South America

Ecuador, Evangelical United Church

Contact: Bishop Silvio Cevallos Parra
Other Casilla 17-03-236, Rumipamba 915, (E2-48) y Republica Quito EcuadorWork Phone: 593 22 265 158Work Fax: 593 22 439 576
Photo of Ecuador, Evangelical United Church

The United Evangelical Church of Ecuador grew out of the work of the United Andean Indian Mission (northern and southern Presbyterian, UCC and UM) and the Church of the Brethren. These two missions began work in 1946 and 1947 with indigenous communities.
In 1960 the UAIM began steps toward organizing congregations, and the Brethren were forming a small denomination, with a total membership in both groups of about 500, in 10 congregations. A Latin American Mission Board, representing Methodists and Waldensians, was considering work in Ecuador.
A study commission of these three groups recommended to the United Andean Indian Mission and the Brethren in November 1962 that they form a United Church, and to the Latin Americans that they work with this group. All groups accepted the proposal. In 1965 the dream of a national church was realized, and Latin American Methodists sent their first missionaries. In 1966 a Center of Theological Studies was formed to train local leaders of the United Church and other churches.
Twelve years later there were 16 congregations with a membership of about 1,000. The road has been difficult, but there have been positive steps. The old categories of missionary, pastor and layman have given way to co-worker. The evangelical “ghetto” has been broken, with Christians discovering anew the world, and a gospel for the total person. We have accepted the cost of discipleship and are learning how to confront the challenges of a modern world.
The church went through a crisis growing out of loss of confidence in leadership, poor administration, and abuse of authority. In 1976 the church named new leadership and began to move forward.