Amor Viviente (Living Love) Movement
Organización Cristiana Amor Viviente is an organized church which resulted from a charismatic youth ministry in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, from 1973 to 1983. Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities (MC) missionaries, Ed and Gloria King, had a burden and vision for reaching youth caught up in drugs, alcohol, and prostitution, and youth abandoned by parents. The established churches did not seem to be reaching these socially rejected youth. An informal, friendly coffee shop setting was appealing to the youth. Among the first few attending, several testified of being healed, liberated, and having relationships restored. Word spread rapidly among other youth, and the Kings were soon overwhelmed with requests for prayer and personal counseling. Many of the youth had high school and university training. They learned rapidly from the Kings' personal leadership, and soon became involved in ministry to others. Weekend rallies were held in local school facilities and parks. Contemporary music kept attracting new followers. Parents who were impressed by the changes in their own daughters and sons soon joined. A Christian bookstore was established in Tegucigalpa, and the campus of the Eastern Board 's former missionary children 's school outside the capital city became an alcoholic rehabilitation center staffed partially by Amor Viviente personnel.
Some of these redeemed youth and couples were commissioned to begin work in other Honduran cities and towns. Amor Viviente groups were established in Puerto Cortez in 1977, Danli and Choluteca in 1978, San Pedro Sula in 1980, El Paraiso in 1981, and La Ceiba and Progreso in 1984. The first group in a rural community was at Moroceli in 1986. In 1981 the Child Feeding Center, "Ebenezer," was set up in an impoverished area of Tegucigalpa In August 1985, in coordination with the Eastern Mennonite Mission Board, Amor Viviente commissioned a pastoral couple to go as missionaries to New Orleans to work with Ed and Gloria King in reaching out to the 40,000 Hondurans there. Amor Viviente held large public meetings in public school facilities and used rented office facilities until 1985. With the help of a loan from the Eastern Board, they built an attractive building that includes an auditorium that seats 1,200 people, and space for a video-audio recording studio, a print shop, and administrative and counseling offices.
Amor Viviente continued to have a strong centralized leadership structure. After 1983 when the Kings left Honduras, Rene Peñalva was both pastor of the Tegucigalpa congregation and national director of this movement of about 2,500 members in 15 congregations. Each congregation followed the pattern of having a limited number of large meetings and many small growth and discipleship groups. The movement is associated with Mennonite World Conference but continues to have very limited contact and interaction with all other church groups in Honduras.
In 1998 a division saw Rene Peñalva leave Amor Viviente to form his own organization, the Centro Cristiano Internacional. A number of people followed Peñalva in that division.
In 2013, after decades of misunderstanding and little collaboration, Organización Cristiana Amor Viviente and Iglesia Evangelica Menonita Hondureña (IEMH), the two largest Anabaptist groups in Honduras, publicly reconciled with each other and actively worked at improving their relationship. While the two churches never engaged in large-scale conflict with each other, there had been tensions between them since the 1970s.
In 2003 the Organización Cristiana Amor Viviente had over 10,000 members in 48 congregations. 7,600 members lived in Honduras. The 2,400 others were in 28 congregations in the following countries: USA (12), Canada (2), Nicaragua (2), and one each in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, and Chile. Javier Orlando Soler Sánchez served as Presidente of the organization.
Fretz, Chris. "Honduran Anabaptist groups reconcile." Mennonite World Conference. 13 March 2015. Web. https://www.mwc-cmm.org/content/honduran-anabaptist-groups-reconcile.
Kraybill, Paul N., ed. Mennonite World Handbook. Lombard, Ill.: Mennonite World Conference, 1978: 221-224.
Mennonite World Handbook Supplement. Strassbourg, France, and Lombard, Ill.: Mennonite World Conference, 1984: 80.
|Samuel J. Steiner|
|Date Published||July 2016|
Cite This Article
Yoder, Amzie and Samuel J. Steiner. "Amor Viviente (Living Love) Movement." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2016. Web. 19 Jan 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Amor_Viviente_(Living_Love)_Movement&oldid=165773.
Yoder, Amzie and Samuel J. Steiner. (July 2016). Amor Viviente (Living Love) Movement. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 January 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Amor_Viviente_(Living_Love)_Movement&oldid=165773.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 22-23. All rights reserved.
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