Events in honor of the 140th anniversary of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico begin May 18and will continue for the next several months.

Exhibitions, lectures and roundtable discussions are planned, dealing with the history, theology and anthropology of the church, covering the time of the arrival of the first U.S. missionaries in Mexico in 1872.

Records show there were families holding worship services in Zacatecas state as early as 1856. The Sinai Temple in Villa de Cos, consecrated in 1870, is the oldest among the evangelical church buildings that exist in Mexico. Missionary Melinda Rankin began her work in the north of the country in 1862.

The commemorations will begin May 18with the theme, “History and Historiography of Presbyterianism,” to be followed July 6-7 with two programs, “Presbyterianism: A People With a Theological Mentality,” and “Presbyterianism: Social Anthropology and History.”

On September 9-10, the Theological Community of Mexico will host a program on “Debating Protestantism: Roundtable Discussions and Final Lecture.” Prominent defenders of Mexican Presbyterianism will participate, including Juan Amador, Melinda Rankin, Arcadio Morales, Elazar Z. Perez, Moises Saenz, Aaron Saenz and Evangelina Coroa.

The anniversary comes a year after the Mexican church voted to end its 139-year partnership in mission with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), after the U.S. church’s decision in 2011 to allow the ordination of sexually active gays and lesbians.

That decision is likely to jeopardize significant work along the U.S.-Mexican border — as well as the future of short-term congregational mission trips to Mexico and more than two dozen partnerships that PCUSA presbyteries and synods have established in Mexico.