In a letter of condolences sent to the Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church (USA), World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay praised Avitia’s work as a specialist in Hispanic and Latino ministry in the United States, and all Latin America and the Caribbean.
“His expertise and deep knowledge of the ecclesiological landscape of the region were outstanding,” wrote Pillay. “Thanks to him, the WCC was able to resume contact with some churches in the region that were apart from our life and work for many years.”
Year after year, Avitia traveled across Latin America and beyond encouraging mission work and tending relationships with various Methodist groups.
Avitia’s commitment and action towards Christian unity left a great impact in Latin America, also beyond the Methodist family.
Born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, Avitia moved to the United States after his marriage to Giuseppina Lauretano. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish at the University of Texas in El Paso and an MDiv. with a Hispanic American certification at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. Avitia’s interest in the history of the United Methodist Hispanic/Latino experience and polity involved him in writing, teaching, lecturing, representing, and participation in Methodist connections in the US and South and Central America.
Before appointment to Global Ministries, Avitia served in the Rio Grande Annual Conference (now Rio Texas AC) and in several pastorates in Texas and New Mexico; as chaplain of Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas; and as a district superintendent in South Texas.
“We join with you in grieving his sudden passing and join you in prayer at this sad time. The thoughts and prayers of the ecumenical community are with Edgar’s family, particularly his wife Giuseppina, their two children, and three grandchildren,” wrote Pillay.