Ten theological educators from Anglican churches across Central and South America gathered in Guatemala City last month for what has been described as a “ground-breaking” consultation on the migration crisis and how churches and their seminaries and training programmes can respond.
Hosted by the Theological Education department at the Anglican Communion Office (TEAC), the consultation was joined online by around 50 other participants for the first session, a webinar that heard from Loida Sardinas from Colombia and Gabriela Merayo from Argentina to discuss the global issue.
There are now more than 280 million migrants in the world, with 20 per cent of this total moving within Latin America and up to the US border. Many become victims of exploitation, xenophobia and racism. More than 100,000 people have disappeared in Mexico and Central America.
The consultation heard how migration is at the core of the Bible, from Abraham and the Exodus through the defining episode of the Exile for the people of Israel.
Elizabeth Cook from Costa Rica pointed out that the Bible had been written by migrants for migrants, and they were therefore brothers and sisters in need of respect, dignity and support.
Neli Miranda from Guatemala reminded the consultation that “missionary activity is the mother of theology and therefore theological education needs to located within the realities of the crisis”.
Papers from the consultation and video clips will be published online by TEAC shortly.