Uruguay - (South America)
Information about Uruguay
The Ref presence in this country owes principally to immigration from Europe. In 1856 several families belonging to the Waldensian Church in Italy (cf. Italy) arrived in Uruguay and founded, after a brief stay in the region of Florida, the settlement Villa de la Paz, on the eastern coast of the Rio Rosario (Colonia) in 1858. Due to severe economic conditions in the Waldensian valleys in Italy, more families followed their example. In the beginning, the church was forced to rely on lay leadership. A first pastor (Miguel Morel) arrived in 1860, followed in 1877 by Armand Ugon, who succeeded in formally establishing the church; he also founded, together with a Meth pastor, the United Theological Seminary in Buenos Aires (now ISEDET). New immigrants also established colonies in Argentina (provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Rios) and in the beginning of the 20th century the church in Uruguay began to expand to Argentina (provinces of Buenos Aires and La Pampas). In 1895 the congr in the Rio de Plata region began to hold annual conferences; in 1934 they constituted themselves as the Federation of Waldensian Evangelical Churches in Rio de Plata). Until 1965 the church was an integral part of the Waldensian Church in Italy. Finally, in that year, the church held its own synod for the first time; it considers itself as the ”South American branch of the Waldensian Church.” In the course of time the church was strengthened by Ref immigrants from other countries. The first Hungarians arrived in 1919, and they became a sizeable group after the Hungarian uprising in 1956.
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