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Partners in Colombia will visit for Annual Meeting

Martin Nates, director JUSTAPAZ and Pablo Martin, chair of CEDECOL (Council of Evangelical Churches of Colombia), PNC-DOC partner organizations in Colombia, will speak at the PNC-UCC Conference Annual Meeting, April 26 to 28, 2024, and the Northern Lights Regional Meeting of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) May 3 to 5, 2024.

Alex Maldenado Lizardi, Xiomara Cintron, Rick Russell, another participant and Mary Olney join in a Colombia partnership Zoom meeting.                  Photo courtesy of Global Ministries

Martin and Pablo were invited by the Global Ministries Committee of the PNC-UCC and Northern Lights Disciples.

They will also be available to visit congregations, youth, clergy, and community and civic organizations in the week between the two annual meetings.

Both JUSTAPAZ and CEDECOL are peace and justice organizations in Colombia.

Two national Global Ministries mission co-workers, Xiomara Cintron and Alex Maldenado Lizardi, work with JUSTAPAZ.

Mary Olney-Loyd for the Disciples and Corey Passons for the UCC are co-chairs of the Global Ministries Committee for the PNC-UCC and Disciples Region.

There are six Disciples and six UCC members on the regional Global Ministries Committee, which meets every two to three months.

They are recruiting churches and groups interested in hosting, translating, assisting with travel and providing speaking opportunities for Martin and Pablo in May.

They especially want to involve congregations with unique ministries that would be of interest to these global partners and would highlight ministries of both the PNC-UCC and the Northern Lights Region.

“We are also looking for persons who are fluent Spanish speakers and are willing and able to do simultaneous translation,” said Mary. 

Congregations with unique ministries, persons with connections with Congress persons, translators and others who are interested are encouraged to contact them.

Information on the UCC-DOC Colombia Partners and JUSTAPAZ is at

There are also videos, worship resources and music suggestions from the UCC-DOC mission co-workers in Colombia, Xiomara and Alex. 

Information about the PNC and Northern Lights partners, JUSTAPAZ and CEDECOL is at we work/ LA Caribbean/ Countries/ Colombia.

Mary said that Colombia partnership meetings, shared with the Northwest and East Coast partners, plus the national Global Ministries and the partners in Colombia, are usually held monthly on Zoom. They are open to anyone interested.

Fall meetings, however, have not been scheduled because Angel Luis Rivera-Agosto
global relations minister, Latin America and the Caribbean is traveling to countries in that region.

Corey said that attending even one or two of the Zoom sessions gives a taste of the work.

People who would like to join the Zoom meetings and learn about the partnership may contact Mary or Corey.

“It is an opportunity to learn about the incredible work the partners are doing for peace and justice in Colombia,” Mary said.

In August, the group heard from a woman who works with JUSTAPAZ and helps rural women know their rights and lift them up because there is much violence against women in rural areas,” she said.

Much of the violence, Mary observed, comes from the machismo of the Latin culture that is a factor in domestic violence. In addition, there is violence related to militias that remain in rural areas.

“The president of Colombia is working for total peace. JUSTAPAZ and CEDECOL, are included in new peace talks, working to establish total peace in the nation,” she commented.

“That is challenging and complex work,” said Mary. “U.S. newspapers usually call his administration leftist, but as Christians, how can we call work for peace and justice leftist. That work should be admired n our society.”

People fleeing from South American countries like Venezuela and Ecuador are fleeing through the Darian gap, a piece of land in northern Colombia that leads to Panama, she reported.

“They are fleeing for a better life and pay large amounts for guides to cross dangerous areas,” she said.

Corey said he has not attended all the partnership meetings but reviews the notes and has gained a deepening respect for the partners and their struggles as they seek to build real relationships.

In Colombia, when violence occurs, these organizations show up for survivors of domestic violence and bear witness to the wider violence. It does not stop, but solidarity is key to healing, Corey said.

“Violence against women is not just domestic violence but also from militias,” Mary said. “I am moved by the Christian faith of our partners and impressed by their strategic thinking and good planning as they work with programs to help people in need.”

For information, call206-949-8447, or email or, or visit



Pacific NW United Church of Christ Conference News © October 2023


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