Santa Marta is a neighbourhood in the south of Colombia´s capital of Bogota, with a majority working class population. It is in this neighbourhood that we find the Mennonite Church of Santa Marta, the majority of whose members come from the same area. They walk to church from their homes and refer to the church not as the church, but as the community. It is from this feeling of community that the Santa Marta church builds peace in Colombia.
The church community is distinguished by being small and having various youth and children who regularly participate without the accompaniment of their parents. The pastor, Patricia, is a wise and brave woman with a physical disability who does all of her pastoral work from a wheelchair. The majority of the neighbourhood lives with difficult work conditions, working long days throughout the week for very low salaries and receive little or no benefits. The violence of these situations of marginalization and inequality is one factor among others that impact the living conditions of the people of Santa Marta.
It is in the middle of this context that we find the Santa Marta Church, being community for its members and the rest of the neighbourhood. The church is the hands and feet of Jesus, as they support each other in all of the needs and challenges of life. They create peace and hope in formal spaces such as Sunday school, in the youth worship group, and also in informal spaces of relationship between church members and people of the community. Watch this video to see how Esperanza, known to the community as Pancha, answers this question.
¿En qué maneras tu vez que la iglesia de Santa Marta esta construyendo la paz en la comunidad?
(In what ways do you see that the church of Santa Marta is building peace in the community?)