Methodist Church of Peru
(Iglesia Metodista del Perú, IMP)
Methodist work in Peru dates back to the late 1870s. It failed because of the Pacific War between Peru, Chile and Bolivia. After the war mission work resumed, especially in Lima and the seaport city of Callao. One of the missionaries, Rev. F. Penzotti, was imprisoned because he distributed Bibles. His case became internationally known because the principle of religious freedom was at stake, and he was eventually released. The first Methodist church of Callao was founded in 1889. It was the first evangelical Spanish-speaking church in Peru. Most of the members were migrants from the rural areas. Marginalized by society, they found a warm welcome in the church. The vision of a developing and growing church led the missionaries to set up several colleges, which today are among the best educational institutions of the country. The Colegio América in Callao with 1,200 students is known throughout South America. Other large Methodist colleges exist in Lima, La Victoria, Huancayo, Tarma and Chincha.
The Methodist Church of Peru became autonomous in 1970. It is organized in six districts. The general assembly is the highest governing body. It is presided over by the bishop. Church leaders and pastors are trained at the "Wenceslao Bahamonde" biblical theological community. Some 7,000 children and young people attend the Sunday schools. The church is committed socially and runs various communal assistance programmes.