Bolivian church leader visits state


Photo by Holly McCray

Eugenio Poma, a former bishop in Bolivia, left, presents a sculpture of the Last Supper to Oklahoma’s bishop, Robert Hayes Jr. The art is created from clay in Bolivia.

During his May visit here, Eugenio Poma told Oklahoma United Methodists about his past service as a bishop of the Evangelical Methodist Church of Bolivia and, now, as that nation’s ambassador to Denmark, a key trading partner.

Bolivia’s Methodists, largely poor, offer a prophetic voice to Americans, Poma said.

The Bolivian Church and the Oklahoma Conference are ministry partners. Projects in Bolivia range from developing safe water systems for villages to pastoral support and church building projects. Bolivia’s indigenous people educate Oklahomans on growing spiritually and ministering among the poor.

In September, an Oklahoma VIM team will work at a medical clinic there.

The 2011 Annual Conference offering totaled about $64,000 as of July 1. One-third of that amount supports the partnership work.

That funding will be used for building two churches in Bolivia, according to David Stephenson of Tulsa, VIM liaison for the partnership.

Bolivian Methodists are building a chapel in Achacachi, Rev. Stephenson said, a town where the movement started to secure human rights for the indigenous people. In that town, the Church continues to preach peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness, Stephenson said.

The second church building project is still to be determined.

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