From Catholic to Baptist in the Comite del Pueblo, Quito, Ecuador: A Question of Attraction
Bowden, Elizabeth M.
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My thesis' general question of what attracts Latin Americans to Protestant churches is covered from more angles than that of the Protestant and Catholic contrast in "style". I have chosen three factors which, based on my observations from "El Amor Construye", seem to be most at work in one's decision to convert to the Protestant faith of Baptism. These three factors are described three chapters, "We Are Poor", "We Are Catholic", and "We Are Women". The preconditions of being poor, previously Catholic, and/or a woman, are three factors worthy of attention when considering reasons for one's receptivity of Protestantism. This paper takes a personal, real-life look at these three influential "prior conditions' by drawing from direct field observation of the people of "El Amor Consrruye ". Voices from congregation members during significant interview sessions will be the highlighted focus for these chapters. In a fourth chapter entitled, "Social Implications for the Co1nite del Pueblo and Beyond," some potentially threatening implications that the Protestant church could have on social relations within the community are raised. I provocatively bring these implications to light, more for the sake of opening discussion than for influencing opinions regarding the "good" or "bad" of the Protestant presence in Latin Ame1ica. In this chapter I also address First World Authority and Power and how it is played out on the set of the church grounds, as well as ideas regarding the future success of "El Amor Construye ". These ideas are enhanced by evidence from interviews as well as observations from the field. There is also a section which can be found just before the first chapter called, "The Programs of "El Am.or Construye ". It includes detailed descriptions of the Preschool, Tutoring, Sunday School, and "Los Embajadores y Las Mensajeras del Rey" programs offered by the church. This section is supplementary information to the thesis questions addressed in the chapters; thus, it can serve as insightful material concerning barrio conditions and concerns of the Comite del Pueblo for those interested in further elaboration, although it is not vital to an overall understanding of the thesis questions.