Support for Rev. Milton Mejía
|Mission co-worker in Colombia urges support for Synod
executive in Colombia, under threat for his defense of human rights
PCUSA mission co-worker Alice Winters calls our
attention to serious threats against Milton Mejía, and offers specific
information to help us contact the President of Colombia on his behalf.
See also the Presbyterian
News Service report on threats against the Rev. Milton Mejía, and the
"escape" from custody of the man who threatened him.
Many of you have seen the article sent out by PCUSA NEWS
entitled, "Man who threatened Colombian pastor escapes jail." We are
grateful for the overwhelming response of so many who are asking, "What can
The pastor in question, Rev. Milton Mejía, is a former
student of mine. He graduated from our seminary in the 80's and married a
classmate, now the Rev. Adelaida Jiménez. They have two small children.
Adelaida is pastor of the Ninth Presbyterian Church of Barranquilla as well
as chaplain of the prestigious Colegio Americano ("American School"), one of
a number of elementary-high school complexes operated by the Presbyterian
Church of Colombia.
Milton is Moderator of the session of Fourth Church, but
he serves principally as the Executive Secretary of the Synod of the
Presbyterian Church of Colombia. He is also on the Board of the Reformed
University where I serve. If you are one of those who have requested the
video about our university, you will have seen Milton and heard him speak.
(If you have not yet made your request, we still have copies available for
During the past 20 years, as the violence in Colombia has
increased, Milton Mejía has established a national and international
reputation as a defender of human rights. He has developed and participated
in the church's programs for displaced persons, and he constantly challenges
other church groups and individuals to become involved. He has given
leadership to several different organizations that work for peace and
justice in Colombia, and he can tell you all kinds of statistics about the
situation here, such as the number of labor leaders who have been
assassinated. That number would astonish you - being a labor leader in
Colombia can be dangerous for your health.
The thing is, being a defender of human rights can also be
dangerous for your health. Last fall Milton began receiving telephone
threats against his life and that of his family. He reported those threats,
and the police traced the calls to a paramilitary leader who was arrested
and held without bail. But while he was awaiting trial, something happened.
This past week Milton learned that the man who threatened him was no longer
in custody. Government officials say he escaped.
The Colombian church has sent letters to partner churches
around the world asking them to uphold Milton and his family in prayer and
to be ready to provide assistance should an emergency arise. You too can
have a part in protecting Milton and his family:
1. Pray for him regularly and often.
2. Write a letter to the President of Colombia. It is
important for the Colombian government to know that many Americans are aware
of Milton's situation and concerned about what may happen. The President's
address is as follows
Dr. Alvaro Uribe Vélez
Palacio de Nariño
Carrera 8 No.7-26,
Fax: 00 57 1 286 74 34/286, 68 42/284 21 86
Here is a model letter, drawn up by Milton himself, which
you may wish to follow.
|Dear Mr. President:
We have learned that persons who have identified
themselves as representatives of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia -
AUC - have been making calls to Milton Mejía Camargo, Executive
Secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia. These calls have
tried to intimidate him and threatened both Mr. Mejía and his family
if he failed to cooperate with them.
These calls were denounced to the proper authorities
and on the 27th of November, 2003, a person was caught red handed in
the act of making such calls. He was identified as Nicolás Alfonso
Pezzano Bornacelly. However, at this time this individual is reported
to have escaped from custody.
As a result, we are asking that special protection
be guaranteed for Pastor Milton Mejía. We would also ask you to
clarify the circumstances under which Nicolás Alfonso Pezzano
Bornacelly left the District Jail of Barranquilla.
It would be helpful if you would let me know when you have
sent a letter to the President, and I would be happy to pass on to Milton
any personal word you may wish to send assuring him of your support and
concern at this difficult time. Blessings on you ...
Please note my new email address
greetings and thanks for solidarity, from the Presbyterian Church of
We recently posted an appeal for letters
in support of the Rev. Milton Mejía, who currently serves as the Executive
Secretary of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia
We've just received a letter of Easter greeting and thanks
from the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, via PC(USA) mission co-worker
We encourage you to read this letter, and to see how
important such Christian solidarity can be.
Para: Iglesias Hermanas y Organismo Ecuménicos.
To: Sister churches and ecumenical
Presbiteriana de Colombia.
From: Presbyterian Church of Colombia
Asunto: Saludo de Pascua y agradecimiento.
Re: Easter greetings and
Fecha: 21 de abril de 2003
Date: April 21, 2003
Estimados Hermanos y Hermanas.
Dear brothers and sisters
En estos días en los cuales hemos compartido con las
Iglesias el sentido de la entrega y resurrección de Jesús, agradecemos por
sus mensajes de solidaridad, sus oraciones y por el envió de una gran
cantidad de cartas al presidentes de Colombia pidiendo la protección de
nuestro hermano Milton Mejía.
In these days when we have shared with our churches the
meaning of the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, we thank you for your
messages of solidarity, your prayers, and for the many letters that have
been sent to the President of Colombia asking for protection for our brother
Sentir la solidaridad de hermanos y hermanas en la
distancia nos afirma que la resurrección de Jesús es un camino para afirmar
que es posible resistir la impunidad que muchos colombianos y colombianas,
están sufriendo a causa del compromiso por la defensa de la vida en estos
momentos en que la situación de nuestro país se deteriora a causa de la
violencia que nos imponen los actores del conflicto.
To feel the solidarity of brothers and sisters far away
reminds us that the resurrection of Jesus affirms that it is possible to
stand against the unpunished attacks that many Colombian men and women are
suffering because of their commitment to defend life at this time when the
situation of our country is worsening because of the violence being carried
out by those who are carrying on the conflict.
Les mantendremos informados de la forma como avance el
proceso y de las acciones que haya que realizar para garantizar la seguridad
de nuestro hermano y para que este hecho no quede en la impunidad.
We will keep you informed as the case develops and of any
additional actions that must be taken to guarantee the security of our
brother so that these threats will not go unpunished.
Fraternalmente en nombre del resucitado.
With brotherly love in the name of the Risen One,
Rev. Diego Higuita .
Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia
ratified (or not) by the presbyteries
A number of the most important actions of the 219th
General Assembly are now being sent to the presbyteries for their
action, to confirm or reject them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book
We're providing resources to help inform the
reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.
Our three areas of primary interest are:
which would remove the current ban on
lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as
possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.|
which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of
10-1, which would adopt the new Form of Government
that was approved by the Assembly. |
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