VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/8/18)—On June 7, 2018, Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), in consultation with leaders and missionaries from International Ministries, wrote a letter to the Consulate General of Nicaragua in Washington, DC, to express American Baptist concern over recent events in Nicaragua.
Political unrest has led protests throughout the country. At least 97 protestors have been killed by forces loyal to the government. According to reliable sources, 868 people have been wounded and 438 others detained. The Council of Protestant Churches of Nicaragua (CEPAD) asked ABCUSA to undertake this initiative.
ABCUSA has a long and distinguished record of service in Nicaragua, alongside the Convención Bautista de Nicaragua (CBN), founded in 1917, and other Christians in Nicaragua. ABC-related mission work includes the Baptist Hospital of Managua, UPOLI, CEPAD and PROVADENIC. Dr. Gustavo Parajon, an American Baptist missionary who founded PROVADENIC and helped found CEPAD, also played an important role in the signing of the peace accords following the civil war.
ABCUSA’s collaboration with Nicaragua continues with AMOS, a rural primary health care program founded ten years ago by American Baptist missionaries Drs. David and Laura Parajon, to extend the valuable work that PROVADENIC began.
In his letter, Spitzer shared ABCUSA’s deep concern over the series of incidents that have resulted in the loss of life of innocent citizens. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, on May 30 alone 15 people were killed and 199 were injured in Managua, Estelí and Masaya. He wrote:
“Accordingly, American Baptists wish to express our sincere hope for a peaceful resolution to the current situation facing your country. In solidarity with our Baptist sisters and brothers in Nicaragua, we sincerely request that the full range of civil and political rights of protestors be respected by the government and its surrogates, and that violence against demonstrators cease. Furthermore, American Baptists, based on our historic conviction that freedom is a fundamental human right and essential for a just society, strongly urge that all segments of the Nicaraguan society work towards the restoration of democratic institutions in Nicaragua.”
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.