21 Jan Mexico: Report from Bishop Denis Casco
Denis Casco, as bishop of Mexico Conference, gave his General Conference report on Monday afternoon, January 11.
Denis is a native of Honduras who was brought by Global Ministries to the United States to found Latin American Ministries, a major attempt to establish United Brethren churches among Hispanic people.
While in that role, he began working with a number of churches in central Mexico. In 2005, those churches were accepted as a UB national conference. Denis, though he actually lives in the Los Angeles area, serves as bishop of the UB churches in Mexico.
Here are some highlights from his report.
- “Mexico is in its first love,” he said.
- The churches are divided into eight districts.
- Some of the churches are located in Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, two cities which face each other across the border. This means some Mexico Conference churches are actually located in the United States.
- Most of the United Brethren churches in Mexico, and the largest ones, are located in the central part of the country. This is also where you find some of the largest cities, like Mexico City.
- “It’s so beautiful to work when the bishop is well received by the pastors, when the opinion of the bishop has a value, and they feel that the bishop is important for the spiritual growth of the ministers.”
- They are developing a work in the southern part of the country, including ministry to the indigenous Tarasco people.
- Music is very important in Mexico.
- The youth movement is very strong in Mexico, and they have well-organized women’s ministries.
- Denis says they lost a few churches over money. “Many times, pastors seek only for the money; they look for a way to develop their own church and then become independent. I don’t like this , but it happens. And when he happens, I feel that I have finished my work with those churches. I cannot say I’ve let them go; they have gone by themselves, and what can we do?”
- Mexico Conference owns about 30 properties. The church buildings have been acquired with Mexican funds. However, Hispanic churches in the States are an important source of financial support. “We need resources to continue the work in Mexico. My mentality is that Mexicans should develop by themselves. We have shown it over the years, and it makes me proud.”
- “I’m very happy with what is happening in Mexico. We do not have statistics on how many were baptized, because churches are usually baptizing people every week. We have a problem of immigration, of people going back and forth to America. We have brethren in Canada, and people who come to spend the end of the year in Mexico.”
- He mentioned his week-long trip to Mexico with Jeff Bleijerveld in December 2009. “He easily acquired the love of the Mexican people. I felt a little jealous.”