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by Jennifer Svetlik, Salford congregation
Originally from Columbia, leadership minister Marco Güete has found numerous ways to combine his passion for the church with his creativity, high energy, and intercultural sensitivities. Since August 2019, Marco has worked with nine congregations, eight of whom were recently part of Southeast Mennonite Conference, that will join Eastern District & Franconia Conference this year. He spends much of his time answering questions about the process of switching conferences and transferring credentials, along with helping the congregations complete the paperwork for transferring membership. He finds the opportunity to bring clarity in the midst of confusion to be rewarding.
“These churches were looking for an established conference to be affiliated with, and decided that Franconia was the best option because of the conference’s racial and ethnic diversity and attentiveness to intercultural ministry,” explains Marco. Eastern District & Franconia Conference was also attractive, Marco explained further, as it has a good Anabaptist foundation and a solid relationship with MC USA.
For Marco, the most rewarding part of his job is seeing these churches continue their affiliation with MC USA. “They consider MC USA as a family and that they belong to them,” shares Marco. “Seeing that gives me a sense of accomplishment.”
Marco was born in Colombia and moved within the country several times as a child, which helped him develop confidence and a sense of independence, as well as learn about different cultures. He and his wife, Sandra, immigrated to the U.S. and Marco worked as a salesperson in an international corporation while he sought professional training in Christian ministry. He opened up two small stores in Queens, NY and was introduced to Anabaptism by a fellow businessman who was a pastor of a Hispanic Mennonite church plant in New York City. A couple of years later, Marco enrolled in the Pastoral Ministry Program at Goshen College (Goshen, IN) and then at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (Lisle, IL).
Soon after began Marco’s long career of leadership in the Mennonite church. He received a call as a pastor at Community of Faith Mennonite Church (Chicago). In 1986, Marco became the Hispanic Ministries Program Director of the General Conference Mennonite Church. During this ten years in this role, Marco began the Instituto Bíblico Anabautista (IBA, or Anabaptist Biblical Institute), a Spanish training program for local congregations in Mennonite history and theology. Later, Marco was the director of the Latin American Anabaptist Resource Center (CLARA) and Colombia Mennonite Bible Seminary. More recently he has served as a conference minister for three area conferences. He and Sandra reside in Sarasota, FL.
“I am the kind of person that is always re-inventing myself, and creating something new in my ministry and my personal life,” reflects Marco. “If I have goals that I find meaningful, I don’t consider my job ‘work’.”
In his free time, Marco exercises a lot, including walking at least one hour daily with his wife. In September, Marco walked part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain to raise money for the IBA. Marco also stays busy putting together comforters for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) with his wife and considers the work to be an act of creative expression. He enjoys watching movies and reading historical fiction.