Thank you for praying with us this week for Dr. César Lopes in Brazil.
The most biodiverse country on earth, Brazil comprises rich and varied ecosystems, including Amazon rainforest, Guiana highlands, and tropical savannah. Nearly four million animal and plant species live in Brazil, from jaguars and toucans to armadillos and piranhas to Brazilwood trees and carnivorous sun pitcher plants. Brazil is also the largest and most populous Latin American nation, with over 217 million residents (65% Catholic, 22% Protestant, 8% irreligious). In recent years, illegal mining on indigenous lands, pollution, and rapid deforestation have hastened a humanitarian crisis and environmental degradation. Recently, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed a decree banning mining and restricting commercial farming on six new indigenous reserves.
César is President of CETI (Community of Interdisciplinary Theological Studies) Continental, which promotes theological formation and transformational leadership across Latin America. He also serves as Program Director for Online Education at Faculdade de Teologia de São Paulo da Igreja Presbiteriana Independente (FATIPI) in São Paulo, Brazil. ScholarLeaders supported César for his PhD in Education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Check out his 2014 Global Insights: Theology from Below. César and his wife Amanda have two daughters in college, Giovana and Luiza.
César shares the following message:
Since July 2022 I have been serving fulltime as President of CETI Continental, founded in the 1980s by a group that included Catalina and René Padilla. As an innovative and contextual community, CETI commits to doing theology from life in order to nurture holistic, authentic, and transformative ways of living out God’s kingdom and justice in Latin American contexts.
The pandemic vastly impacted our face-to-face programs, but in the last year we have been reopening many of our non-formal grassroots study circles, as well as strengthening our online master’s program. Currently, we have students from 12 different countries in the Americas.
I ask you to join me in prayer for the following requests.
1) Pray for the strengthening of the Latin American Church for true and holistic witnessing to the Gospel. We have been growing numerically over the last few decades, but we still seem stuck between a captivity to the prosperity gospel and a suspicion of contextual theologies raised in Latin American soil. The overall result is a lack of relevant public witness. However, we do see God acting through many faith communities that are increasingly engaging challenges in their own contexts.
2) Pray for the first gathering of the extended CETI Community in many years. We are holding the first “Caty and René Padilla Summit” in July. The summit will honor the pioneering work of CETI founders in Latin America and the international Evangelical sphere. It will also provide space to continue developing theologies from and for Latin America.
3) Pray for the strengthening of CETI´s programs. With old and new local partners in several Latin American countries, we continue to discuss launching new study groups for our certificate programs, while recruiting students to form, by July 2023, a new cohort of our master’s program. We are constantly seeking financial support for our ongoing endeavors, as well as for new initiatives that can strengthen our programs and address current needs.
4) Pray for my family, as we go through a time of life transitions, especially for my daughters in their college years.