A few days ago the pastor of the Covenant Church in the eastern section of the Manrique neighborhood of Medellin, Albeiro Agudelo, was able to come to a regional meeting of Churches and pastors. It was a surprise to many people present to see the “new” face amongst them. They didn’t know that Pastor Albeiro was pastoring one of the first daughter Churches planted by the first Covenant Church of Colombia more than 20 years ago. The majority of the others in attendance had become a part of the Covenant of Colombia after the division of Covenant Churches occurred in 1992. The Manrique Oriental neighborhood Covenant Church, along with two other Covenant Churches in 1992, stayed with the Association of Covenant Churches of Colombia (ADIPEC) while eight other Covenant Churches left the Association and, recently, formed a new Federation of Covenant Churches (FIPEC), along with 27 other Covenant Churches that had been planted and formed (FIPEC).
Pastor Albeiro is the last Pastor of one of these three Covenant Churches to come to a meeting of the “new” Federated Covenant. For a few of the current Covenant Pastors, who have knowledge and history of being with the Covenant over the past 25 years or more, including Gary, it was a blessing to see Pastor Albeiro attend the meeting. No one knew if the Covenant of Colombia, in spite of its history of division (in 1992) and in spite of its growth and transformation as a Covenant body of Churches and Social Action Ministries, could ever grow to include all of those who have been a part of its life, both past and present. Sometimes, it seems, that when someone leaves, they are also forgotten or no one is persistent in looking for them and reaching out to them. But, some of the pastors who have been with the Covenant since its beginnings have looked out for Pastor Albeiro and have always told him he is welcome. The new Covenant President elect, Pastor Javier Gomez, is one of those who is always looking for those who have left and are candidates to return.
It has been interesting to “re-connect” with these three Churches, and their daughter Churches that they have planted over the past few years. What has been found is that these Churches remain “Covenant” in vision and mission and action and instill that in their church plants. In fact, they have more Covenant DNA in them than many of the newer Covenant Churches. The Covenant could learn a lot from these “old” Covenant Churches as they “return” to the Covenant. Pray with us as we watch and participate in what God is doing.