Sunday, June 27, 2010

Immigration forum

Half a dozen Crescent Hill folks were among those who joined Julia Thorne, an immigration lawyer who advises and organizes the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. on immigration issues, for a discussion at Central Presbyterian Church. Julia led an enlightening discussion about immigration and diversity in scripture, including the flight of the infant Jesus with his parents to Egypt. Julia reviewed some of the development of immigration and diversity law in U.S. history and outlined today’s very complex immigration policies. Julia highlighted the existence of two key categories of people between citizens and undocumented immigrants: people here with temporary legal status (like international status or people officially designated for positions in agricultural labor that have gone unfilled by U.S. people) and people who are legal permanent residents but not citizens (like our own Kevin and Irene, both Canadian citizens), who enjoy many of the benefits of citizenship but cannot vote and can be deported if convicted of a felony. Julia gave an example of a fictional local roofing contractor who, if he followed all of the rules and things went reasonably well, he might gain legal permission to hire someone he had selected in 10 years. Julia expressed pessimism about the passage of liberal immigration reform. Instead of or in addition to advocacy for reform, churches might also help: (1) make it possible for undocumented immigrant young people to attend college with financial aid; and (2) support immigrants in a network of U.S. government immigration detention centers and local jails and private prisoners where immigrants are held – especially immigrants in detention nearby. Presbyterians there from the presbytery’s Hispanic Latino commission talked about a private effort to raise money for such an effort for University of Louisville students (the Dream Foundation), and a former Center for Women and Families talked about her efforts to protect her children and herself from domestic violence . The discussion underlined how vulnerable immigrants are to abuse and neglect in prison and within their families, since they have few rights and no one to advocate for them.

-- Perry

Thursday, June 24, 2010

School's out!

This Tuesday the second-term Spanish class that Ada has lead finished up, with a look ahead to orthodox future tense and -er and -ir verbs. After class, classmates Lowell (aka Raul) and Janine hosted many of the students and the teacher (pictured below) for refreshments and conversation (in Spanish and English) on their front porch. Ada talked about possibly starting up a third-term class in the fall.

-- Perry

Opportunities for involvement

I want to echo Lowell’s Minute for Mission (pictured above) THANK YOU to Crescent Hill folks for your involvement in the July Guatemala mission trip. In addition to or instead of financially sponsoring some of our partners’ participation in the July mission trip rendezvous in Coban, Guatemala, a number of you have agreed to serve as prayer partners with individual members of the Crescent Hill mission team: Ana Lara, Andrea Trautwein, Claudia Foulkes, Ellen Dozier, Jane Larsen-Wigger, Lowell Linder, and Perry Chang. Prayer partners will pray for the mission team member with whom they are partnered daily – throughout the July 10-July 17 trip - as well as writing the team member a note – to be given to Perry, Patti Marcum, or the church office –that will ultimately be given to her or him early on during the trip. The note should be supportive and might include a scripture statement, thought, or story.

If you’re interested in serving as a prayer partner, please sign up at the Guatemala mission table before or after worship, this Sunday, June 27, or e-mail Patti at the church office at Let Patti know with whom you want to partner and an e-mail address or phone number for us to contact you. Please also let Patti know if you’d be willing to help out with rides to the airport early Saturday morning, July 10, or from the airport late Saturday evening, July 17.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Guatemala mission partnership or want to help plan activities during the retreat that is part of the trip, please join us (Dutch treat) for lunch at the Mexico Viejo restaurant on Brownsboro Road after worship this Sunday or check out this blog.

-- Perry

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer schedule

Sunday, June 20:
- Lowell speaks about the mission trip in a Minute for Mission during worship
- soliciting sponsors for Estoreño partners and prayer partners for Crescent Hill mission team members before and after worship

Sunday, June 27
- soliciting sponsors for Estoreño partners and prayer partners for Crescent Hill mission team members
- lunch at Mexico Viejo restaurant on Brownsboro Road for team members and other task force members

Sunday, July 4
- Congregation commissions mission team members

Sunday, July 10
- Mission team departs for Guatemala

Saturday, July 17
- Four mission team members return to Louisville

Saturday, July 24
- Pastor Jane returns to Louisville

Friday, August 6
- Ellen returns to the U.S.

Tuesday, August 17
- Ana returns to Louisville

Sunday, August 22
- Crescent Hill worship service celebrates experiences of all three summer mission trips

Monday, June 14, 2010

Unfamiliar sights, familiar locales

Many of the terribles scenes in the photos Soni shared with other Crescent Hill folks from the web were of Guatemalan locales familiar to some folks. A town half way up the Picaya volcano that erupted late last month, San Vincente (pictured above), Soni, Stephanie, Perry, and others on the 2007 went though on their way up the volcano. This town the eruption badly damaged. Badly damaged by mudslides that tropical storm Agatha triggered was Amatitlan, the town adjacement to the camp where Ellen, Stephanie, Gerardo, Pablo, Stan, and Guatemala mission networks stayed for their November 2008 gathering. The pictures below illustrate some of the destruction. At the end of that trip, Stephanie and Ellen also stayed in Guatemala City, where the 2009 team also stayed with Soila and her husband, and Guatemala City is where the giant sinkhole (far below) developed.

-- Perry

Deadly month

A lot has been happening in Guatemala. A blog entry from earlier this month described the damage from the volcano eruption and resulting ash. During the eruption, tropical storm Agatha approached and hit southern Mexico and western Guatemala, triggering widespread landslides, killing at least 170 people. Soni found some incredible photos of the damage from the volcano/ash and storm/landslides. Ellen and her former mission co-worker colleagues have stressed that the death and destruction from landslides does not simply reflect the results of a natural disaster. Poverty and lack of government regulation means that – as in Haiti before the earthquake – poorly built homes and other buildings are erected, sometimes in unsafe areas, with little stormwater management. The storm hit the area where mission worker Karla Koll lives more than some other areas, but the locales of most of the folks in Guatemala we are working on the trip – Roger and Gloria Marriott (Coban), Amanda Craft (Antigua) , Pastor Gerardo Ich Pop (El Estor and Izabal) seemed less affected.

As Crescent Hill folks have become accustomed to in the weeks prior to mission trips, security issues have recently come to the fore. Mission co-worker Dennis Smith and Ellen shared with Crescent Hill folks information about a report about an early massacre of indigenous people in a village near Coban, where the team will be next month, dating back to the early days of the civil war: see picture above also)

Reminders of how violence has returned in somewhat different forms to Guatemala and the tough time the government has had dealing with it: The head of the U.N. effort to bring the rule of law to Guatemala quit, citing lack of progress and the government’s indifference and, in particular – the selection of an allegedly drug industry-tainted person as Guatemalan attorney general (the next week the Guatemalan parliament declined to confirm this person). In an apparent sign that the drug industry doesn’t approve of even the modest steps the government has taken to combat it, earlier this week the heads of several people beheaded showed up in and in front of public buildings – apparently in retaliation for the government trying to gain control of prisons from the gang leaders who have informally run the prisons and their business from behind bars.

-- Perry

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thursday gathering pictures

Thusday evening gathering

Half a dozen folks – the July 2010 Guatemala mission trip mission team plus Soni and Frisco – gathered last Thursday night – to talk about the trip and the partnership. Ellen shared some insights about working with Guatemalans, including the insight that the volcano ash and the tropical storm landslides were a great example and metaphor for how out-of-control most Guatemalans feel their lives are and how this sets them apart from North Americans, with their can-do attitude. Ellen also suggested some mission team members might keep a journal for themselves during the trip. The group decided to table seeking more sponsors for Guatemalan partners participating in the Coban gathering the middle two Sundays of June, with Lowell doing a Minute for Mission about the trip on Father’s Day Sunday, the group going out to lunch the next Sunday after church (June 27), and being commissioned on Sunday, July 4. The group peppered Ellen and others with questions about what the trip would be like and went over the schedule, with Ellen and others making a few suggestions. The group was unable to reach Gerardo, but Ellen reached him the next night after reaching home. Gerardo was apparently unfazed by all of the natural disasters, and apparently no ash and no inordinate amount of rain had reached the Izabal area. Gerardo told Ellen they were still up for the rendezvous and talked some about the Christian education curriculum project, for which he has been pitching for financial support. Ellen asked him to bring some materials for the project to Coban. Friday AM Perry and Carlos nailed down with Carlos’ brother Roberto that the team would stay in the hotel Carmen – very centrally located – for the two nights in Coban, at affordable rate. On the first night the driver of the team’s van will stay with Lowell and Perry or at another site.

-- Perry

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day e-mail to Izabal folks

Saludos de la IPCH Iglesia Presbiteriana Crescent Hill (Dom. 30 de Mayo)

Saludos de la Iglesia Presbiteriana Crescent Hill. Esta semana las clases para las personas quienes no hablan Ingles bien – incluyendo unas personas Guatemaltecos – terminan. Es posible que nuevas clases van a comenzar en Agosto o Septiembre. Este mes una nueva clase en nuestra iglesia para las personas quienes quisieran aprender Español comienza. Dos personas quienes van a ir en el viaje en Julio son estudiantes en esta clase. También el domingo pasado nuestra iglesia celebró un día de a Pentecostés con un culto afuera de nuestro edificio. Gracias a Dios, el tiempo estuvo bueno. También la iglesia Presbiteriana nacional (PCUSA) despidió unas 50 personas que hubieron trabajado para la iglesia. Nadie en la iglesia Crescent Hill perdió su empleo con la iglesia nacional. Pero hay unas otras personas en nuestra iglesia quienes necesitan empleo. Oramos a Dios para las personas en su presbiterio y en nuestra iglesia quienes están sin empleo y quienes necesitan dinero.

Nos comunicamos con Rogelio Marriott y hicimos pequeños cambios al itinerario posible para el viaje a Coban. Ese es un posible itinerario nuevo:

- 11 de la mañana del domingo: personas del Presbiterio Estoreño vienen al Centro Nazareno a Cobán
- 12 del mediodía del domingo: orientación en el Centro Nazareno
- 1 de la tarde del domingo: el almuerzo en el Centro Nazareno
- 2 de la tarde del domingo: culto en al Centro Nazareno (las personas del Presbiterio Estoreño encargarán)
- 4 de la tarde del domingo: estudio de la biblia (relacionado con compañerismo)
- 6 de la tarde del domingo: la cena en el Centro Nazareno
- 7 y la media de la tarde del domingo: actividad sobre nuestro compañerismo

- 7 y la media por la mañana del lunes: el desayuno en el Centro Nazareno
- 9 por la mañana del lunes: estudio de la biblia
- 10 y la media por la mañana, dialogo sobre nuestras estrategias de misión y evangelización
- 12 del mediodia del lunes: Pastora Delia Leal (charla sobre la historia y la cultura de Cobán)
- 1 de la tarde del lunes: el almuerzo en el Centro Nazareno
- 2 de la tarde del lunes: caminata por Cobán con Pastora Delia Leal a la cabeza
- 3 de la tarde del lunes: viaje (visita) de la Finca Santa Margarita
- 6 de la tarde: la cena en el Centro Nazareno
- 7 y la media de la tarde del lunes: devocional y cantos

- 7 y la media por la mañana del martes: el desayuno en el Centro Nazareno
- 8 y la media por la mañana del martes: estudio de la biblia (relacionado con nuestro compañerismo)
- 10 por la mañana del martes: visita a la escuela La Patria (escuela evangélica presbiteriana en Cobán) y dialogo con unos maestros y unos estudiantes
- 1 de la tarde del martes: el almuerzo en el Centro Nazareno
- 2 de la tarde del martes: viaje al Museo El Príncipe Maya en Cobán
- 6 de la tarde del martes: la cena en el Centro Nazareno
- 7 y la media de la tarde: devocional y cantos (las personas del Presbiterio Estoreño encargarán)

- 7 y la media por la mañana del miércoles: el desayuno en el Centro Nazareno
- 9 por la mañana del miércoles: vamos en las camionetas para Semuc Champey
-12 del mediodía del miércoles: el almuerzo en Semuc Champey (los sandwiches del Centro Nazareno)
- 3 y media de la tarde del miércoles: volvemos en las camionetas al Centro Nazareno
- 4 y media de la tarde del miércoles: un grupo pequeño (personas de Crescent HIll y Estoreño) hacen los planes por el culto y despedida
- 6 de la tarde del miércoles: la cena al Centro Nazareno
- 7 y la media de la tarde del miércoles: culto y despidida

- 7 por la mañana del jueves: el desayuno en el Centro Nazareno
-9 por la mañana del jueves: personas del presbiterio Estoreño y de la Iglesia Presbiteriana Crescent Hill salen de Cobán para sus respecticos hogares.

Van Ustedes a podir pensar sobre las estrategias de misión y evangelización de su presbiterio y las igelsias en su prebiterio antes de la reunion en Julio?

Estamos leyendo sobre el volcán que entró en erupción y sobre la tormenta y los desprendimientos de tierra. Hay la ceniza del volcán o los desprendimientos de tierra de la tormenta en Izabal? Oramos en el culto el domingo para las personas en Guatemala quienes son supervivientes del erupción o la tormenta. En 2007 un grupo de las personas de nuestra iglesia caminamos en el volcán que entró en erupción en la semana pasada.

Bendiciones de Dios para Ustedes durante el mes de Junio.

-- Pedro