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Last updated November 24.

Jan. 11, 2010 issue

Congregations merge in Spain

By Melanie Hess Mennonite Mission Network

BURGOS, Spain — In a world where church splits are common, Burgos Mennonite Church did something unusual.

Youth from Burgos Mennonite and Christian Evangelical churches in Burgos, Spain, prepare to serve at the fusion ceremony of the two congregations. In the back, from left, are Leah Gimenez, Vivian Porter, Melisa Costas, Samuel Hidalgo, Andrés Speas, Lander Cámara and Omar Ortega. In the middle are Elena Gimenez and Irene Lozano. In front are Clara Vallejo, Mariana Benito, Isaac Menendez and Josue Salvador.

Youth from Burgos Mennonite and Christian Evangelical churches in Burgos, Spain, prepare to serve at the fusion ceremony of the two congregations. In the back, from left, are Leah Gimenez, Vivian Porter, Melisa Costas, Samuel Hidalgo, Andrés Speas, Lander Cámara and Omar Ortega. In the middle are Elena Gimenez and Irene Lozano. In front are Clara Vallejo, Mariana Benito, Isaac Menendez and Josue Salvador. — Photo by MMN

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.

Comments

  • Our church is featuring the Bylers' as our Missionary of the month and I wanted to know if they might have any specific prayer requests?

    - Carolyn (sep 14 at 2:12 p.m.)

  • good to know of your works as called out ones by GOD FOR THE PEOPLE who are looking for satisfaction that they cant get from the world of principle. i salute you for that! by the way me i clarify pls if what specific church you came from before this church? thanks for giving this access to me. i am a follower of God too here in hong kong but not a residence. pls do notify me of anything that i or you will share. thanks again and to God be the glory!

    - joy catagan (jun 28 at 3:18 a.m.)

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