Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Breakfast and Building Work at San Pedro

Claudia gathers children from the area around San Pedro Church (Lima) for breakfast. Today it's a birthday and there's a chocolate cake. While they all gather round to sing "happy birthday" and receive their piece of cake, the workmen continue to lay the foundations of new classrooms.
San Pedro is to be the site of the new Compassion International project for mothers and children under three years of age. It will begin with fifty mothers and has been chosen because of the excellent project run by the Rev Misael Varillas in his other church, Cristo Redentor, further down the hill.
The site for the church and project was given by the local mayor and the space has been literally carved out of the rocky slope, as can be seen in the photo. The building behind the workmen is the project's kitchen, now functioning.
The children in the other photo are having their breakfast in the patio in front of the church, seen with the open doors.

Monday, May 28, 2007

St Philip's Cabanaconde - Colca Canyon

Work continues on the mission post in the Colca Canyon, and the workmen, photographed with Padre Alejandro (on the right) and the building in the background, are now completing the plastering and the exterior stone work. There is still much to be done, but we hope to have the building in use within the next three months.
Besides the building work, Padre Alejandro has become a familiar face around town. In the photo (on the left) he is talking to a local farmer on his horse. As a quechua speaker, he has been welcomed by the people and it is now common knowledge that there will soon be an Anglican Church in the town. Recently a crowd of over fifty people gathered in the Town Hall to watch a video of the life of Jesus.
Ruben Mancilla, a seminarian and Lay Minister from Villa El Salvador, Lima, has been posted to Cabanaconde, to help Padre Alejandro, and from August he will move to take his place alongside him as a missionary in the Canyon.

The Colca Canyon is one of the deepest in the world, three quarters of a mile deep at one point. In the photo (on the right), the canyon can be seen beyond our new building, and the snow capped mountains are on the opposite side of it.

On the Street on Pentecost Day

On Pentecost Day the Bishop visited two missions which meet on the streets of the Independencia District of Lima. In both places Peter's words from Acts 2 were read, words first spoken on the streets of Jerusalem!
The first celebration took place outside a centre for handicapped people, "Hearts United in Solidarity and Action" and the second in a community on the edge of the city, where the road climbs into the foothills of the Andes and comes to a steep end.
Both missions are organised by the Deacon Benjamin Salas, helped by his wife Livia. Benjamin is a talented musician and leads the worship with either a guitar or key board. As the Gospel was preached, people leaned out their windows and passers by stopped to listen. There was a deep sense of relevance to be celebrating Pentecost on the streets and deeply moving experience.
After the service the Bishop discussed with community leaders how a soup kitchen might be organised and run. Many children in the area suffer from malnutrition, making them vulnerable to TB and other diseases, and less able to ope well with study.
A young teenager, Michael.,was brought to the bishop after the service. He told how he was abandoned by his parents when he was young and lives alone, doing odd jobs for people so as to receive food. He was a delightful young man and it was a heart breaking story, one to which we must respond.... how, yet, I do not know. But Jesus' words ring in my heart, "in as much as you did it to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me." Matthew 25:40.

Pentecost at The Ascension Mission

The Ascension Mission celebrated its second anniversary on Pentecost Day, praying for a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the next stage of its life and mission.
Very soon the congregation is to move to a new location where it will share facilities with the Seminary and Diocesan Centre. The mission will have the use of the ground floor of the three storey building, which has a chapel for 150-200 people and excellent classrooms and office facilities. Behind the present building there is space for a future parish church, letting out onto a busy suburban avenue - an excellent location!
After the Eucharist some of the children made a presentation about the Holy Spirit's coming to Jesus' disciples and the "birthday" of the Church. Following the service there was a bring share lunch and the inevitable birthday cake. The mission is led by the Rev Alberto Valdivia (seen in the photo, top left, with his wife Gianina), who is looking forward to the move and the challenge of ministry in a middle class area.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

St Patrick's - Our Newest Mission Church

St Patrick's in the northwest of Lima, is our newest mission. It has grown up in a housing cooperative for handicapped people. Fr Jesus Urbina, who is also the diocesan doctor, began the work there in March of this year. Some of the people were born with handicaps and others have been handicapped in road or industrial accidents. They have put up sheeting around the lot they have been given for a church and hope to begin construction of a multi-purpose building there soon.
The area is called Ventanilla and is on a sloping hillside overlooking the ocean. It is a new area, mainly of sand, that has been populated in the last three years by over half a million people. There are almost no facilities and a very infrequent bus service, and the population is very isolated. Fr Jesus says that because most of the people sleep on the sand, without matresses, and because of the damp climate and poor nutrition, TB and bronchitis are very common. So the mission has a soup kitchen and funds have recently been donated to help provide a daily meal for the children. There is also talk of beginning a school.

St Patricks is one of three new missions in the north of Lima, all of which have sprung up in the last few months.

[You can see the ocean is in the background of the second photo.]

Carrot Cake and Hairdressing

Over thirty women have enrolled for the workshops "Manos que crean" (Creative Hands) in the Holy Family Mission in Villa Maria de Triunfo, and on Thursday (May 24) they were learning to make carrot cake and chocolates. The workshop, which started three weeks ago, is led by Gloria from St Mary's Mission and meets three afternoons a week. Each woman paid an enrollment fee of 40 cents (25p) and their fund, from the sale of their work, now stands at $65 (£30).
The workshop operates in a shelter made of wicker sheets. It is also used as a medical centre when the diocesan doctors visit the area, a hairdressing salon, and the church on Sundays, a truly holistic mission enterprise.
The Holy Family Mission began just before Christmas 2006 and is now a flourishing community lead by Padre Aurelio Rodriguez. They have two sites amidst a population of approximately 15,000 people. It is an area of extreme poverty which has had no running water or sewage system for over 15 years. Work will begin soon on both the church and the Good Samaritan Centre, which will house a clinic and children's centre as well as the workshops.
Gloria, who is the director of the workshop, also began a shoe making project in St Mary's Church. It is hoped that a grant will be found to enable her magnificent work to continue and reach out to more women.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Deacons' Meeting in Lima

Deacons from Dallas (USA), Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba met with deacons and lay ministers from Peru for a week long conference at the end of April and beginning of May. The purpose was to enrich and encourage deacons in their office and ministry and to promote the "permanent diaconate" in the Diocese of Peru.
During the first three days the visitors were taken to see the churches and ministries of the Diocese by the home deacons.
On the following days there were teachings, consultations and testimonies. Presentations were made to seminarians and priests, and there was an open vocational evening to which 76 people came.
The Diocese of Peru aims to encourage and promote the "permanent diaconate" as a significant and central ministry. The Diocese of Dallas, through its Bishop, the Rt Rev James Stanton, has played an important role in developing the permanent diaconate, and this has been a major source of inspiration and encouragement to Bishop William.

The Diocese of Peru now has seven deacons: Maria, Norma, Patricia, Rachel, Benjamin, David and Justo. The visiting deacons included Diana, Nancy, Toni, Felicia, David and Philip (all from Dallas), Monica (Argentina) and Martha (Cuba and Uruguay). In the photo they are seen with several of our Lay Ministers.

The diaconate is the first of the holy orders of the Church and has existed since New Testament times, where it is referred to on a number of occasions. All ordained clergy are first ordained deacon, and they remain deacons even if later they go on to become priests or bishops. The word deacon comes from the Greek word which means "servant" and their ministry and calling is to exemplify and live out the sacrificial and loving service of Jesus Christ. This they do in many different forms of ministry alongside the bishop, assisting the Church wherever they are sent by him.

St Matthew's School's New Banner

The new banner of St Matthew's School, Lima, was presented in the Cathedral during the ordination service on 5th May. The school was represented by the the Head Teacher, members of staff, parents and pupils.
After the service, during which the children behaved beautifully, pupils and staff presented a number of traditional Peruvian dances. Finally they danced through the reception, drawing people into their dance and presenting the guests with typical hats and shawls.
In a speech, the Head Teacher, Mrs Carmen Sanchez, said that the presentation of dances was done with much love and in honour of the newly ordained deacon and our visitors.
The dancing was a beautiful and inspiring conclusion to a memorable and historic event in the life of the diocese.

[In the photo is the Bishop and the Rev Jorge Aguilar - the School Chaplain - with the new banner.]

Derwent Hockey Club colours in South America

The Bishop recently celebrated his birthday and among his presents was a very special gift indeed from England - his old hockey colours.
He played for Derwent Hockey Club for over fifteen years as a winger and centre forward and it was an emotional moment to put on the "magenta and navy blue halves" again for his morning run round the park.
Maybe the shirt had changed a bit.... now more a maroon than magenta, short sleeved (obviously for tropical use), and with advertising sponsorship names! And the badge had changed too.... no longer the "rampant trout" of the Derwent River, but rather a shield and the club's year of foundation 1897!
Thanks to all who got it out to Peru for me. A really brilliant present.

[PS There is no truth in the rumour that the Bishop will be playing for the Amazon Hockey Club - with its "rampant piranha" badge.]

Childrens' Home Quilts

The young people of our Holy Family Children's Home in Arequipa have been receiving lessons in using their new sewing machine. Their first product is a quilt, made up of patterned squares with the symbols of different saints.
Each of the young people received lessons from Sherry Schwarz, a member of the "Roof Dogs" group, who recently spent two weeks in Arequipa.
The youngsters quickly learnt basic skills and were soon working on skirts and other items of clothing.
[The "Roof Dogs" are a group of people from Plano dedicated to helping the children and young people of our Homes in Arequipa. Their name is taken from the watch dogs which live on the roofs of many houses in Peru, guarding and "watching out" for the family.
Sherry Schwarz - top left in photo - raises funds for different projects of the Diocese, especially of the Children's Homes.]

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Reception of Priest and "charismatic" Church Planter

Fr Jesus Urbina was received with his wife Angela and son Sebastian into the Anglican Communion during the Eucharist on Saturday 5th May.
Fr Jesus is a medical doctor who resigned his orders in the Roman Catholic Church several years ago. He is now in charge of the Medical Mission of the Diocese and is organising clinics and medical services in the shanty towns (Pueblos Jovenes) of Lima.
As well as his medical work he has already planted two new missions in the north of Lima, one called St Patrick's, after Fr Urbina was so moved by the history of Anglicanism's Celtic forebears. His infectious smile, enthusiastic spirit and passion for serving the poor in Jesus' name, make him an excellent church planter. St Patrick's Mission is based in an area that has been populated by a "housing cooperative" of handicapped people in Ventanilla, Callao.

Ordination of New Deacon

María Andía was ordained deacon on Saturday 5th May in the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd in Lima.
The ordination came as the highlight of a week long conference on the "permanent deaconate", to which deacons from the Dioceses of Dallas, Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba, as well as Peru, were invited.
María was among the first class of seminarians to graduate from the Diocesan Seminary in Arequipa in December 2004. She will serve in her home parish of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) in Arequipa, where her husband Fr Juan Carlos Revilla is the parish priest.
Among her present responsibilities are the sercretariat of the Seminary and the Arequipa office of Diocesan Administration. María and Juan Carlos have three sons.
[María is on the right of the Bishop in the photo, surrounded by other deacons and lay ministers.]

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