Monday, December 14, 2009
Rise of Pentecostalism (Field Notes from Nicaragua)
I will be working on this theme for a larger piece, as much of my previous and first research in Nicaragua focused on the cross sections of theology, reproductive education, and poverty. However, it can be stated that within the last few years there has been a noted increase in Pentecostal churches within the historic center of Leon - a location where nearly each corner has a cathedral dating as far back as the 1800s.
Through the years I've noted that on trips into the countryside and rural communities, evangelical churches apppear to be the sturdiest and newest buildings. Many of these chruches are built by religious or service delegations from the United States.
The chruches are nothing new to me. The location is. Leon is a colonial city built around the central plaza of the Cathedral. Built by the Spanish in 1747 this Cathedral is second largest in Central America. At one corner of the plaza what used to be a public theater has recently been transformed into a Pentecostal church (see above photo). If that is not evidence of change, one of Leon's largest night clubs (located a mere 4 blocks away from the Plaza) has been reborn into an Evangelical church.
The rise of pentecostalism is a topic of conversation with everyday Nicaraguans. I think the deeper reason as to why the change has been occurring is the more interesting story but there is one thing for sure. I hope they scrubbed the night club's floor real well before starting the renovations.