AP PHOTOS: Evangelicals mass in Peru amid boom


| Zoom

LIMA, Peru (AP) - Tens of thousands of evangelical Christians from across Peru converged on Lima this month for a nearly weeklong national congress, their leaders claiming one of Latin America's highest growth rates.

At the congress at San Marcos stadium in Lima, preachers led thousands of believers in singing Psalms and begging forgiveness for their sins. There was shouting, weeping, rapture. Pastors invoked Scripture to denounce homosexuality because it does not lead to reproduction. They also speak against abortion.

Evangelicals have seen the most growth in Lima's teeming working class districts but more and more converts are coming from Peru's highlands thanks to proselytizing radio stations emerging in recent years in the region, said Rev. Juan Carlos Perez, a local leader of the Movimiento Misionero Mundial church.

He says the church happily accepts highlanders who continue to embrace indigenous rituals considered pagan by many.

"The evangelical doesn't try to eliminate. He tries to understand," Perez said. That includes entering prisons and rough-and-tumble Lima districts to actively recruit repentant ex-criminals.

Peru and its capital remain bastions of Roman Catholicism. About three in four Peruvians identify themselves as Catholics. But evangelicals are on the rise, jumping from 5.2 percent of the population in 1981 to 12.5 percent in 2007, the last year for which government census figures are available.

Perez claims evangelicals now account for at least 20 percent of Peru's 30 million people, which would give it one of Latin America's highest growth rates.

Perez's movement, which he said operates in 60 countries, does not tolerate abortion or same-sex marriage.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Get Out of Jail Free?
    Why Seattle firefighters won't face felony charges in alleged homeless beating

  • Goats!
    Seattle deploys one of its most popular work crews to clean up the city

  • Buying Season
    Here are four ways to ruin your chances at that new home
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.