Our Participation in Iglesia Evangélica Luterana del Ecuador (IELE)
The Church of the Advent was originally established as a Lutheran congregation by Swiss and German “ex-pats” over 50 years ago. Within this context an English-speaking congregation soon grew up, and somewhat later a Spanish-speaking congregation. With financial support from German Protestant churches, as well as the Lutheran World Federation, the shared sanctuary, parsonage facilities, and classrooms were constructed. Because of this history the three congregations are organizationally interdependent under Lutheran auspices, and this remained the case when the English-speaking congregation merged with the Episcopal congregation of St. Nicholas in the late 1970s. [Our History] The German, English, and Spanish-speaking congregations co-exist under a single institutional umbrella called Iglesia Evangélica Luterana del Ecuador (IELE). [IELE website]
Each of the three congregations has its own pastor, officers, and governing board, and each manages its own services, programs, and finances. None of the congregations, however, is an independent body. IELE is the legal entity recognized by the government of Ecuador, under which we “do the church’s business.” For example, our ability to pay employees depends on IELE’s tax ID number, and the Pastor of Advent-St. Nicholas is in Ecuador on a missionary visa obtained under IELE auspices. IELE is the “owner” of the church facilities shared by all three congregations.
IELE is governed by the Consejo Directivo (Executive Council) made up of three representatives from each congregation, one of which is the President of the congregation, as well as the three pastors. The Consejo Directivo manages the operations of the facilities and the staff, and leads IELE’s interface with Ecuadorian and world-wide organizations that support various programs and interfaith activities. Each congregation contributes approximately one-third of the IELE budget.
The three congregations worship together on three occasions annually: Reformation Day, the First Sunday of Advent, and Pentecost. More recently the three congregations have also worshiped together on the First Friday of the Month and for Festival Days like Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
The Pastors of the three congregations jointly preside at the festive celebration of Pentecost 2011
Special music for the Pentecost service was provided by a brass ensemble from Brass Band del Ecuador
Members of the three congregations occasionally cooperate in various projects and come together for social events.