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All political parties signed an “Institutional Declaration on the Evangelical Church” to celebrate the 150 years of continued presence.
Evangelical Christians in Córdoba (Spain) experienced what they described as a “historic day” as the City Council recognised the 150 years of continued presence in the Southern city.
The “Institutional Declaration on the Evangelical Church” was read in the town hall after it was signed by all the political parties.
The declaration summarises the history of evangelical churches in the city, which started in 1869, with the establishment of freedom of worship after the 1868 Revolution.
Among the Cordobese Protestants are figures like Juan Pérez Pineda, Secretary of Emperor Carlos V (Charles V); María Cazalla, writer and defender of religious freedom; Lorenzo Lucena, pastor, author of the first revision of the Spanish Reina-Valera translation and first professor of Spanish Language and Literature professor at the University of Oxford; and Enrique de Tienda, educator who first promoted inclusive educational systems for women.
Tragic historic events such as the Civil War (1936-39) and periods of religious intolerance led to the closing of many evangelical churches, causing many Cordobese Protestants to privatise their faith or leave to the exile.
“Despite the adversities”, the Declaration approved on Mach 13 2019 says, “nowadays around 40 churches throughout the province of Córdoba, formed by several thousands of members”.
The document also underlines the “important social work [evangelicals] do in Córdoba”, including the support of families in risk of poverty, people in situation of drug addiction, programmes for homeless people, mediation in family conflicts and initiatives to combat human trafficking.
Evangelicals in the city are also praised because of their involvement in religious assistance in hospitals, prisons and the military. In Córdoba there is also the Spanish Faculty of Theology of the Assemblies of God, one of the five evangelical faculties in the country.
“The City Council of Córdoba, as an non-confessional institution and respecting all religious confessions, recognises the trajectory of the Evangelical Church in Córdoba, which has enriched the diversity of our city and strengthened the networks of mutual support with the most needed people”, the document concludes.
The declaration was signed by the Mayor of Córdoba, Isabel Ambrosio, and the leaders of the six political parties represented in the town hall.
During the event, the Secretary General of the Spanish Federation of Evangelical Churches (Ferede). Mariano Blázquez, thanked the city for their example of religious and democratic normalisation.
In the context of church-state separation, such public recognitions of the contributions of religious minorities are good examples to follow. It was “a historic day for Cordoba because the city recovered a part of his history which had been deliberately silenced and forgotten”.
Esteban Muñoz, pastor of Assemblies of God in the region, told Spanish news website Actualidad Evangélica that the event brought back memories “of those who preceded us, the believers who suffered the stigma of being ‘bad Spaniards’ because of the faith they professed”.