Honduran Mennonite pastor murderedBy Ron Rempel Mennonite World Conference
Rafael Erasmo Arevalo, 42, a Mennonite pastor in Honduras, was attacked and killed after leading an evening worship service in Veracruz on Jan. 22.
Arevalo, from Santa Rosa de Copán, drove about 12 miles north to Veracruz, where he had led worship services for the past 10 years.
According to a report in La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper, Arevalo parked his car at the home of a Veracruz city councilor and then walked to the church. When he returned to his car after the worship service, he was attacked by unknown assailants. His severely beaten body was not discovered until the next morning, about three miles from the scene of the attack.
Arevalo’s funeral was held on Jan. 24 in his home community of Santa Rosa de Copán.
“We ask your prayers for his wife, children and church,” wrote Erlinda Robelo, executive director of MAMA (Mujeres Amigas/Women Friends Miles Apart) an education and service agency of the Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Hondureña (Evangelical Mennonite Church of Honduras). “The church laments his premature death.”
In a Jan. 24 email, Robelo reported police still had no details of who was responsible for the murder. She indicated that Arevalo, affectionately called Mito, will be remembered for “his great spirit of service to the church and its neighbors.”
Jan. 22 was World Fellowship Sunday, when churches related to Mennonite World Conference are invited to celebrate their connection to a global faith family. Iglesia Evangélica Menonita Hondureña is one of two MWC member churches in Honduras.
Mennonite Central Committee representative Andres Zorrilla said the church and the community were shocked by Arevalo’s passing and the brutality of his murder.
“Erasmo was a neat guy, with a big heart and a giving spirit,” Zorrilla said. “He was a soft-spoken man who was well liked by folks in church and the community. He was a loving husband and good father to his six children.
“Along with his pastoral work in the outskirts of Santa Rosa Copán, he was the unofficial youth worker in the Santa Rosa Mennonite Church.”
In a United Nations study released last fall, Honduras was found to have the world’s highest homicide rate, 82.1 per 100,000 people. The world average is 6.9.
Contributing: Mennonite Weekly Review staff.
Comment on the article Honduran Mennonite pastor murdered
Please keep comments civil. MWR editors reserve the right to remove any comment. When posting a comment, you agree to the MWR Comments Policy. Name and comment will be posted; commenters are strongly encouraged to give their full name. Email address is for follow-up only and will not be made public.