed tinfoil over their faces and used them as masks. They then paired up and were asked to speak from behind the masks about a wounded part of themselves that they have kept from others.

Hill chokes up and has to pause before recalling, “It was so wonderful to see these women sharing parts of their lives they had never shared, and beginning to get healing.”

Women learned of ways to bring healing to others in workshops that included topics about raising children, health issues, and serving in ministry. A workshop on domestic violence led by missionaries Patty and Pia Restrepo attracted 120 women – triple the number originally expected – and was widely considered a major highlight.

Patty Restrepo drew from her experience working at the Foundation for Family Development in Monterrey. Hill notes the topic was covered in a small workshop in the previous conference, but had grown into the best attended this year.

Special programs were featured each of the three evenings. Hill spoke the first night on the event’s theme, “United to be Light.” The second evening was filled with singing.

The parade of nations capped the conference. Arrayed in native dress, women from the Latin American countries sang or performed traditional dances. “They don’t have a lot of money, but they all brought these wonderful costumes,” says Flor Retamal of Chicago. “It was amazing.”

The participation of 27 women from Colombia was a source of excitement because a mix-up with their airline tickets had caused them to arrive late for the conference, Hill says.

Throughout the conference, women renewed and made friendships that will continue to foster ministry. The bond between the women from each country and the missionaries also was strengthened, Hill notes.

“It was a great joy to observe our Covenant missionaries,” Hill says. “It was obvious how deeply loved they are.”

The conference ended with worship on Sunday. “I heard seven short sermons that day and one was 50 minutes long!” Hill says. “I was deeply impressed with the preaching by the women and also the inspiring worship.”

“It was quite an experience,” Retamal says of the entire conference. “It was so well organized. I was really impressed.”

“I just hope ours is as good,” laughed Retamal, who is on the organizing committee for Triennial XII to be held in Chicago August 9-12. Registrations for the event can be made at the Triennial XII website.

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