Monday, November 29, 2010

End of the term

Monday night, at a joint English as a foreign language teaching ministry fall 2010 term certificiation ceremony, which Jane MC-ed.

Pictures of the gathering

November gathering

Half a dozen plus other Crescent Hill folks gathered at Carlos, Nora, and Ana’s seminary campus apartment. The group had great food and serious discussions about why the Guatemala partnership, how to communicate about it with others in the congregation, and whether and how to provide storm relief and recovery or other assistance to Estoreño partners. Why international mission? Why a partnership? And: why Guatemala? were all questions the group discussed. Connecting with people different from us and Pastor Jane’s Guatemala history should be among the key points, the group agreed.

The group decided to follow up on Ellen’s research about the presbytery’s Christian education materials, with possible support for reproduction of the materials, and continue to pursue avenues for storm relief and recovery assistance for the partners, possibly through CEDEPCA or through other agencies with which partners are already working. Tne group talked at length about how to best get a small amount of money for emergency use through channels, and no easy options are available. There may be up to $350 available through the Crescent Hill church Outreach Council and perhaps additional funds available in the Guatemala partnership fund. The group wavered between trying to get aid to Izabal before Christmas, and waiting until January, perhaps to team together a fund-raiser (like the breakfast fund-raiser Amy and Ken proposed) with the Friday, January 21 LiErin Probasco “Theologies of Receiving: Recipients’ Explanations of Cross-national Aid” talk already tentatively planned.

Discussion touched on a number of other areas - including how to boost participation in the English as a foreign language classes, the Spanish-language Sunday-school class, and the prayer vigil, as well as trying to do some joint/shared Bible study/theological reflection along with the Estoreño partners around Holy Week/Easter-time – before the group focused on some key dates:
-Monday, November 22: “graduation day” for the fall EFL ministry term. Some Crescent Hill Guatemala partnership task force folks would help with this.
-Saturday, December 12: Advent celebration of the Spanish-language worship/fellowship group, at 6 p.m. at James Lee church. Please be there.
-Wednesday, January 5: next Guatemala gathering, at 6:30 p.m. at Keith and Andrea’s house, at 7000 Woods Club Court (call 429-4558)
-Monday, January 10: start of EFL ministry winter term
-Friday, January 21: 6 p.m. LiErin Probasco talk
-Sunday, January 23: 9:45 a.m. possible breakfast fund-raiser (???)

Hopefully, an EFL planning gathering will take place at some point before January 10 and Ada’s Spanish class will start up again in January.

The group was unable to reach Pastor Gerardo by phone, and Carlos agreed to try again, in hopes to find out about storm damage, among other things. The group leaned against trying to participate in the February Guatemala mission network gathering, which is on the other side of the country from Izabal, and also against fund-raising for the theological training program. The possibility of bringing some Estoreño partners to Louisville in 2011 seemed more popular. Hopefully, how extensive the storm damage is and how best to promote storm recovery will become more clear.

-- Perry

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Taking a break

Two ancillary activities wind up fall sessions during the next week, and another activity continues. Thursday, November 18 is the last day for the third-term Spanish class, taught by Ada. Last week the class passed where it had gotten to in the previous term, and began tackling the de facto future tense and –er and –ir verbs. It’s possible a fourth term will be on tap in 2011. Let Ada know if you are interested.

Monday, November 22 is the final day of classes for the fall term of the joint Crescent Hill-James Lees-Covenant Community English as a foreign language teaching ministry. Crescent Hill is handling meal preparation and clean-up during this week, the final, full week of classes. Classes are slated to resume on Monday, January 10, 2011. Opportunities to be involved, in meal preparation, greeting students, assisting in teaching classes, or leading children’s activities, are still available. For more information or to volunteer, contact Perry, Ana, Eva, or Andrea.

The Spanish-language Sunday school (pictured above) is continuing even with the Thanksgiving holiday. The class is continuing to read and discuss the Hebrew scriptures book of Joshua, and an accompanying Presbyterian Women Horizons Bible study booklet, in Spanish (and occasionally in English). Everyone is welcome.

Late 2010 prayers

Crescent Hill church folks will be praying with the following Estoreño Presbytery groups and congregations during the rest of the year:

- Sunday, November 21, and the week thereafter: presbytery-wide Presbyterian Women organization, President Maria Coc Tiul, and other officers

- Sunday, November 28, and the week thereafter: presbytery-wide youth and young adult organization, President Armando Chub, and other officers

- Sunday, December 5, and the week thereafter: Peniel church, Pastor Pablo Sacul, and members, deacons, and elders

- Sunday, December 12, and the week thereafter: Familia de Noe church, Pastor Benjamin Sacul and spouse Carlota, and members, deacons, and elders

- Sunday, December 12, and the week thereafter: Lirio de los Valles church, Pastor Mario Xo Ical, and members, deacons, and elders

- Sunday, December 26, and the week thereafter: Puerto del Cielo church, Pastor Roberto Caal, and member, deacons, and elders

- Sunday, January 2, and the week thereafter: Jesus Es la Puerta church, Pastor Tomo Tec, and members, deacons, and elders

See you Saturday!

Folks interested in Guatemala mission partnership will gather at Carlos, Nora, and Ana's place in Heuser Hall on the Louisville Presbyterian seminary campus, at 9:30 a.m., this Saturday, November 20. Conversations about congregational engagement, disaster response, and theological reflection - as well as with Pastor Gerardo - are on tap. Everyone is welcome.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Funding possibilities

Three possibilities for partnership-related money transfers:

Disaster recovery: In late September Estoreño Presbytery set to Crescent Hill an information sheet on local problems that have resulted from Guatemala storms: expensive corn, broken up fields, damage to church buildings, and flagging giving. No doubt the global economic crisis and the barely functioning national government are also factors there. After some time Crescent Hill found that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) has been in contact with partners in Guatemala (including CEDEPCA, where Karla Koll, Dennis Smith, and Delia Leal have worked) who are surveying needs the PDA is focused on the summer storm Agatha, and, to a lesser extent, the volcano eruption. But the partners are apparently aware other storms have struck. We have been trying to put these partners and our partners in contact with each other. There is only about $2,000 in PDA’s special Guatemala storm relief account – raised since this summer – but PDA will likely plow some of its general fund money into Guatemala storm relief also. But PDA also suggested Crescent Hill church contribute money to the Guatemala storm relief fund. They asked us not to designate funds for Estoreño/Izabal relief. There was no explicit quid pro quo – but if we gave money, that couldn’t help but encourage them to focus more attention on the area . . .

E-mail exchanges and phone conversations have generated several ideas about raising some money to contribute, either through PDA and its partners or three other means: a special offering during worship, a fund-raiser, or allocation of existing money (Guatemala mission partnership funds?). Folks who have shared these ideas have been very enthusiastic about helping our partners recover from disasters. (The church Outreach Council has already recommended any remaining 2010 funds in three church accounts it has some say over go towards Guatemala storm relief.)

Folks involved in Guatemala mission have also received new information about the theological education project. Two of the Presbyterian mission co-workers Crescent Hill church worked with earlier this year have been working the Amigos de K’eckhi (a collection of U.S. congregations and presbyteries partnered with Q’eqichi’-speaking Guatemalan presbyteries), the national evangelical Presbyterian church in Guatemala, and the Presbyterian seminary there to develop a theological training program for Q’eqchi’-speaking Presbyterian pastoral leaders. This past April there was a gathering in Coban to plan for the program. No Crescent Hill people participated, but the church did send money so that two Estoreño representatives – Pastor Pablo and Pastor José Sub – could participate. This past week Crescent Hill folks received a request from folks involved in this program. They made a case for the program – Q’eqchi’-speaking pastors have on average been through third grade in school. They also reported the cost for a year of the program ($10,000) and asked for contributions. We have had questions about the program, and we have not really ascertained the level of interest on the part of Estoreño partners in it. Nothing about participating in this program appeared in the informes the partners gave the Crescent Hill mission team in July. Nevertheless, Crescent Hill has been broadly interested in theological reflection.

Finally, for almost a year Crescent Hill’s Estoreño partners and Crescent Hill folks have been talking about Q’eqchi’-language Christian education materials they’ve prepared that they were looking for money to reproduce. Partners were not able to bring sample materials to Coban in July. This month, however, Ellen is visiting Guatemala and is set to retrieve a copy of the materials from the national church office in Guatemala City, where partners left these materials a couple of months ago. (Ellen will also leave a signed Spanish-language copy of the partnership agreement between Crescent Hill and the presbytery.)

It may be, if we’re going to help out with disaster relief, we may want to do this relatively soon. A program we’re thinking of having in January might address this issue of gift giving in mission relationships.

-- Perry

Monday 10/25 e-mail exchange

From Perry:

Hermanos y hermanas en Cristo,

Leemos sobre una otra tormenta en Guatemala anoche. Fue mas viento y mas lluvia?

Entendemos de Pastor Gerardo por telefono el Sabado que unas iglesias en el presbiterio han pastores nuevos. Pastor Pablo or Pastor Roberto iba de la iglesia en La Union a la iglesia en Boqueron ? Pastor Fidel iba de la iglesia en Boqueron a la iglesia en La Guitarra acerca de Livingston. Pastor Abelino ahora no es un pastor en el prebiterio. Es la verdad?


From Luis Botzoc:

Hermanos en Cristo ciudad de los Estados Unidos: Presente la Iglesia Arca de Noe cabo de resibir otro Iglesia congregacion en el Lugar Bario el Esfuezos de El Estor, Izabal. Esta Iglesia es campo del consistorio del Arca de Noe. Esperamos sus oraciones por esta nuevo congregacion presbiteriana el Esfuerzos.

ATTE: Luis Botzoc, miembro del Arca de Noe

From Rene:

Asi es hermano Pedro. El hermano pastor Abelino se a otra iglesia por su propia voluntad.

October 7 Guatemala-bound e-mail

Recibmios su carta. No hay un edificio para la iglesia en El Chupon, y no hay suficiente dinero para haciendo los edificios de otras iglesias meiores y – para muchos hermanos y hermanas y sus familias – no hay suficiente dinero para semillas o sus campos no estan buenos para plantando. No hay suficiente comida, en general, tambien?

Estamos preocupacos por Ustedes y oramos con y para Ustedes y hablamos sobre algunas otras respuestas. Estan cosas mas o menos lo mismo esta semana?