Congregations merge in SpainBy Melanie Hess Mennonite Mission Network
BURGOS, Spain — In a world where church splits are common, Burgos Mennonite Church did something unusual.
It merged with another congregation.
Christian Evangelical Church and Burgos Mennonite, after years of sharing a meeting space and working together in street evangelism, cemented their merger with a celebration Oct. 25.
“It was billed as a wedding of sorts. We even held a reception afterwards,” said Dennis Byler, a long-term mission worker with Mennonite Mission Network, with his wife, Connie, and a member of Burgos Mennonite.
As the churches transition into their new role as one, they have some decisions to make about their joint future.
“It feels like most of the practical details still need to be worked out, like in all marriages,” Byler said. “We haven’t even decided on a name for the church… . But we are certain to continue our affiliation with the Anabaptist network of churches in Spain and, through that association, with the Mennonite World Conference.”
The pastor at Burgos, Agustin Melguizo, will continue as pastor of the new church. The other congregation had been led by a team of elders, which will now join the Burgos elders in an expanded leadership team.
The newly joined churches are also working to build a new home.
“We have begun the construction of a building which may be ready for us to move to in about a year,” Byler said. “At that point, our present facility will be turned over to the church youth for their outreach ministry.”
The Bylers’ longtime involvement in Spain has been a major factor in the development of the local church. Dennis Byler’s years as founding pastor and teacher of Anabaptist values and Connie Byler’s modeling of the role of women in leadership continue to be influential, not only to the members of Burgos Mennonite but also to other local churches.
“This sister church has been so blessed by our way of being church,” said Connie Byler, “that they wanted not only to learn from us, but also to be a part of us.”
Editor’s note: This article is edited from a previous online version.
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