The Children’s Church in Bogotá: At last, building permit secured

COLOMBIA Through more than ten months the so-called Children’s Church in San Francisco in Bogotá, Colombia, has struggled to obtain a construction license without paying bribes. Yesterday Pastor Alexis Jiménez returned with news of victory.

Yesterday, on Thursday, October 3rd 2019, the Children’s Church in Bogotá – La Iglesia Cristiana Infantil Dios la Esperanza – finally secured a license to build its new headquarters. The church is among the youngest of the El Pacto denomination, or The Covenant Church.


Hoping to get to know the process better from securing a license to expand the headquarters where Sunday services are held, as well as the plans for the future, we are invited ourselves to the church to request an interview with its current head, pastor Alexis Jiménez.

While it is well known that the process has been greatly delayed, it is not known why it took so long. However, the church made the decision not to pay even one peso in addition to the actual cost of the license, so it did not pay to – let’s say – ‘help the process along.’

The Bible is very clear on the issue, and that is why the church does not want to add to the already massive problem of corruption in Colombia.

“Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.” Exodus 23:8 NVI

Sett inn beskrivende tekst. Foto: VG NTB Scanpix.
JOURNALISTS. Former missionary to Colombia, now theologian and journalist Victor Skimmeland, teaches the young and talented of the church the ‘black arts’ of journalistic writing through September and October. Photos: Alexis Jiménez.

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The interview took place at the current headquarters of the church, in the San Francisco neighbourhood of Ciudad Bolívar in the south of Bogotá, along with the journalist students present in the class. The interviewer is Victor Skimmeland, a former missionary in Colombia, now a theologian and journalist in Norway, who is again visiting to teach classes and be a mentor to local church leaders.

Question: Alexis Jiménez is the senior pastor of the Dios la Esperanza Children’s Church, or ICIDE. Congratulations with what you have achieved today. Please tell us what happened.
Answer: Well, today we received the news we have been waiting and praying for, for ten months, that the curatorship of Bogotá would give us a license to build here in San Francisco.

Q: You have worked for such a long time to get a construction license. What took you so long?
A: As we live in Colombia and also in the capital, it is a very, very delayed process to get such a license legally.

Q: The new building will contain sections for various ministries and offices for the leaders of the church. Can you explain what the new church headquarters will look like?
A: Good question, really. The front of the church looks more like a basement now with a huge metal gate, and it’s not exactly a striking place. We want to be able to say ‘Welcome to God’s house.’

Sett inn beskrivende tekst. Foto: VG NTB Scanpix.
MODEL. A model of the new church headquarters is strategivally placed by the entrance to the church. Photo: Victor Skimmeland.

Q: The construction is rather expensive, I imagine. How much is your budget? Where do your funds come from?
A: We have a tentative budget of more or less 350 million pesos, that’s a little more than one hundred thousand American dollars. We will have a correct value when the architect who is working with us – Omar – meets us with a real budget. Funds? A part comes from the Norwegian church, and our church will also play its part. We also hope that the Norwegian Covenant Mission can provide an offering.

Q: How is the project developing? When will you finish?
A: We will be working with the ideas that the architect offers, and the license gives us two years to finish construction.

Q: One last question, why do you want to build?
A: We want to build because we want many more people to come to this place. We want to have enough space so that children will have their own place here, just like the youth should also have a location for their activities.

Sett inn beskrivende tekst. Foto: VG NTB Scanpix.
VICTORY. Pastor Alexis Jiménez is the spiritual head and pastor of the Iglesia Cristiana Infantil Dios La Esperanza. He has just secured a construction licence for a new church in Bogotá. Photo: Victor Skimmeland.

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