Pacific Colombian Conference

By Gustavo Zapata

×

Gustavo Zapata Ruda, currently pursuing a doctoral degree in systematic theology (Universidad Adventista del Plata, Entre Ríos, Argentina), is the director of Colegio Adventista de Cali. He has served for 34 years as a district pastor, chaplain, and college rector. He is married to Adriana Carmona and has two daughters.

First Published: September 23, 2021

Pacific Colombian Conference is a part of South Columbian Union Conference in the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

Territory and Statistics

The Pacific Colombian Conference’s territory is the department of Valle del Cauca, and it is an entity of the South Colombian Union Conference. Its headquarters is located at Carrera 39, No. 5A-109 of Cali, Colombia. As of 2020, it has 111 churches and 18,807 members in a population of 3,538,261.1 It also has 20 ordained pastors and eight licensed pastors.2

Corporación Educativa Adventista, CEA - Cámbulos

In 1955 the first Adventist secondary school in this territory was officially and legally established at Carrera 7a No. 15-54, in the church building of Iglesia Adventista Central de Cali. It was named Colegio Modelo Adventista.

In 1968 the school acquired authorization to offer basic-level education. In 1969 it was authorized to offer primary level education. That same year it was transferred to Calle 18 No 6-38 of Barrio San Nicolás under the name of Colegio Adventista del Pacífico. In 1977 official authorization was granted for the primary grades through sixth grade.

In 1984 it was relocated to the present site at Carrera 44 No 9-25 under the name of Centro Educacional Adventista, CEA. At the beginning of 2004 its name was once again changed, this time to Corporación Educativa Adventista, CEA.3

Origin of Adventist Work in Colombia

In the late 1890s self-supporting missionary Frank C. Kelley arrived in Colombia to work as a photographer and English teacher, determined to introduce Adventism to the people. He was only able to stay in the country for three years because his wife fell ill and he had to return home. Unfortunately, for the next two decades there was no one to continue Kelley’s pioneering work, and he could not see the fruit of the seed he had sown.4 This was the first attempt to preach the Adventist message in Colombia. In 1913 the missionary B. E. Connerly volunteered to try to “break the proverbial ice” in Colombia through distribution of publications. In 1915 he and his family went to Barranquilla and then, in 1916, to Medellín. From there he wrote: “This is the most delightful and the hardest field in which I have ever worked.”5

In 1917 G. A. Schwerin arrived to pick up Connerly’s work. Later, L. V. Cleaves replaced Schwerin and took charge of the sale of books. At this time E. Max Trummer visited Colombia and saw what progress had been made. Around 1919 Trummer transferred to Bogotá and began work as a highly experienced colporteur to distribute Adventist literature and prepare Colombia for active evangelism. It was during these years that the Adventist Church in Colombia had its true beginning.6

In 1921 E. Max Trummer arrived in Bogotá to strengthen the missionary work of the past, and the Kelley and Cleaves families were contacted to join forces in preaching the gospel in the capital of Colombia. That year Trummer wrote of how several colporteurs had arrived to conduct church work. He also wrote of two native Colombian colporteurs and how he trusted that there would soon be another 90 believers added to the Adventist Church in Colombia.7

Origin of Adventist Work in Conference Territory

In 1922 Colombian Mission was founded. It covered the Republic of Colombia. Pastor E. M. Trummer was elected president of the newly-established mission. Its headquarters’ postal address was Apartado 599, Bogotá, Republic of Colombia. The members of its advisory committee were E. M. Trummer, L. V. Cleaves, Fred Brower, F. C. Kelley, and Antonio Redondo.8

Church work in the modern Pacific Colombian Conference territory began in 1923. At that time an American canvasser arrived in the city of Cali and settled for a few months in a rented house where he met with a group of eight people. With the passing of time, the group grew and had to relocate to a place in the middle of Cali. Due to colporteur work and the preaching of the gospel, membership continued growing and the first church in Cali was organized on May 2, 1931. Noah H. Kinzer was its first pastor.9

From the city of Cali, lay missionaries traveled to neighboring towns and cities to preach the gospel. After establishing congregations in those communities, they visited rural areas. In this manner lay volunteers shared the gospel in cities such as Popayán and Pereira, where two missions would eventually be established.

Events that Led to Organization of the Pacific Colombian Conference

In 1926 there were four Colombian missions: Antioqueña Mission, Atlantic Colombia Mission, Central Colombia Mission, and Pacific Colombia Mission. Pacific Colombia Mission was organized without a president, and its territory was the provinces of Putumayo, Chocó, Cauca Valley, Cauca, and Nariño.10 On January 1, 1927, the Colombia-Venezuela Union Mission was organized with the four missions in Colombia and Venezuela Mission comprising its territory.11

In 1929 Pacific Colombia Mission was reorganized, ceding the territory of Chocó to Antioquia Mission (previously Antioqueña Mission) and adding the departments of Caldas and Caquetá to its own territory.12 In 1930 Pacific Colombia Mission was again reorganized, gaining the department of Chocó and ceding the department of Caldas to Central Colombia Mission (previously Antioquia Mission).13 In 1934 Pacific Colombia Mission once again added Caldas to its territory.14

In 1937 Pacific Colombia Mission ceded the territory of Caquetá to Upper Magdalena Mission.15 In 1938 it regained Caquetá; in 1939 it added the department of Amazonas to its territory.16 In 1941 it ceded the whole of Amazonas to Upper Magdalena Mission and the northern parts of Chocó and Antioquia to Atlantic Colombia Mission.17

In 1978 Pacific Colombia Mission had a change of status and was now Pacific Colombia Conference. By this time its territory included Caldas, Cauca, Nariño, Putumayo, Quindio, Risaralda Valle, and the southern parts of Antioquia and Chocó.18 In 1995 Pacific Colombian Conference ceded Caldas and its portions of Antioquia and Chocó so that the new West Central Colombian Mission could be organized.19 In 2008 Pacific Colombian Conference ceded Quindio and Risaralda so that a new Central Colombian Mission could be organized.20 Finally, in 2014, Pacific Colombian Conference ceded the departments of Cauca, Nariño, and Putumayo in order to organize South Pacific Mission. This left Pacific Colombian Conference with only the department of Valle del Cauca as its territory.21

Pacific Colombian Conference Fulfills its Mission Through:

  • Conducting intensive evangelism programs in the city of Cali.

  • Opening two centers of influence south of the city of Cali.

  • Constructing a multi-service building south of the city of Cali.

  • Strengthening Corporación Educativa Adventista, CEA.

  • Developing and expanding Camp La Fe in Santander de Quilichao.

Recent Events

Pacific Colombian Conference purchased a plot of about 1,000 square meters in a residential sector of the city of Cali, where the conference office and a community service center will be built.

Recently a house was donated to function as a center of influence in an upper-class sector north of the city of Cali. Voz de Esperanza Cali, an online broadcaster, promotes the preaching of the gospel. It transmits in conjunction with the radio station of South Colombian Union Conference and was newly installed in the city of Palmira in the department of Valle del Cauca.

Future Perspectives

The mission of the church is fulfilled through personal and public evangelism strategies such as the Quiero Vivir Sano program, preaching centers for small groups, the distribution of missionary books, evangelism of service, and community assistance.

List of Presidents

Non-elected (1926-1928); George C. Nickel (1929-1930); Noel H. Kinzer (1931-1936); L. H. Olson (1937-1943); G. W. Chapman (1944-1946); D. C. Prenier (1947-1950); Gilberto Bustamante (1950); F. H. McNiel (1951-1952); Tirso Escandón (1953-1955); Samuel Camacho (1955); Luis C. Larrazabal (1956-1961); Luis A. Bolívar (1962-1966); Félix Fernández (1967-1971); Joel Manosalva (1972-1973); Norberto Carmona Gómez (1973-1980); Orlando Newball (1980-1981); Joel Leiva (1981-1985); Bernardo Rodríguez T. (1985-1990); Jorge Alirio Amaya (1990-1995); Mario Villegas Prado (1995-2002); Juan Caicedo Solis (2002-2010); Walter Rojas Buriticá (2010-2018); José Aicardo Arias Quintero (2018-present).

Sources

Caicedo Solís, Juan. “Recovery Program of Members Who Have Deserted from the Central SDA Church in Cali, Colombia.” D.Min. thesis, Andrews University, September 2013. Accessed March 13, 2019. https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1026&context=dmin.

Greenleaf, Floyd. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Latin America and the Caribbean. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 1992. Vol. 1.

“Nuestra Historia.” Corporación Educativa Adventista: Santiago de Cali. Accessed March 14, 2021. https://www.cea.edu.co/nuestra-historia/.

“Pacific Colombian Conference.” Inter-American Division Secretary’s Statistical Report: Second Quarter 2019. July 9, 2019. Secretariat archives, Miami, Florida.

Samuel Viana, Yerko. “History of Adventism in Bogotá: 1921-2011.” Unpublished document. Accessed 2018, Upper Magdalena Conference communications department archives, Bogotá, Colombia.

Schwarz, Richard W., and Floyd Greenleaf. Light Bearers. Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2000.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Notes

  1. “Pacific Colombian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, accessed March 14, 2021, https://www.adventistyearbook.org/entity?EntityID=14035.

  2. “Pacific Colombian Conference,” Inter-American Division Secretary’s Statistical Report: Second Quarter 2019, July 9, 2019, secretariat archives.

  3. “Nuestra Historia,” Corporación Educativa Adventista: Santiago de Cali, accessed March 14, 2021, https://www.cea.edu.co/nuestra-historia/.

  4. Richard W. Schwarz and Floyd Greenleaf, Light Bearers (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2000), 220.

  5. Floyd Greenleaf, The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Latin America and the Caribbean (Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 1992), vol. 1, 173-174.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Yerko Samuel Viana, “History of Adventism in Bogotá: 1921-2011,” unpublished document, 28, accessed 2018, Upper Magdalena Conference communications department archives.

  8. “Colombian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1923), 176.

  9. Juan Caicedo Solís, “Recovery Program of Members Who Have Deserted from the Central SDA Church in Cali, Colombia” (D.Min. thesis, Andrews University, September 2013), accessed March 13, 2019, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1026&context=dmin.

  10. “Colombia Missions,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1926), 216.

  11. “Colombia Missions,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1927), 228-229.

  12. “Colombia-Venezuela Union Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1930), 197-198.

  13. “Colombia-Venezuela Union Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1931), 205-206.

  14. “Pacific Colombia Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1935), 141.

  15. “Pacific Colombia Mission” and “Upper Magdalena Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1938), 149.

  16. “Pacific Colombia Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1940), 154.

  17. “Colombia-Venezuela Union Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1942), 116-117.

  18. “Pacific Colombia Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1979), 226.

  19. “Pacific Colombia Conference” and “West Central Colombian Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996), 171.

  20. “Central Colombian Mission” and “Pacific Colombian Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2009), 120, 122.

  21. “Pacific Colombian Conference” and “South Pacific Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2015), 151-152.

×

Zapata, Gustavo. "Pacific Colombian Conference." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 23, 2021. Accessed June 18, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5I4W.

Zapata, Gustavo. "Pacific Colombian Conference." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 23, 2021. Date of access June 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5I4W.

Zapata, Gustavo (2021, September 23). Pacific Colombian Conference. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5I4W.