PASTORAL LETTER FROM UEPV
1. 1. IN THE NAME OF THE GOD OF JUSTICE AND PEACE IN WHOM WE BELIEVE WE ASK, WE PRAY, WE DEMAND THE IMMEDIATE CESSATION OF ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE IN VENEZUELA
The Venezuelan Evangelical Pentecostal Union (UEPV) , its churches, pastors, and bishops, in fellowship with the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ in the United States and Canada, in the name of the God of Peace and Life to whom we pray, believe, demand the immediate cessation of all violence in Venezuela, repudiate the call made by Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado to exercise violence and destabilize our country disrespecting democratic institutions, laws and the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, given that this incitement to hatred and violence has led their followers and activists to commit grave acts against our people resulting in several tragic deaths, hundreds of injured people, the destruction of public works which serve the people, the hospitalization of children, and the destruction of public transportation.
From the very moment the Venezuelan National Electoral Council issued the results of the elections of December 8, 2013 in which the vast majority of the Venezuelan people voted and elected 255 Bolivarian mayors against 75 Bolivarian municipalities won by the opposition, sector opponents abandoned the democratic electoral process to use violence in the streets as a political weapon to overthrow the government that the people themselves legitimately elected this last April.
As agents of faith our mission is to show the world the grace of the God that saves, therefore we completely reject the project of war and violence that minority sectors in Venezuela are orchestrating with the help of foreign forces seeking to incite the country by advocating a fratricidal war.
In the name of the God of peace in which we believe, we urge the proponents of violence and war as a weapon to listen to the voices that are raised by all parties in opposition to violence because war does not guarantee wellbeing or security for any person or nation; violence only sows horror, misery and the destruction of all creation; violence goes against the great plan of God that is abundant life for all, justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
Given these grave facts, we call on our churches, our leaders, all Christians in Venezuela and the people in general to not be persuaded by this provocation to violence and hatred. Instead, let us with the power of the Holy Spirit of God invoke the teachings of peace of Jesus of Nazareth "BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, FOR THEY SHALL BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD" (Matthew 5:9. NRSV).
1. 2. PEACE AND RECONCILIATION: A MOAN, A CRY, A SHOUT THAT COMES FROM THE DEPTHS OF THE SOUL OF OUR PEOPLE.
The constitutional President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro Moros, has called for the resolves and live forces of this country, particularly the Christians sectors, to collaborate and work in unity for peace through the Movement for Life and Peace, a new social mission which is being proposed from the ecumenical Christian sectors and in dialogue with the government, called Internal Gospel Mission, to help in building the long-awaited peace by our people. We give our support, consideration and respect to President Nicolas Maduro and our firm intention to continue providing our committed efforts, our prayers, and our liberating spirituality, for the strengthening of that strategy articulated through peace that his common government of the people is developing.
1. 3. PEACE BUILDING CHURCHES
Congratulations to those Pentecostals churches that came out with their members in the midst of such violence, who were driven to pick up debris and clean streets in solidarity with those who have suffered violence, exemplifying with this gesture that peace and reconciliation is possible.
We join in prayer with Bishop Elida Quevedo of the Venezuelan Evangelical Pentecostal Union who, in the midst of so much tension, moved to Caracas to participate in a women's march for peace and to address the nation from the Miraflores palace calling for the pacification of the country by Christians who affirm peace and life.
In this regard we call on the leadership of the UEPV and the churches to convert our churches into sanctuaries of peace, and call on all the Venezuelan people to think of PEACE as the beatitude Jesus promised. Let us all seek that PEACE, building it from recognition and mutual respect in diversity, social inclusiveness, democracy, responsibility and participation, respect for the Constitution, the laws and Venezuelan institutions, justice, love, and solidarity.
We also urge our sister churches and the ecumenical movement to assess for signs of life and hope manifest in the current situation in Venezuela which identify with the liberating and transformative spirit of the gospel, and we invite you to join creatively and prophetically providing an evangelical participation and pastoral accompaniment consistent with biblical tenets and the historical-evangelical heritage from which we come.
“May the Lord continually bless you with heaven’s blessings as well as with human joys. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren! And may God bless Israel!” (Psalm 128:5-6 Living Bible)
Obispo. Gamaliel Lugo
National General Bishop UEPV
Obispo. Eseario Sosa Rodríguez
Deputy National General Bishop
Maracaibo, 22 February 2014
Source: Global Ministries: Disciples/UCC: http://globalministries.org/news/news/venezuelan-evangelical.html
Photo: Venezuelan Evangelical Pentecostal Union (National Assembly, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela)
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