More than 500 years ago, the Spanish "Conquistadores" violently converted Latin America into a forecourt of the Christian West. Today, despite the political independence of its states, Latin America finds itself in a fatal situation of dependency due to colossal foreign debts and new market structures. Although rich in human and material resources, poverty and distress are steadily on the increase. The historical Protestant churches were brought to Latin America from Europe along with the large waves of immigrants since the nineteenth century. The strong growth of Pentecostal churches with their origins in North America has changed the religious face of what was until recently a "Roman Catholic continent".
Today, the Protestant churches in Latin America are independent. They are fulfilling their prophetic and social ministry and developing their own profiles (Liberation Theology / Pentecostal spirituality). The EKD supports - both financially and with staff - partner churches in Brazil (IECLB), Argentina/Uruguay/Paraguay (IERP), and Chile (IELCH and ILCH), as well as German-speaking congregations in the other Latin American countries. Together with its agencies, and with national Christian councils and ecumenical alliances, the EKD shares in taking responsibility for human rights, the environment, peacemaking, democratic processes, and the protection of indigenous peoples and cultures. At present, 33 German pastors, sent or mandated by the EKD Church Office, are working in partner churches and congregations in Latin America.
German-speaking congregations in America