First woman to become Spanish Protestant representative before the State
Carolina Bueno will become the new leader of the evangelical body in charge of negotiating agreements with the national government. “It is a chance to use my profession to serve God and the churches”.
MADRID · 20 MAY 2021 · 09:37 CET
The Spanish Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities (Ferede) is the institution that represents Protestant and free evangelical churches to the state, and acts as the legal interlocutor with the government.
In its 2021 General Assembly, representatives of church denominations and organisations from across Spain elected Carolina Bueno, a lawyer with experience in the field of religious liberties, as the new Deputy Executive Secretary.
The proposed plan is that she will start her role as leader of the Ferede in 2022, so becoming the first woman to hold such a position.
This body was created in 1986 after evangelical churches and the Spanish state reached a cooperation agreement. Earlier, the Evangelical Defence Commission had fought to defend the religious freedom of evangelicals since dictatorship times.
Conversion during the univeristy years
“I have a mix of feelings”, said Carolina Bueno in an interview with Buenas Noticias TV, the weekly evangelical programme on the public broadcaster RTVE. “On one side, I am very thankful and feel honoured to have been supported by so many people and churches. On the other, I am aware that this is a challenge, and at times it makes feel a bit of respect for the responsibility involved”.
Bueno has been working as a legal expert for Ferede since 2002, supporting local churches in matters such as the opening of worship places or the social security coverage for evangelical pastors.
“I come originally from a Catholic family but I was a nominal Christian. It was in my university years that I started to have a desire to seek and think about the meaning of life. One day, I found a Christian calendar on the floor, and called the phone number written on it. This is how I got in touch with the University Bible Groups (IFES in Spain). I joined them in reading the Bible, and came to a more profound and personal knowledge of Jesus”.
“Serving God and the churches”
Bueno sees her new role as “more than just a job - it has to do with serving God and the churches”.
“I wish we can work that evangelicals and Protestants in Spain see that they have a federation that represents them to the state with dignity and honesty”. Another aim, she says, is to “defend the religious freedom of all, but especially evangelicals, so that they can have the same as al other citizens”.
A third priority is “to develop common projects between churches for the good of society and in this way offering a good testimony to the world around us”.
Bueno thinks that there is still “a lack of knowledge in our society of who evangelical Christians are, and in general, a lack of interest about the religious affairs. This makes it difficult sometimes for other to understand our demand for a fair treatment”.
Asked about the Bible verses that inspire her most, Bueno pointed to “those Biblical texts who encourage me to trust God and not getting anxious, like when Jesus encourages us to not worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34). Those who encourage us to work for the kingdom of God have also spoken to me especially lately”.
Carolina Bueno is married and has two children and will succeed Mariano Blázquez, who retires after over 25 years in the role.