San Diego, Calif.
Email: Bill Soldwisch
Bill retired and concluded his service in 2009 as a mission co-worker of the PC(USA). He is available to speak as his schedule permits. Email him to extend an invitation to speak with your congregation or organization.
The Rev. William A. Soldwisch served on the binational mission team and was co-director of Pueblos Hermanos Presbyterian Border Ministry in Tijuana-San Diego with the Rev. and Mrs. Enrique Romero of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Mexico. This ministry is one of six U.S.-Mexican Presbyterian collaborations of evangelism, new church development, community health and development and mission education along our common border with Mexico (four along the Texas border and two along the Arizona border).
"Pueblos Hermanos" means sister/brother peoples. The binational mission team in Tijuana planted a new church in the El Lago middle-class neighborhood of Tijuana, with the idea that a strong middle class church in Tijuana could then resource mission in poorer neighborhoods. The Dios Habla Hoy ("God Speaks Today") Presbyterian Church was chartered in January 1991.
A holistic community health program called Salud Y Vida ("Health and Life") has a medical dispensary in a homesteading community but concentrates on education and community health development, training volunteer women as health promoters and giving classes on a variety of health concerns, including a class on cooking traditional Mexican meals with texturized soy protein in place of meat or fish. Members of the Dios Habla Hoy Church serve on the board of the health project as well as that of the Casa de la Esperanza ("House of Hope") Orphanage, a separate binational Presbyterian ministry in Tijuana. In 1992 they also helped start a new church development out of the health ministry in the El Pipila homesteading neighborhood.
A group of San Diego Presbyterian Churches called "Baja Presbyterian Missions" has provided funds and buildings for evangelism and new church development through the Mexican Presbyterian Church in Ensenada, Mexicali, and Tijuana. A missionary from the Presbyterian Church of Korea has worked in Tijuana, starting three small new church developments in homesteading areas. The Pueblos Hermanos team has been resourcing these various Presbyterian works in evangelism and leadership development as well as coordinating mission visitation teams from the United States that spend up to two weeks sharing in the life and mission of local churches in Baja California, helping with various construction needs as well as with evangelism, vacation Bible schools and youth recreation. Various teams from the Dios Habla Hoy Church and other Baja California churches have done mission visitation trips to the United States to collaborate with various churches there. The Pueblos Hermanos team coordinates with the Mexican Presbytery and a variety of U.S. churches in providing leadership development conferences, workshops and courses, some primarily for pastors, others for laity and others for both.
Bill graduated from Pomona College, Claremont, California, in psychology in 1965, worked three years in the U.S. Peace Corps in the Philippines in secondary math teaching and teacher training and then graduated from the San Francisco Theological Seminary at San Anselmo, California, in 1971. From 1971 to 1979 he served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Quilcene, Washington, 40 miles west of Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula, where he also served in his presbytery's Christian Education Department, chairing it for three years, and on the synod's task force on aging. He then pastored the English-speaking Interdenominational United Church of Guadalajara, Mexico, from 1980 through mid-1983.
Bill began serving in mission with the PC(USA) in June 1983. He studied Spanish for 10 months in San Jose, Costa Rica, and served in Tijuana, starting the summer of 1984. He is a member of the Presbytery of San Diego and serves as chair of its Self-Development of People Committee.
Bill and his wife, Susan, have two children, Shana Maria, 25, who served five months as a young adult volunteer in mission in the Philippines before earning her master's in public policy and who now works as a consultant to government agencies for Price Waterhouse in Washington, D.C., and Jonathan Luke, 21, who is studying full time at Southwestern Community College, Chula Vista, California.
Birthday: August 14