Cape Verdean elected as general superintendent of Nazarenes
Cape Verdean elected as general superintendent of Nazarenes Website
ORLANDO, Fla. — The Rev. Eugenio Duarte, regional director for Africa and a native of the island of Brava in the Cape Verde Islands, became the first citizen from outside the USA/Canada region elected to the Church of the Nazarene's Board of General Superintendents in the 100-year history of the denomination. Duarte was elected the 37th general superintendent on the seventh ballot on Tuesday, June 30 at the Church's 27th General Assembly. His election also reflects the multicultural face of the denomination. Upon the announcement of the election, a crowd of delegates immediately swarmed Duarte in celebration, lifting him off his feet. Song erupted as the auditorium stood and clapped. He finally was able to make his way to the stage followed by his fellow Africans waving a Cape Verde flag and photographers. He was warmly greeted by the presiding general superintendents, many of whom were in tears for this historic day. "We were just surprised," said the Rev. Manuel Chavier Jr., senior pastor of the International Church of the Nazarene of New Bedford, who attended the convention. "He did a great job in Africa, and he has ties to the local Cape Verdean community. We are all proud." Taking the podium, and after thanking the delegation, a humbled Duarte declared: "This is what being a missional church gives you." Duarte spoke of being enrolled in a small Nazarene mission school at a very young age, and later returning to teach at that same school. He talked of his journey as a minister and the steps that have been taken, following God's lead for his life — a journey that has led him to the general superintendency. "One who is inadequate has no right to say 'no' to God," he said. He then told the crowd, "[Since] I have been a part of the Church of the Nazarene, it has always been the case that the church teaches me how to serve. That's all I know. That's all I came to do. "I am willing to serve." "Thank you very much for trusting me," he continued. "Thank you very much for trusting the mission. Thank you for trusting Africa." Duarte then took his spot on stage — as is tradition — next to his fellow members of the Board of General Superintendents. Duarte has been serving as the regional director for the Africa Region since 2005. Prior to this assignment, he and his wife, Maria Teresa, served as regional global missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene. He was field strategy coordinator of the Africa French Equatorial and West Fields. Duarte was born on the island of Brava, one of the Cape Verde Islands. He said that he gave his heart to the Lord at a young age. Upon his completion of high school in the city of Mindelo, he was chosen by the Portuguese, who governed the Cape Verde Islands at that time, to be secretary to the administrator on the island of May. While there, Duarte was active in the work of the Church of the Nazarene. He also met and married his wife, Maria Teresa, who was serving as postmaster on the island at the time. When Cape Verde received its independence from Portugal, the new government asked Duarte to go to Moscow to study electrical engineering. He declined that offer to respond to the call to preach. After his training in the Nazarene Seminary in Cape Verde, Duarte pastored on the island of Saint Antao. He was ordained in 1981 and later took charge of the publishing work in Cape Verde. He served the district as treasurer and as a teacher in the seminary, and then as pastor of the church in the city of Mindelo. He was later elected district superintendent. Duarte's talents were obvious, and soon he was called to direct the work in Central Africa. In August 2003, his assignment was changed when he was asked to serve West Africa and the French Equatorial fields. On November 23, 2005, the Board of General Superintendents, in consultation with World Mission Director Louie E. Bustle, announced the election of Duarte to serve as Africa regional director. Duarte holds a master's degree in leadership from California's Azusa Pacific University and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Africa Nazarene University (2006). He speaks at least five languages, including English and three of the major African languages. He has a gentle spirit, is a firm leader, and has a good understanding of mission philosophy. Upon Duarte's election as regional director in 2005, Bustle described Duarte as "a good man and a great leader." "His quiet and effective leadership has earned the respect of people through the continent of Africa," stated Bustle. "He loves the Church of the Nazarene and testifies through word and deed that Jesus is our hope. God is doing great things in Africa; I look forward to seeing how He will use Duarte to build His Church." Under Duarte's leadership, the work has continued to grow rapidly and expanding to new areas of the continent of Africa, making it the fastest growing region in the denomination. In fact, 22 percent of all Nazarenes are African. Eugenio and Maria Teresa Duarte live in Johannesburg, South Africa, and have three sons, Sergio, Francisco, and Richard, and two grandsons.
Source: South Coast Today