Thursday, November 12, 2009

English classes update

Attendance continues to go up and down at the joint Crescent Hill-James Lees-Covenant Community English as a foreign language education ministry., with between 15 and 25 students each of the two days a week (fewer for supper). Everyone involved is invited to a debriefing and planning meeting at 3 p.m. this Sunday, November 15, at James Lees. The fall term is slated to end before Thanksgiving - with us asking the students to bring dinner on the last night- with no formal classes. Will classes resume in January for a winter term as originally planned? One student who seems eager to continue is Luis, an intermediate class student (pictured above) whom I met during dinner Wednesday. Luis identified himself as a Guatemalan investigative journalist who has been in Louisville, as a refugee, for just two months. Luis (pictured above) fled Guatemala because of fallout from exposes on the drug cartels. He seemed to be somewhat familiar with Izabal, including with goings on around the nickel mine. He and I have been in touch by e-mail subsequently, and perhaps he can talk with our group at some point. He and his family live in Phoenix Hill, and he has been writing for the local Spanish-language newspaper, Al Dia.

-- Perry

Presbytery news

Below is a letter Rene from El Estor sent us, with news from the Estoreno Presbytery annual meeting, held simultaneously with our fast and prayer vigil in September. Fidel Juc, the pastor of the Peniel church in Boqueron - the one pastor who started out asking the spring 2009 Crescent Hill mission team about money - is the president. Pastor Gerardo Pop is one of the secretaries and the representative to the national church. About half of the folks on the presbytery executive committee are new - they were not on the committee last year. Another half are elders, not pastors. All are men. Click on the image below to enlarge it.


Last week marked another downtown in prospects for peace in Honduras. The Honduran Congress failed to re-install President Zelaya and supporters of the coup formed a "national unity" government that included representatives of various political parties but no supporters of the president. Zelaya, still holed up in the Brazilian embassy in Honduras, denounced this turn of events as news of systematic violence against women by coup supporters surfaced thanks to human rights activists.

Having pushed for a compromise that implied a place for Zelaya, the resolve of the U.S. government also seemed to collapse as officials hinted that the United States would accept the outcome of a late November Honduran election, even though supporters and allies of the president will be excluded. The coup-installed government reportedly threatened the future of the U.S. military base in Honduras. No sign that Honduras' elected president and that democracy in Central America has any particular forceful advocates in the the U.S. Congress.

-- Perry

Monday, November 2, 2009

Crescent Hill's turn

On hand for Day 1 of Crescent Hill's monthlong responsibilities to provide food for the joint English as a foreign language ministry were November leaders Janine and Doug (iictured above). On hand to wash dishes was Lee and Stephanie; to help teach were Joanne (below), Izzy, and Gayle; and to help out with the kids were Eva (further below), Douglas (further below), Ana, and a couple of her friends (furthest below).

-- Perry


Half a dozen kids at Sunday afternoon's Children's Fellowship colored "Welcome," "Bienvenidos," and "Bienvenue" signs that were put up around James Lees church, scene of the joint English as a Foreign Language ministry, on Day 1 of Crescent Hill being responsible (for a month) for providing food. And - on Monday afternoon - up the signs went.

Response from Rene


E-mail to Gerardo (Nov. 2)

Saludos en el nombre de Jesucristo. Esperamos que sus vidas estén llenas de las bendiciones de Dios.

Comencemos a tener frio acá Louisville, pero todavía no es la estación del invierno cuando hay nieve!

El día sábado, 19 de Septiembre, el segundo día la asamblea de su presbiterio – unas personas de la iglesia Crescent Hill vinieron al templo de la iglesia para una vigilia, un tiempo para oración y ayuno. Nosotros caminamos a los 13 sitios dentro del templo. Habrá un sitio para cada iglesia en su presbiterio y un sitio para el comité ejecutivo, para las mujeres Presbiterianas, y para los y las jóvenes. En cada sitio había una foto y una vela. Cada persona que participó en la vigilia caminaba del sitio a sitio y oraba.

A las 12 de la tarde, había un culto y después fuimos a un restaurante para comer almuerzos juntos.

En nuestro culto en domingo, el día siguiente, una pastora de Guatemala, Delia Leal, predicó. Por la tarde de lunes, un misionero de los Estados Unidos quien ha vivido en Guatemala por muchos años, Dennis Smith, habló sobre Guatemala.

En la primera semana del Octubre unas personas de nuestra iglesia comenzaron a enseñar inglés a 15 personas quien hablan español. Unas de estas personas son de Guatemala y vivan cerca de nuestra iglesia. Las clases son en los días lunes y miércoles. Antes de las clases hay una cena y durante las clases hay actividades para niños y niñas.

El sábado, 31 de Octubre, tuvimos la reunión del comité de compañerismo de la iglesia Crescent Hill, y platicamos con el Pastor Gerardo y recibimos mas información y mas ideas del Pastor Gerardo sobre la asamblea del presbiterio, sobre la nueva iglesia Nueva Amanecer, y sobre la violencia cerca de la mina de níquel. Nos ayuda si ustedes pueden escribir los nombres de las personas del nuevo comité ejecutivo de su presbiterio.

Algunos miembros de nuestra iglesia hablan cada domingo para una hora antes del culto en una clase de escuela dominical sobre el compañerismo. En esta clase estamos estudiando el tema de ecumenismo.

La esposa de nuestra hermano Benjamin, Shannon, está mucho mejor. Esta semana ella va a regresar a su trabajo con la PCUSA. Gracias a Dios y a ustedes para sus oraciones por Shannon.

Como siempre, recordamos su presbiterio y sus iglesias en oración en nuestro culto ayer; también había oración por la hermana Isabel, esposa del Pastor Gerardo. También estamos orando por las mujeres quienes están viajando a Coatepeque para la convención de la Sinódica. Porque somos una familia de Jesucristo, seguimos en oración por ustedes y confiamos que ustedes estén orando por nosotros y nosotras también.

Que la gracia de Jesucristo sea con todos y todas, aquí y allá.

Hna. Elena

October 31 gathering

Half a dozen plus Crescent Hill folks gathered at Brad and Soni Castleberry’s on All Saint’s Day Eve morning to talk about the Guatemala mission partnership. Those present generally felt good about mid-September’s Guatemala mission weekend. Soni thought the group could have done more publicity earlier on, particular about the Dennis Smith talk. Pastor Jane suggested the Worship Council help sponsor additional vigils (with fasts?) in the future – with whatever focus – and that the church and task force do something like Guatemala mission weekend every year.

Perry updated folks about political events in Honduras and around El Estor and invited folks to stay afterwards to write letters to the head of the Canadian mining company trying to strip mine in western El Estor.

Perry and Ellen )pictured below) also updated folks about the Mission Celebration the previous week in Cincinnati and the Guatemala Mission Network and Amigos de K’ekchi’ gatherings that preceded that. Perry mentioned that the Amigos group (in 2010) and the network (in 2011) were both planning to gather next in Guatemala, the former in Coban. There was a spirited discussion about this and about Roger Marriott’s proposal to gather Q’eqchi’-speaking church leaders every couple of months in Coban to study the Bible and theology in Q’eqchi’.

The group mused about connecting with Estoreño folks – with or without the Amigos – in Coban, possibly for study and visiting Q’eqchi’ cultural sites and possibly other tourist sites in Coban and the surrounding area [possibly in July 2010].

Soni and Jane reported that attendance at the joint English as a foreign language has recently dipped a little. Crescent Hill folks - with Lowell taking the lead - will be providing dinner for many of the Monday and Wednesday class evenings in November.

A call to Pastor Gerardo in El Estor yielded some news: Pastor Gerardo’s wife, Isabel, is sick with dengue fever. A couple of activists in the presbytery’s Presbyterian Women organization will be traveling next week to a nationwide PW gathering. Gerardo’s family lacks money for medical care for his wife and the presbytery is receiving an offering to help pay for the women’s transportation to the gathering, since they lack money too. Gerardo was out of town – apparently visiting one of the outlying churches – during the violence associated with the nickel mine and seemed to know little about it. He said the man from the outlying western church involved was not killed, but was injured and is recovering. At the presbytery’s annual assembly in September, the presbytery did accept a new church, Nueva Amanacer (New Dawning) into its fold. The presbytery also elected new officers, including: Pastor Fidel Juc of the Peniel church in Boqueron as president. (Pictured below is Carlos holding the phone and further below is others listening to the conversation.)

Soni proposed the group try selling the Guatemala cards again and she planned to spearhead this by writing blurbs for the December newsletter and church bulletin. Soni may need help from others selling.

Soni and Jane also raised the possibility of starting up teaching Spanish in January, possibly with Ada teaching, for modest fees.
Jane asked that we streamline the Guatemala partnership material in the Narthex and Gathering Room and include a map with El Estor and/or Izabal pointed out.

Jane and Ellen also talked about Crescent Hill church's possible involvement with two ministries: a network of half a dozen Guatemalan Presbyterian Women leaders who would work with Amanda Craft whose mission work the church will be supporting to resources local and regional PW units and the Looking for Lilith theater project with its "Strangers/Extranjeras" play and Faith Stories effort.

Martha will host the next task force gathering, at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 6. Martha's home is in the Highlands.
-- Perry