South Pacific Conference

Photo courtesy of South Pacific Conference.

South Pacific Conference

By Ricardo Torres

×

Ricardo Torres Hernández, M.A. (Universidad de Montemorelos, Montemorelos, NL, México), has served the church for 32 years as district pastor; director of the youth, Sabbath school, communications, and stewardship departments; and led the ASI chapter. He is married to Silvia M. Medina Pérez and has two children.

First Published: January 29, 2020

South Pacific Conference is located in a territory that covers two of Mexico’s states – Morelos and Guerrero. The conference’s offices are located in the city of Jiutepec, Morelos. South Pacific Conference is a part of the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Conference of the Inter-American Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

South Pacific Conference is located in a territory that covers two of Mexico’s states – Morelos and Guerrero. Morelos is named in honor of General José María Morelos, a hero in Mexico’s struggle for independence. On April 17, 1869, it was declared by the president of the nation, Benito Juarez, a free and independent state. It is located in the center of the country with an area of 4,879 square kilometers. It is divided into 33 counties, and its current capital is Cuernavaca. It shares a northern border with the Federal District and the State of Mexico, a southern border with the Pacific Ocean and Guerrero, an eastern border with Puebla and Oaxaca, and a western border with Michoacán.1

The conference’s sociocultural wealth indicates indigenous towns that stand out by maintaining their original language, Nahua, although Spanish is also spoken there. This is true of 35 communities in 16 counties. This area surrounded by interwoven mountain ranges has one of the most pleasant climates and the most well-known water parks in the country.2

The state of Guerrero, which forms part of the territory of South Pacific Conference, has a higher population but a smaller church membership than the state of Morelos. Guerrero is very popular for its tourist destinations, specifically, Acapulco, Ixtapa-Zihuantanejo, and Taxco de Alarcón, which is considered a magic town. Guerrero is south of the central region of Mexico, is on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, and has an area of 63,596 square kilometers. The capital of Guerrero is Chilpancingo de los Bravo, and the state is divided into 81 counties. The name of “Guerrero” was established on October 27, 1849, in honor of the warrior of national independence, Vicente Guerrero Saldaña. It has a population of 3,388,768 inhabitants, representing 3.2% of the national population. It is bordered by the states of Mexico and Morelos to the north, the state of Michoacán to the northwest, the state of Puebla to the northeast, the state of Oaxaca to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. It has a very diverse culture consisting of four ethnic groups – Mixtecas, Tlapanecos, Nahuas, and Amuzgos – and a population that has intermarried as well as a smaller population of Afro-mixed descent.3 The states of Guerrero and Morelos both represent a vast field of work for the church in the present and the future.

South Pacific Conference is comprised of 140 organized churches and 80 officially established Sabbath Schools. Among them are 17,601 members, served and directed by 19 ordained ministers and nine licensed ministers. The conference’s offices are located in the city of Jiutepec, Morelos. South Pacific Conference is a part of the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Conference of the Inter-American Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.4

Education Institutions of South Pacific Conference

Nicolás Bravo School offers kindergarten, elementary, secondary and preparatory education. For many years in the history of Adventist education in this conference, Nicolás Bravo was the only K-12 institution. It is located on Nicolás Bravo #58, Miguel Hidalgo Colony, City of Cuautla, Morelos. It is the pioneer school of South Pacific Conference.5

Trigarante School resulted from the efforts of a group of members interested in founding this institution. The members did not have their own classrooms, so they looked for a building in which to start. They found an unoccupied school building and rented it, starting their first school year with 110 students. It is currently located on Orquidea #4, El Edén Colony, in the city of Jiutepec, Morelos, very close to the current location of South Pacific Conference.6

16 de Septiembre School started in the children’s department rooms of the Magallanes Adventist church in Acapulco. For many years, it was fondly referred to as “the little school.” The school is located at 3a Calle Cristóbal Colón # 77, Fraccionamiento Magallanes, Acapulco, Guerrero.7

Mary Andrews School, after many years of operating in the Adventist church in the city of Chilpancingo, currently has a new building subsidized by the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Conference, the South Pacific Conference, and the membership of the districts of Chilpancingo I and II. It is located on Andador Morelos #18, Lomas de Xocomulco, Chilpancingo, Guerrero.8

Jaime Torres Bodet School offers pre-school, elementary, and secondary education. It is located on Paseo Solidaridad #29 in Colonia Estrada Cajigal in the city of Yautepec, Morelos.9

Francisco Larroyo School suffered from an earthquake that left it inoperable for several months of 2017. In the meantime, the members found themselves having to rent a building for a year. To rebuild the school, the conference members gave a generous offering. The local church also received help from other members and from other places for the reconstruction. This school is located in Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, Tlatenchi Center, Jojutla, Morelos.10

Camp Jaloxtoc is a property of 19 hectares, a kilometer away from the town of Jaloxtoc, Morelos. It has two bathroom complexes, two swimming pools, an auditorium that holds about 2,000 people, and a dining room that serves about 1,000 people.

Beginnings of the Adventist Church in South Pacific Conference

The history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific Conference territory begins in the city of Cuautla, Morelos, Mexico. The Adventist Church arrived to the city of Cuautla through a colporteur, Ilarion Sauza. He approached the home of Amado Hernández offering books for sale around the year 1920. Amado Hernández, who lived in Colonia Coahuixtla, became interested in the colporteur’s literature, and a friendship began between the two. Sauza suggested that they study the Bible together. They studied the Bible over 30 days, and Amado Hernández was baptized with his whole family. They became the first Adventists in the state of Morelos.11

Later, other families accepted the Adventist faith, among whom were Miguel Sánchez and Francisca Castillo. Others who came to the first Adventist church include the Martínez family (who sold flowers to support themselves), the Sánchez family, and Anastacio Acevedo. The first place in which they met was on Madero Street, very close to the current bus station, “Autobuses Oro,” in the city of Cuautla. The first pastor who officially arrived to strengthen and direct the small church was Juan G. Pérez. For some months, Anastacio Acevedo loaned land to the growing church as a place to worship. Members who had already accepted the gospel in other communities also came to this place to worship. The first church building was established in Colonia San José. This property was located on what is now Las Palmas Avenue in the city of Cuautla. At the time, the state of Morelos was part of the territory of Central Mexican Mission of Azteca Union Mission.12

In the meantime, Adventism arrived to Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos, with meetings held in a small home. Finally, on March 27, 1977, a church was dedicated in Cuernavaca. It was the largest in the area with a capacity to seat over 500 people.

Formative Events: Organization of South Pacific Conference

In 1925, Central Mexican Mission was organized and included the states of Hidalgo, Guerrero, Puebla, Morelos, and Querétaro, the northern part of Veracruz, and the Federal District (Mexico City). It also included part of the territory of the current South Pacific Conference. Its offices were located on 4 Calle de Querétaro #74 in Mexico City. For this period, there is no record of how many churches or members Central Mexican Mission had, but the pastors who served the membership were M. E. Ponce and J. G. Pérez. In 1930, the state of Tlaxcala was added to Central Mexican Mission, completing the territory of what would become South Pacific Conference.13

In 1949, the Inter-Oceanic Mission was organized as part of Mexican Union Mission. With some territorial adjustments, Central Mexican Mission was comprised of Mexico City and the states of Hidalgo and Querétaro, part of the territory from its beginning; and the states of Mexico, Guanajuato, and Michoacán, added to the territory at this time.14 The Inter-Oceanic Mission was comprised of the states of Puebla, Tlaxcala, Morelos, and Guerrero and the north part of Veracruz. It had 1,714 members and 23 churches. Its first president was Pastor Emiliano Ponce. Its offices were established in the city of Puebla, Puebla, on Calle 9 Oeste, #1702.

Mexican Union Mission changed its status in 1977 and became Mexican Union Conference under the administration of Pastor Velino Salazar. The first president of Mexican Union Conference was Pastor Samuel Guizar Robles. Its offices were on Uxmal 431, Narvarte Colony, Mexico 12, Distrito Federal. Also, in 1977, the Inter-Oceanic Mission changed status and became the Inter-Oceanic Conference. Its territory included the states of Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Morelos, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz. Its president was Pastor Agustín Galicia. Its offices remained at the same place.15 During this territorial readjustment, the state of Morelos was incorporated into Central Mexican Conference. However, in 1983, under the leadership of Pastor Donato Ramirez, president of the Inter-Oceanic Conference, Morelos was returned to the Inter-Oceanic Conference.

In 1985, Mexican Union Conference, which covered the whole country of Mexico, split into North Mexican Union Mission and South Mexican Union Mission. South Mexican Union Mission had 410 churches and 168,289 members. Its headquarters was in Uxmal 431, Colonia Narvarte, Mexico, Distrito Federal. Its first president was Pastor Agustín Galicia with Isaac Gómez as its secretary and Pablo Balboa as its treasurer. South Pacific Conference was created from South Mexican Union Mission.16

The territory of the Inter-Oceanic Conference covered the northern part of Veracruz and the states of Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Guerrero, and Morelos. Due to the growth and development of the membership, it was decided to readjust this territory. On April 21, 1988, South Mexican Union Mission took a vote that created the Hidalgo Veracruz Conference and South Pacific Mission. The cited reasons to adjust the territory of the Inter-Oceanic Conference were the growth and the long distances that had to be traveled to visit the districts, especially those of the state of Guerrero and the center of Veracruz, which created high financial costs.17

In January 23-25, 1989, an administrative meeting was held at the Vocational Center of Oaxtepec, Morelos, and was attended by representatives of the churches belonging to the Inter-Oceanic Conference. It was decided to create South Pacific Conference, which would be a part of South Mexican Union. The South Pacific Conference territory would include the states of Tlaxcala, Puebla, Morelos, and Guerrero with the exception of the municipality, Francisco Z. Mena Metlatoyuca, of Guerrero. The city of Puebla was confirmed as the site for the offices of this new conference. Its first president was Pastor Fermín Olguín del Valle, and it had 15,198 members and 69 churches.18

On April 23, 2000, as South Pacific Conference continued working on their plan of action, South Mexican Union Mission held an administrative meeting in Villahermosa, Tabasco, with the goal of restructuring that union. In 2001, the General Conference approved the formation of the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Mission.19

In 2012, as South Pacific Conference continued to grow and develop, it was finally able to achieve a balance of financial difficulties and use 100% of its operating capital. This allowed for a plan to create the Alpine Mission, which was organized in 2014. South Pacific Conference continued with a smaller territory, namely with the state of Guerrero and the state of Morelos but without the districts of Tepalcingo and Axochiapan. Its offices remained on Pedregal 23, Pedregal de las Fuentes Colony, Jiutepec, Morelos, until recently. After this territorial adjustment, South Pacific Conference had 123 churches and 16,307 members.20

South Pacific Conference tries to fulfill its mission through its pastors, filled with a passion to encourage each member to seek intimate communion with the Lord until His return; organizing details to enable members to conduct missionary work; creating “Medical Brigades for Health Fairs” throughout the conference’s territory; creating a special plan to enable each church member to be a true disciple; carrying out special evangelism programs, since the conference has large cities to reach; and sending missionaries to the state of Guerrero to strengthen the evangelism work there.

Recent Experiences of South Pacific Conference

The most recent occurrence in this field was mainly in the city of Jojutla, Morelos. On September 2017, Jojulta and other small towns were impacted by a strong earthquake that practically destroyed the city. Some churches and the Adventist school in the district of Jojutla were affected. The members in all the districts immediately worked to help resolve the problems the quake created. Several institutions, especially the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) as well as local and state government institutions, also helped both financially and physically.

South Pacific Conference can fulfill its mission if:

(1) a new district in the city of Zihuantanejo, Guerrero, is established. In preparation, members in this city already have a pastor associated with the closest nearby district.

(2) the state of Guerrero is made into a new mission of the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Conference.

(3) more organized churches and Sabbath Schools are established in large cities.

(4) a new district is organized in the zone known as “Las Montañas” in the state of Guerrero to reach more isolated towns.

List of Presidents

Fermin Olguín del Valle (1989-1992); Jairo Tenorio Carballo (1992-1996); Moisés Reyna Sánchez (1996-2001); David Pacheco Cocom (2001-2005); Juan José Andrade González (2005-2009); Joel Hernádez Velázquez (2009-2017); Nepthalí Acosta Espinoza (2017- ).

Sources

“Conociendo Guerrero.” INEGI: Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía. Accessed 2019. http://internet.contenidos.inegi.org.mx/contenidos/productos/prod_serv/contenidos/espanol/bvinegi/productos/estudios/conociendo/Guerrero.pdf.

“Diversidad cultural del estado de guerrero.” monografias PLUS+. Accessed 2019. https://www.monografias.com/docs/Diversidad-cultural-del-estado-de-guerrero-FKRXRAZBY.

“Estado de Guerrero.” Bienvenidos a México: Para Todo México. Accessed 2019. https://www.paratodomexico.com/estados-de-mexico/estado-guerrero/index.html.

“Estado de Morelos.” Bienvenidos a México: Para Todo México. Accessed 2019. https://www.paratodomexico.com/estados-de-mexico/estado-morelos/index.html.

“Etnografía de los nahuas de Morelos.” Gobierno de México. Accessed 2019. https://www.gob.mx/inpi/articulos/etnografia-de-los-nahuas-de-morelos.

“Guerrero.” Wikipedia: La encyclopedia libre. Accessed 2019. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrero.

“Historia del Estado de Morelos.” Bienvenidos a México: Para Todo México. Accessed 2019. https://www.paratodomexico.com/estados-de-mexico/estado-morelos/historia-morelos.html.

“Monografía del estado de Morelos.” México desconocido. Accessed 2019. https://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/mexico-estados-monografia-morelos.html.

“Municipos de Morelos.” Bienvenidos a México: Para Todo México. Accessed 2019. https://www.paratodomexico.com/estados-de-mexico/estado-morelos/municipios-morelos.html.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Hagerstown, Maryland: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1986. Accessed 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1986.pdf.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2017. Accessed March 31, 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB2017.pdf.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1925. Accessed March 27, 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1925.pdf.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1949. Accessed March 28, 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1949.pdf.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977. Accessed 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1977.pdf.

South Mexican Union Conference Board minutes. Mexico City, Mexico, April 1988.

Torrez, Julian Miranda. “Formación de Recursos Humanos de Alto Nivel Para el Desarrollo del Estado de Guerrero.” gob.mx. Accessed 2019. http://promep.sep.gob.mx/archivospdf/proyectos/Proyecto30155.PDF.

Other Sources

Amundsen, Wesley. The Advent Message in Inter-America. Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1947.

Cortés, Félix A., and Velino Escarpulli Salazar. Esforzados y Valientes. Montemorelos, Nuevo León, México: Editorial Perspectiva y Análisis, 2015.

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

“Online Archives > Yearbooks > All Documents.” Seventh-day Adventist Church: Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. Accessed 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/Forms/AllItems.aspx.

Salazar Escarpulli, Velino. Cien años de Adventismo en México. Montemorelos, Nuevo León, México: Centro de Producción Unión Mexicana del Norte, 1997.

Sepúlveda, Ciro. Nace un Movimiento. Montemorelos, México: Publicaciones Interamericanas, 1983.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Takoma Park, Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1927. Accessed March 27, 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1927.pdf.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1979. Accessed 2019. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1979.pdf.

Wikipedia.org/wiki/studio_de_Guerrero.

Notes

  1. “Estado de Morelos,” Bienvenidos a México: Para Todo México, accessed 2019, https://www.paratodomexico.com/estados-de-mexico/estado-morelos/index.html.; “Historia del Estado de Morelos,” Bienvenidos a México: Para Todo México, accessed 2019, https://www.paratodomexico.com/estados-de-mexico/estado-morelos/historia-morelos.html; “Municipos de Morelos,” Bienvenidos a México: Para Todo México, accessed 2019, https://www.paratodomexico.com/estados-de-mexico/estado-morelos/municipios-morelos.html; and “Guerrero,” Wikipedia: La encyclopedia libre, accessed 2019, https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerrero.

  2. “Etnografía de los nahuas de Morelos,” Gobierno de México, accessed 2019, https://www.gob.mx/inpi/articulos/etnografia-de-los-nahuas-de-morelos; and “Monografía del estado de Morelos,” México desconocido, accessed 2019, https://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/mexico-estados-monografia-morelos.html.

  3. “Estado de Guerrero,” Bienvenidos a México: Para Todo México, accessed 2019, https://www.paratodomexico.com/estados-de-mexico/estado-guerrero/index.html.; “Conociendo Guerrero,” INEGI: Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, accessed 2019, http://internet.contenidos.inegi.org.mx/contenidos/productos/prod_serv/contenidos/espanol/bvinegi/productos/estudios/conociendo/Guerrero.pdf.; Julian Miranda Torrez, “Formación de Recursos Humanos de Alto Nivel Para el Desarrollo del Estado de Guerrero,” gob.mx, accessed 2019, http://promep.sep.gob.mx/archivospdf/proyectos/Proyecto30155.PDF; and “Diversidad cultural del estado de guerrero,” monografias PLUS+, accessed 2019, https://www.monografias.com/docs/Diversidad-cultural-del-estado-de-guerrero-FKRXRAZBY.

  4. Leonel Antonio, interview by author.

  5. Nahúm González, interview by author.

  6. Antonia Espinoza, interview by author.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Leonel Antonio, interview by author.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Rubén Gallegos, interview by author.

  11. Victoria Ramírez, interview by author, Cuautla, Morelos.

  12. Ibid.

  13. “Central Mexican Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1925), 195, accessed March 27, 2019, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1925.pdf.; and Ruth Sandoval, interview with author, Cuautla, Morelos.

  14. “Inter-Oceanic Mission (Corporacion Interoceanica),” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1949), 140, accessed March 28, 2019, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1949.pdf.

  15. “Inter-Oceanic Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1977), 221, accessed 2019, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1977.pdf.

  16. “South Mexican Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Hagerstown, Maryland: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1986), 173, accessed 2019, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB1986.pdf.

  17. South Mexican Union Conference Board, Mexico City, Mexico, April 1988.; and Mario Villareal, phone interview by author.

  18. Agenda of Triennial Session of Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union Conference, 1989.

  19. Abraham Sandoval, phone interview by author.

  20. “South Pacific Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2017), 143, accessed March 31, 2019, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Yearbooks/YB2017.pdf.

×

Torres, Ricardo. "South Pacific Conference." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed June 17, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AG1D.

Torres, Ricardo. "South Pacific Conference." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AG1D.

Torres, Ricardo (2020, January 29). South Pacific Conference. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 17, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=AG1D.