Convención de Iglesias Evangélicas Menonitas de Nicaragua

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Convención de Iglesias Evangélicas Menonitas de Nicaragua





Presiding Officer

Mario Balmaceda


Km. 8 Car. sur Apartado 3305, Managua, NICARAGUA.


(505)2-651-367 (505) 2-651-229



CIEMN Official Facebook Profile

La Convención de Iglesias Evangélica Menonitas de Nicaragua tiene 6000 miembros y 123 congregaciones. Es miembra del Congreso Mundial Menonita.

The Nicaraguan Mennonite Conference has 6000 members and 123 congregations. It is a member of the Mennonite World Conference.


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La convención fue fundada en 1977 por el trabajo de misioneros menonitas. Los primeros plantadores de iglesias empezaron a trabajar en Nicaragua en 1973, plantando iglesias en Managua y las áreas rurales cercanas. En 1979 la revolución Sandinista impactó el país y trajo muchos cambios dentro de la conferencias. Como consecuencia, los nativos de Nicaragua tomaron más liderazgo e incrementaron su visión de plantar iglesias. Misioneros extrangeros trabajaron en Nicaragua hasta 1987 y luego le entregaron el trabajo a los nicaraguenses.[1]


The CIEMN has its origins in the church planting efforts of several missionaries who came to Nicaragua through the voluntary service program of Rosedale Mennonite Missions in the 1970s. The first Conservative Mennonite congregation was founded in Managua in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in that city in 1972. These volunteers enthusiastically shared their faith as they worked in relief and development, finding many people receptive to the Gospel of salvation in Jesus. The young Mennonite men and women especially impressed those they encountered with the pragmatic nature of their faith, demonstrating a commitment to non-violence, service, a simple lifestyle, and discipleship--still distinctive characteristics of the Nicaraguan Mennonites today. The church grew throughout the decade and already had its own nationalized council of Nicaraguan leaders by 1977, the year of its official founding.[2] The CIEMN has grown to 123 congregations, including over 120 pastors and around 6000 members.[3] Nicaraguan Mennonites remain distinctly known among Protestant churches in the country for their emphasis on Anabaptist values including the ones brought by the VSers.

Key Events in the History of the Nicaraguan Mennonite Church

1968 - RMM sends its first mission to Nicaragua, as Vernon and Dorothy Jantzi begin working in literacy education, community health and hygiene development, and evangelism. At this time RMM is the only Mennonite mission/voluntary service program in Nicaragua[4].

1972 - An earthquake rocks urban Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, presenting opportunities for widespread relief and development work as well as evangelism as the city struggles to recover. Around this time there were eleven people doing VS in Nicaragua through RMM.[5]

1973 - The first CIEMN church, Las Americas No. 4, is planted by Elam Stauffer in Managua in the aftermath of the earthquake, based out of former emergency housing that had been constructed by the U.S. government.[6]

September 1977 - CIEMN holds its first national council with indigenous leaders, with representatives from four churches. Also in this month, a team of four people moves to Puertas Viejas and begins service work there. This is where Marcos Orozco, future president of CIEMN for sixteen years, first came in contact with the Mennonites and decided to join the church.[7]

November 1977 - CIEMN ordains its first pastors, Nicolás Largaespada and Luís Gutierrez, who later served as deacons in the church. Largaespada today is head of the CIEMN Department of Theology.[8]

July 1979 - The Somoza dictatorship is ousted by the Sandinista revolution. Many VS teams are forced to evacuate amid violent conflict.[9] Around 50,000 Nicaraguan people died in the ensuing civil war.[10]

1986 - CIEMN reports 23 congregations and 457 members.[11]

1987 - The last foreign Mennonite missionaries exit Nicaragua, leaving the work of the Convención entirely in the hands of indigenous leaders. [12]

2003 - CIEMN reports 80 congregations with 4,300 members.

2006 - CIEMN reports 86 congregations with 5,000 members.

2009 - CIEMN reports 106 congregations, 5,161 members.

2012 - CIEMN reports 97 congregations, 5,767 members.[13]

Link to Anabaptist-Mennonite Tradition

The Convención remains very committed to the concepts of discipleship, service, simple life in a community of believers, and non-violence.[14] They defend the Bible as the final authority in the faith and life of the believer. Although there are no CIEMN official archives, since January 2014 they have maintained an active Facebook page up to date with many pictures from church gatherings and pastoral ordinations. Also included on this page are a YouTube video giving a brief history of the Convención, a video about the origins of the Anabaptist movement and who Mennonites are today, and the mission statement of CIEMN.[15]

Major Challenges

Nicaragua remains a poor country financially, having struggled with inflation and other economic issues.[16] Most people do not have the means to obtain a formal education beyond high school. MCC has given financial support to students from each of the three Anabaptist groups in Nicaragua as they seek higher education.[17] In the past, especially in the 1980s, military conscription was an issue. This was especially difficult as the early CIEMN was not adequately prepared to respond to a draft. Pastors as well as those studying theology were exempted from military service, but others were forced to flee the country in order to maintain a stance of non-violence. Some did serve in the military but refused to wear the uniform or bear arms. Today, there is no obligatory military service. The active Nicaraguan military is very small and there are no members of CIEMN enlisted in the army.[18]

Vida Contemporánea

la Convencion es dirigida por el Pastor Marcos Orozco como presidente de la organizacion, casado con Luisa Swartz, una misionera americana, con una vision muy especial y pasion por las almas, con un enfasis en las misiones.

Personas importantes en la vida de la iglesia - Key Leaders

The current president of the CIEMN is Mario Balmaceda, new to his position as of 2014. Other leaders of various branches of the church include Rosa Isabel Romero (women’s ministries), Abel Mendoza (youth ministries), pastor Faustino Ñurinda Vanegas (evangelism and missions), Arcadio Artola Gonzales (social and community assistance), and Nicolás Largaespada (theology).[19]

Dentro de estas personas se destacan hombres de Dios como Nicolas Largaespada, Rene Alvarez, Jose Danilo Ortiz Zelaya que han sido presidentes, y han desarrollado un gran trabajo alcanzando vidas para Jesus.Nicolas Largaespada, un varon de Dios muy respetado en la Convencion y las otras corrientes Anabautistas, el ministerio que ha desarrollado ha sido muy importante en la vida de las congregaciones. Rene alvarez emigro a los Estados Unidos en la decada de los ochenta. El Pastor Danilo Ortiz Zelaya, ademas es un lider interdenominacional que Dios ha usado poderosamente sanando enfermos y conquistado multitudes en las campañas que ha predicado en todo el pais.

Recursos Electrónicos

Reseña Historica Menonita Nicaragua

Bibliografía anotada/Annotated Bibliography

Byler, Don. "Convención De Las Iglesias Evangélicas Menonitas De Nicaragua." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 20, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2014.ón_de_las_Iglesias_Evangélicas_Menonitas_de_Nicaragua.

This brief article gives an overview of the origins of the CIEMN as well as a few of the challenges the conference has faced in its growth through the decades.

"Convención De Iglesias Evangélicas Menonitas De Nicaragua." Facebook. January 1, 2014. Accessed December 9, 2014.ón-de-Iglesias-Evangélicas-Menonitas-De-Nicaragua/766033533411661.

The Facebook page of CIEMN, updated on a regular basis, includes the mission statement of the conference as well as a great many photos and videos of happenings around the church in Nicaragua.

Horsch, James E. Mennonite Yearbook & Directory. Vol. 77. Scottdale, Penn.: Mennonite Publishing House, 1986. 160.

This features a page with membership numbers and contact information for the conference from 1986, CIEMN’s tenth year.

Orozco, Marcos. Interview by Isaiah Friesen. E-mail interview. November 24, 2014.

An interview with Marcos Orozco, who served as president of the Convención for sixteen years. He was one of the first converts from Puertas Viejas, deeply impacted by the enthusiasm of the young Rosedale volunteers for sharing their faith and serving the community around them. As president, he helped the early CIEMN navigate the 1980s, probably the most challenging decade it has been through due to civil war and the consequent military draft.

"MWR : MCC Program Enables Higher Education for Nicaraguans." Mennonite World Review. May 23, 2005. Accessed December 6, 2014.

An article about the Mennonite Central Committee’s financial support of 21 Nicaraguan Anabaptist students in their pursuit of college degrees.

"Membership -Nicaragua." Mennonite World Conference. January 1, 2014. Accessed December 9, 2014.

The most up-to-date statistics on church membership and number of congregations in Nicaraguan Anabaptist groups.

Nisly, Thelma. "Opening Old Doors." Brotherhood Beacon 8, No. 9 (1978): 102-03.

Thelma Nisly describes the work that has been going on in Puertas Viejas throughout the first year that RMM sent young missionaries to serve the community. They brought education and improved healthcare practices to Puertas Viejas, and they helped organize worship services for potential converts.

Prieto, Jaime, and C. Arnold Snyder. Mission and Migration. Vol. 3. Intercourse, Penn.: Good Books, 2010.

Showalter, Richard and Showalter, Jewel. “Nicaragua: Some Out, Others In.” Brotherhood Beacon 9, No. 7 (1979): 74.

The Showalters describe the dire circumstances of the armed conflict which forced Rosedale VSers out of the country, after months of deliberation. At this time, “the young [Nicaraguan] Mennonite church numbers about 150 members.”

Yoder, Nathan. "Evangelical Anabaptism and Nonconformity Rebranded." In Together in the Work of the Lord: A History of the Conservative Mennonite Conference, 291-323. Harrisonburg, Virginia: Herald Press, 2014.

This chapter focuses on the experience of Conservative Mennonite missionaries as they planted the first Nicaraguan Mennonite churches that eventually formed the CIEMN. It cites a number of sources helpful in understanding the successes and the struggles of missionaries up through the first few years of the existence of the Convención. It also briefly touches on the ways that congregations in Nicaragua adapted their faith practice to their own context, not always maintaining the traditions brought by the original North American church planters.

Zamora, Michael. "Reseña Historica Menonita Nicaragua." YouTube. September 20, 2014. Accessed December 9, 2014.

This video, featuring Nicolas Largaespada, tells a brief history of CIEMN, from the origins of the Anabaptist movement in Switzerland, to the missionaries and first Mennonite pastors in Nicaragua, up to the state of the Convención in the 21st century. Largaespada narrates a slideshow with pictures of many of the inaugural members of the conference and the first missionaries who planted churches in the country.

Zook, Donald R., and Martin H. Schrag. "Nicaragua." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 22, 2014. Accessed December 9, 2014.

This article gives an overview of the religious make-up of Nicaragua’s population as well as some basic information about each of the Anabaptist groups in the country and its membership through the years.

Archivos y Bibliotecas

Insert Archives and Libraries Here

Links Externos

Official Convención Facebook page


  1. Global Gift Sharing Report (MWC, 2005), 107.
  2. Prieto, p. 300
  3. "Membership -Nicaragua." MWC, 2014
  4. Yoder, p. 292
  5. Prieto, p. 301
  6. Prieto, p. 302
  7. Nisly, p. 102
  8. Prieto, p. 302
  9. Showalter, p. 74
  10. Showalter, p. 74
  11. Horsch, p. 160
  12. Byler, GAMEO
  13. Zook and Schrag, GAMEO
  14. Orozco Interview
  15. “Convención de Iglesias Menonitas de Nicaragua.” Facebook.
  16. Byler, GAMEO
  17. "MWR : MCC Program Enables Higher Education for Nicaraguans."
  18. Orozco Interview
  19. “Convención de Iglesias Menonitas de Nicaragua.”