Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Feeding the Five Thousand

The pictures tell their own story. Every day since they began last week, the Diocesan earthquake response team has been feeding an average of almost 5,000 people a day.
In every place the team has worked, it's been the first help to arrive.

The Diocese has been joined by volunteers from ASIPO, a service organisation which helps people suffering from AIDS.... social workers, nurses, psychologists.
Together with our Padre Jesus Mejia, the Bishop's chaplain , and Pastor Zevallos, they have been serving hungry people.
The aim is to start up soup kitchens and community help centres which the local people will then run themselves.
These centres are registered with PRONAC and Civil Defence so that they qualify for food distribution.
We are buying and sending kerosene cookers, large pans and cooking utensils for the work.
Transport is expensive and we are hoping to receive food from the organisations that are taking it down in bulk: Caritas, the Salvation Army, PRONAC the government food agency. But as yet these food stores are not available.
Transport without the police or army is dangerous and desperate people are stopping vehicles to take what they are carrying to their families. Inevitably there is racketeering too.

Such has been the response from our friends that we shall be sending a second team to the stricken towns and villages.
All being well this new team will be in operation before the end of the week.
It is our hope to send it up into the mountainous areas of Huacavelica, in land from the epicentre. This is the poorest area of Peru and because of its isolation it is likely that no help has yet reached there.

It has been amazing how many other churches and organisations have been in contact with us and asked to work with us.
I feel humbled by the offers we have received and pray that by God's grace we may be worthy of it.

In Lima we have volunteers working in the hospitals, visiting and caring for those who have been injured and are far from home.
We are caring for their families too with food, clothing, medicines, friendship and lodging.
Ericka Montoya, our social worker who received a grant from USPG for her training, is leading this ministry.

The parable of the sheep and goats is near the top of our minds as we have the privilege of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick...

Once again thank you so much to all our friends who have been so
faithful in their prayers and generous in their giving. May God bless you for your kindness. We are only too aware of the privilege we have of being released to serve in this way and conscious that it is by your giving that this is possible. May God's love be multiplied among us.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Earthquake: Initial Response Widens

Emergency relief work continues to be our priority in areas close to the epicentre of the earthquake. Our objective is to identify and reach areas where help has not yet come. Time is of the essence for people who have no water and food.

Yesterday the Diocesan team opened a new base in Guadalupe to the north of Ica and over 5,000 people received their first full meal in several days. Food, water and medicine continue to be the priority as well as tending to the injured.
Today the team will open another soup kitchen in San Juan Bautista, a district of 15,000 people again near Ica. Only established and registered soup kitchens can receive food from the national food agency PRONAC, so our strategy is to enable and equip such kitchens, register them with the food agency, and organise them so as to continue under the direction of local people.
The Diocesan aid work is being directed by the Rev Jaime Siancas, the Deacon of our NGO "Communion-Peru".

Another ministry opportunity we are responding to is to support the injured who have been brought from the south to Lima’s hospitals. Many of them were brought in on stretchers with no personal belongings. We are providing food, clothing, medicines, prayer and counsel, and when the time comes transport back to their families. This is being led by Ericka Montoya, our Social Worker, and women of AMA (MU) from our parishes, with the support of the clergy.

Yesterday there were collections of food, water, clothing, blankets in our parishes and missions. Anything that can be of use to the victims was gathered and will be sent down in the coming days.

We had an excellent meeting yesterday morning with sister organisations ECLOF, the Presbyterian Church (PECUSA) and ASIPO to coordinate our work and resources.
We are working with ASIPO in the field and they are strengthening the team with professional workers such as nurses, social workers and community workers. They have excellent contacts with the government and helped us with the transport of food and other supplies.
Tomorrow I have a meeting with the relief agency Caritas with the hope of accessing large quantities of food in the affected areas. These supplies will not be available for several days more, and in the meantime we are using our own transport, which is costly and limited.
We are greatly impressed by Peru’s Civil Defence force. Its professionalism and organisation has been remarkable. The Diocese and our NGO “Communion-Peru” have registered with them as agencies involved in the overall aid effort. They have a record of all that is being done and will direct registered organisations to areas where help has not yet arrived.

The whole relief operation is being complicated by disorder, robbery and looting. There is great nervousness about the presence of unidentified strangers and the transportation of goods is almost impossible without army escort. Darkness is giving cover to gangs who loot houses and rob families of the little they still have.

Our grateful thanks goes to our friends and sister churches from many parts of the world for your spontaneous and generous gifts. Thank you for all you are doing and for your prayers and giving. Without them our part in this response would be greatly reduced. You are enabling us to go into areas where help has so far not arrived with a minimum of fuss and red tape. As funds come in we shall be able to increase our efforts.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


The Diocese is deeply involved in earthquake relief and rescue work.
At present we have a small team of people in the area of the epicentre. They are primarily involved in feeding people and providing water and medicine. Yesterday they fed over 6,000 people in an area just outside Pisco - a two hour walk. They were the first help to arrive.
Today they are setting up a more permanent soup kitchen outside Nazca called Guadalupe. Spiritual help and comfort is also important and I have two more priests going down tomorrow.
It has been very difficut to get to the area because of poor roads and civil disorder, but so far they have had the help of army convoys to reach the stricken areas.

We are organising our efforts in three ways:
1. a team of workers in the worst hit areas is responding to immediate need - food, water, medicine, blankets. We are trying to reach areas where so far other help has not yet arrived, always woking in conjunction with the local authority.
2. help for the injured and their families who have been brought to Lima - we have a team of people on this and the Ministry of Health has given us the names of over 450 injured, including 25 children;
3. collections of essential things from our parishes and mission, nearly all of which are in poor areas, and some of which have been affected themselves.

We are working in conjunction with other churches and aid agencies, adding whatever we can to what God gives us.

COSTS: I shall be publishing details of costs probably later today, but to give you an idea: a meal costs about 60 US cents (30p UK)
a blanket about $5 (£2.50)
a 20 litre (4 gallons) container of water is $4 (£2).
To feed 6,000 people yesterday cost us $3,600 (£1,800)

Friday, August 17, 2007


I received this report from a member of the Cathedral congregation who was in touch by radio with a friend in Chincha, one of the worst affected areas....

"Just to give you an idea .... almost all the buildings have fallen down. There's no food or water. Medicines are scarce and there's no electricity nor telephones. They are selling candles at S/.10 each, that's US$3 each!

There are (dead) bodies all around and they can't be got out and there isn't any medical help. There is nobody to remove the corpses and the sense of grief and mourning invades the whole scene in such a way that we can't begin to take it in.

Not much is known about Pisco. I have a great friend there who works in the fishing port and we haven't heard anything from him. I know you'll understand the state of families in this sort of situation.

My suggestion at this time of such anguish is to begin a campaign, to gather candles, bottles of water, chlorine tablets (for water), batteries for flash lights and flash lights (torches), tinned food, blankets, large plastic bags for the dead - they don't have coffins and it would be almost impossible to get them there with the roads being in the state they are....."

If you live outside Peru, please send donations. The details are set out in the news report below.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Like many others in Peru today we are still taking in the scale of the tragedy and gathering information. Our intention is to join forces with other agencies and gather resources to be able to respond to the victims of the earthquake. Emergency help is still needed from both inside and outside the country.
Our Diocesan NGO "Comunion-Peru" will be working in conjunction with the Catholic agency "Caritas" and the Lutheran agency "Lutheran World Relief". Both have wide experience of response to natural disasters.

Donations of clothing, blankets, food and medicine are being received in the National Football Stadium in Lima and a Hercules plane of the Peruvian Airforce will be flying to Pisco, the area worst affected tomorrow.

Donations of money can be sent to either of the Diocesan bank accounts in Texas, USA and Nottingham, UK.
We shall be in touch with those who look after our accounts to bring down the money immediately.

USA: Call the office of Susan Kerr and/or make checks payable to "Christ Church - Peru Earthquake Appeal"
Mrs Susan Kerr
4550 Legacy Drive
Plano, TX 75024
Tel 972 618 0222

UK: Call Patrick Mackie and/or make checks payable to "Anglican Diocese of Peru - Earthquake Appeal"
Mr Patrick Mackie
4, Croft Rise, East Bridgford
Nottingham NG13 8PS
Tel/Fax 01949 20519

Earthquake Devastation - A Letter from Lima

I was in Florida when the earthquake struck and have spent much of the day trying to reach people on the phone and coordinate help from afar. Telephones were down to begin with, but I've just received this prayer letter from Deacon Rachel Hill...

Dear friends,
Thank you for your prayers for protection! We are all well if a little shaken up by last night's earthquake. I was at the cathedral about to teach class, Allen was home with the boys. We cancelled class and everyone left to go home. My usual 7-10 minutes drive took over half an hour as the streets were flooded with people trying to get home. For many of our seminarians it was hours before they could squeeze onto a bus and then make it through the hectic traffic to their families. Thankfully all were well.
Today we have been in touch with all the missions and projects of the diocese and there has been no serious damage or injury that we know of. Tomorrow all our building will be checked by an architect. We are planning to provide emergency relief to meet the needs of those in our communities who did suffer. Miraculously little damage was sustained in the shanty towns, by the grace of God. Sadly, there has been tremendous loss of life and homes further south and we will also be seeking to respond there in collaboration with some major relief agencies which are already in action.
Today I was out all morning and there was a very somber and quiet atmosphere everywhere. By mid-morning I realised that I too felt very shaken emotionally. As the news stations share more of the details we are all praying and waiting to see how we might help. In the San Patricio mission, few of the homes around our mission fell, but all the neighbours went down to the lower ground nearer the sea to help the families there transfer their flooded shacks to higher ground.
Please pray for all those who have lost family members, homes and livelihoods; for those who are injured and suffering; for those who will be spending their second night out of doors in this cold weather. Pray for the government and those responsible for relief and medical work, that their tasks would be done quickly and effectively. Pray also for the ground to settle and for any aftershock to be minimal in effect. Pray for safety for all of us here and for God's peace to flow like a river washing away the residue of fear. That in all of this people would seek God and find him.....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Teachers' Dancing Display

Peruvian dancing is a vital part of school life as pupils are taught to value traditional customs, and the teachers of St Matthew's School (Lima) are becoming an accomplished dancing troupe.
On August 8 they gave a presentation to the pupils of the school and distinguished visitors from Florida (USA). Their dance on this occasion was from the Colca Canyon area of Arequipa and they were dressed in beautifully embroidered dresses from the area.
Women in the remote villages of the Canyon still wear traditional costumes like these to work in the fields. Many of the younger women now wear slacks for work but still retain the embroidered hat. Nevertheless at feasts and celebrations almost all the women are dressed in this way.
In times past the number of skirts a woman wore was a sign of her status and wealth.
The Diocese is looking at the possibility of beginning a project to help local workers to sell handbags (purses) and other articles decorated with this beautiful work in the USA and UK.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sponsor a child for US$25 per month (UK £13)

We are committed to offering schooling to children from areas of great poverty.... to enable every child to reach his or her full potential. This involves a child’s intellectual, physical (including nutrition and medical care), social and artistic well being, all based in the Christian faith and values.
Parents make a regular contribution towards the cost of their child’s education, but that covers less than half the real cost, which is US$50 per month. (UK £26)
We are grateful for the support that individuals and churches have given so generously to enable our schools to be developed so far.

As this ministry grows, we need to expand our support base and are looking for donors who will sponsor the education of one or more children and commit to praying regularly for them.

USA: From $25 per month or $300 per year you can help a Peruvian child.
UK: From £13 per month or £156 per year you can help a Peruvian child.

As part of your support you will receive:
- the name of the child (or children) you are sponsoring with a brief introduction
- a report on their progress twice a year
- a letter from your child three times a year
Sponsorship could be offered by individuals, families, groups, schools or parishes.

For information on how to donate by cheque or bank transfer contact
In the USA
Mrs Susan Kerr
4550 Legacy Drive
Plano, TX 75024
Tel 972 618 0222

In the UK
Mr Patrick Mackie
4, Croft Rise, East Bridgford
Nottingham NG13 8PS
Tel/Fax 01949 20519


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