By Carolyn Poteet*.
The 36th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) formalized a growing partnership with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (La Iglesia Nacional Presbiteriana de México or INPM) by approving a formal fraternal agreement last Friday (6/24/16).
The agreement will lay the groundwork for church planting in both the United States and northeastern Mexico. The relationship will allow the two denominations to consider new forms of missionary or ministerial involvement, mutual learning, and unify a search for new and relevant routes to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
“I firmly believe our partnership is a gift from God,” said Gerrit Dawson, the chair of the EPC’s permanent Committee on Fraternal Relations.
Three representatives of INPM joined the General Assembly the day before to bring greetings from the 6,000 Presbyterian churches in Mexico. Amador Hernandez, Adolfo Job and Camarillo Vasquez described their three primary objectives of the partnership: planting of churches in both countries, enhancing education in seminaries and local schools, and relating church to church as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Hernandez, the Moderator of the INPM General Assembly, told the commissioners, “Sometimes we think as a church that we are alone in the world, but the truth is when we unite with all the believers in Christ, we see that we are a great power for the glory of God. Our invitation is that we would come together and work as a team to share the gospel of Christ.”
Plans are being developed to plant churches in Charlotte, N.C., as well as in the EPC’s Presbytery of the Great Plains. The INPM also is planning a church plant in northeastern Mexico with a multi-ethnic team from Mexico, the U.S. and South Korea.
The INPM now has three formalized partnerships with churches in the United States – the EPC, the Reformed Church in America, and the Christian Reformed Church. The PCUSA had been in partnership with the INPM for more than 100 years, but the Mexican church ended that partnership in 2011 because of the PCUSA’s rulings on morality standards for ordained clergy.
In addition to the formalized agreement with the INPM, the EPC also approved an agreement with the 3.5-million-member Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (Fiangonan’i Jesoa Kristy eto Madagasikara).
*The Rev. Carolyn Poteet is a teaching elder with the EPC Presbytery of the Alleghenies and served as clerk for the Fraternal Relations Committee at last week’s EPC General Assembly.