Presbyterians Use Theological Education to Strengthen Missions

The entrepreneurial work of the Interchurch Center for Theological and Social Studies in Managua, Nicaragua, is among the groups to be highlighted during SDOP Sunday on March 13. Source: Presbyterian Mission

The Presbyterian Church is further expanding its missionary work and ministry in Nicaragua.

For nearly four decades, Interchurch Center for Theological and Social Studies (El Centro Intereclesial de Estudios Teológicos y Sociales or CIEETS) has provided transformative theological education and implemented community development programs in rural areas of Nicaragua.

“This effort is aimed at the human development of the most vulnerable churches and communities in Nicaragua,” CIEETS executive director Rev. Jairo Arce told the Presbyterian Mission. “It has encouraged dialogue and reflection on economic, social, and ecological issues of national interest that establish justice and peace, which are vital to the development of the country.”

Part of this effort is made possible by funding from the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP).

“Having the support of SDOP allowed us to solve economic problems for a good number of families and get ahead by improving their family economies,” Arce said. “The Self-Development of People project has come to help in the search for entrepreneurship with poor, unemployed families, with the participation of mostly women.”

Arce said, in recent years, CIEETS has faced numerous challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely impacted the communities the group serves.

In addition to the pandemic, “it has faced natural disasters, including back-to-back hurricanes that struck the region in the fall of 2020, domestic and community violence, and loss of support from agencies with revised policies for working with faith-based organizations; and conservative religious movements in the country that run counter to CIEETS’ message and work.”

Arce said that working with SDOP has been a good fit for CIEETS because it addresses “the reality of poverty and the needs of the unemployed people with whom we work and the challenge of responding from Christian practice to the needs of the most vulnerable.”

Source: Presbyterian Mission