Sunday, July 18, 2010

Religion in Cuenca

Ecuador is approximately 94% Roman Catholic and this past week we observed one of the many parades that are part of the scenery here in Cuenca. It was in honor of the Virgin Mary -- "Viva Maria." There were floats with children dressed as angels and a huge entourage with a statue of the Virgin Mary and those following behind her...lifting up her veil. I wanted to break out in song with the "Sound of Music," but I remained mute and just watched.

Having lived in Italy for six years, religious parades are not a new phenomenon, but I'm always amazed--shocked really--that bystanders will watch and follow the parade for hours until the floats disappear or the children fall asleep!

This week I received several e-mails and one of interest was about what to do if you're not Roman Catholic. We are fortunate in that there is a huge evangelical church down the street from where we live -- Centro Cristiano (5,000 members) with services on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The best part is we can walk to church (about a mile each way). Today was especially enjoyable because the sun came out after four days of rain and it was gorgeous. We especially enjoyed the music at church and the "flag twirlers." Yes, you heard me right -- flag twirlers in the morning service -- complete with matching outfits and great dancing.

Every Sunday is different and you can always expect to be entertained. The evangelical influence in Ecuador began over 50 years ago by Lutheran missionaries and continues to be a hot spot for missionaries around the world. Because my husband and I were former missionaries, one of the first questions we were asked when people heard we were leaving for Ecuador was, "Are you going to be missionaries there?"

"No!" was our reply.

We have met several expat couples and none of them attend church, but worship is a very important aspect of our life and so we were delighted to find a church that we can be part of and enjoy a form of worship similar to what we experienced in the States (minus the flag twirlers -- of course!).
Whatever your religion, I'm sure you will find it here in Cuenca.

Until next time...hasta luego!

Consuelo y Marco

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Jack & Claudia said...

Thank you Connie, I am so glad I found your blog. We are heading to Cuenca in two weeks and one of our unanswered questions was about finding a church! As some say we are coming to "kick the tires". I will get busy and start at the beginning of your story and catch up! Hope to see you in August!
Claudia and Jack from Oregon

Connie Pombo said...

Felicidades! How will LOVE it here. There are many evangelical churches to choose from, including Verbo Iglesia. I'm joining the women's Bible study group and Mark is going to the men's group. This weekend is a marriage retreat. Blessings to you both as you make the journey to paradise!

Pat said...

I have lived in Quito for over 16 years, I am happy to help with any questions you might have about the country. Patrick-

mikapoka said...

Lovely post, glad you found a place like that as well meeting your blog. Cuenca seems to be an amazing place to live apart from the world's madness. All the best, ciao from Italia!

Connie Pombo said...

Mikapoka, thank you for your comments. Yes, we do love Cuenca because it has just enough of Italy to make us feel like we're back home! In fact, many Ecuadorians speak Italian which is always fun! ;-)

Connie Pombo said...

Pat, thank you for your comment and e-mail address. Wow, 16 years in Quito...I'm sure you have some stories to tell! Un abrazo fuerte, Consuelo

Brian said...

Hey! "We have met several expat couples and none of them attend church" Have you forgotten your friends Brian and Cassie? I think we're going to try on a small Lutheren church called Iglesia de Paz and see how that works for us. I will say though, that you guys are the only other Gringos we know who do attend church in Cuenca. I think we may have seen one or two gringo gals who had married an Ecuadorian guy, but that's about it.

Connie Pombo said...

Hey Brian,
I guess I'm not very good at responding to comments! It's still the same: very few expats attend church. We now go to Verbo Iglesia and we have met some other expats there, but it's still how many you can count on your fingers.;-)We miss you guys!!! Come back!

Denny said...

We are planning a one month stay in Cuenca in November or January and would like to find an evangelical church. From your blog it seems that will be no problem. We are thankful for finding your site and i am currently reading your book on my Kindle. It is very informative and helpful. we will keep following you on this site. Be blessed.
Denny and Debbie from Columbus, Ohio

Connie Pombo said...

Hi Danny and Debbie,
Yes, we go to a wonderful church, Verbo Iglesia -- evangelical and contemporary worship at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sundays. A lot of opportunities to be involved. I'm going to be volunteering for their orphanage and there are Bible studies during the week as well. A church of about 5,000 plus. Excellent pastors and English translation is available. You will love it! Blessings to you both! ~ Un abrazo fuerte, Mark and Connie

Musodude said...

In case you're still looking, there is a brand new English speaking church here in Cuenca, Ecuador called The Gathering. This fellowship has been started by expats who recently relocated to Ecuador from the US. The Gathering is actually the English speaking arm of the Unsion, Groupo 608, a Christian group started by Pastor Bill McDonald, also an expat who moved to Ecuador 25 years ago. Their website is

Anonymous said...

Our biggest question was the churches. We are locating to serve The Lord in our retirement years. This blog is giving us the courage we need to sell everything, leave friends and family and trust The Lord for our place in service. Cuenca seems to stand out. What is the address of the church of 5,000? We will be in Cuenca Nov 19. Love to correspond. Carolyn & Rolland1

Connie Pombo said...

Hi Anonymous,

We attend Verbo Iglesia. Their website is:

Purple Vine Uganda said...

Hi, We are Christians and coming to check out Ecuador later this year. Don't think we could live in an area without and English speaking Church. Anyway would love to find someone to be in touch with before our trip and also to have some one to meet up with when we arrive. We don't speak Spanish (are trying) hard at our age.
If anyone would like to meet up with two B.C artsy people we would be so grateful.

Tom Roberson said...

Hello all,
We were there back in May for a week and decided we need to come down and stay for a month. We are coming down to Cuenca the first weekendend of July and staying for the month to "kick the tires" ourselves. We have a great church home here in Fort Worth, TX at The Hills so we are kind of spoiled. Now that we are thinking about living there at least part of year we want to reach out and make some new friends and find a church home there...look forward meeting you all in July hopefully!
Tom & Anna Marie

Connie Pombo said...

Hi Tom and Anna Marie,
We attend Calvary Chapel Church and they have English and Spanish Speaking Services. Spanish is at 8:00 AM; English at 9:30 AM and once a month -- first Sunday of the month -- we have a combined worship service of English and Spanish. When you arrive in Cuenca, let us know and we'd be happy to meet with you. You can contact me at -- just hit the contact button.

Tom Roberson said...

Hi Connie

Thank you for the reply.
We arrive Sunday July 3rd and will be in Cuenca the entire month except for a trip we are taking to Olon from July 10th through the 17th. Look forward meeting you then.
Warm regards,

Tom Roberson

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