Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday gathering

Crescent Hill church folks interested in giving thanks and reflecting about the three Guatemalans' recent Kentuckiana visit, as well pondering the Guatemalans' requests and thinking about the future, will gather at 6:00 p.m. Monday (Decmeber 12) at the Fireside Room. Everyone is welcome.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December prayers

This month Crescent Hill church will pray with and for our Guatemalan partners:

-On Sunday, December 4, and during the week thereafter: Estoreño Presbytery youth and young adult organization, President Roderico Sacul Tiul, and other officers.

-On Sunday, December 11, and during the week thereafter: Estoreño Presbytery as a whole.

-On Sunday, December 18, and during the week thereafter: Peniel church in Boqueron, Pastor Pablo Sacul, and members, deacons, and elders.

-On Sunday, December 25, and during the week thereafter: Familia de Noe church in El Estor’s Sinai neighborhood, Pastor Benjamin Sacul and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, January 1, and the week thereafter: Lirio de los Valles church in El Estor’s San Jorge neighborhood, Pastor Mario Xo Ical and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Visit schedule

Hi everyone, it's only about six hours until our Guatemalan partners are here in Lousiville!

Below is the closest we have on the schedule for their visit and folks who we know have committed to being involved. You will notice that most things listed are ALL WELCOME. We are serious about this. This is truly the time for "all the merrier." Things not marked for all are usually some small group or one on one times. If one of those really interests you the most, let us know and we're sure something can be worked out. If you did agree to do something and don't see yourself listed, just let us know. A lot of information is flowing and we probably just goofed. But please know we really do want everyone in the congregation to have the opportunity to be in the presence of these wonderful friends. Please take a look and find something you'd enjoy doing. There are many diverse opportunities. If you have any questions, contact Perry Chang at home, 384-4439 evenings, or Soni Castleberry 417-6481 anytime.

Tuesday, November 29

10:00 a.m. (CST) Arrive at the Guatemala City airport
12:30 p.m. (CST) Depart Guatemala City by air
4:30 p.m. (CST) Late lunch at the Houston airport
8:41 p.m. (EST) Arrive in Louisville – Flight 4481 ContinentalExpress (Express Jet Airlines) from Houston. Greetings/introductions, prayer for safe arrival and all head home! (ALL WELCOME!)

Wednesday, November 30

7:00 a.m. Breakfast with host families
9:30 a.m. Participate in Stephanie Gregory’s English as a Second Language class
at Fairmont Elementary School in New Albany IN
11:30 a.m. Lunch at La Rosita, 336 Pearl St., downtown New Albany IN and discussion of CHPC proposed schedule for the visit (ALL WELCOME!)
1:00 p.m. Visit the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, IN (ALL WELCOME!)
3:30 p.m. Survival English class after-school at Fairmount Elementary School
5:00 p.m. Guatemalans debrief and relax on their own at Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church (CHPC) Fireside Room/Education Building
6:30 p.m. Guatemalans have deacon-prepared dinner with church staff, Outreach Council
participants, session elders, deacons, and Guatemalan Partnership Task Force
7:00 p.m. Discussion about how our churches do outreach/mission/evangelism (ALL WELCOME!) Followed by Marc Daniels (aka Marcus Perry) juggling

Thursday, December 1

7:00 a.m. Breakfast with host families
8:30 a.m. Guatemalans debrief and relax on their own-CHPC Fireside Rm./Education Bldg. and then Pastor Jane gives tour of church buildings
11:00 a.m. Driving tour of Preston Highway area and discussion with Pastor Elmer Zavala (meet at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 5708 Preston Highway)
11:45 a.m. Lunch discussion with Mid-Kentucky Presbytery Ecclesia new ministries group at Kynn’s Paradise Café, 984 Barret Ave. (ALL WELCOM!)
2:00 p.m. Discussion with Carla McMillin and tour of United Crescent Hill Ministries,
150 State Street (off Frankfort Ave.) (ALL WELCOME!)
3:30 p.m. Discussion with Irene Spicer and tour Presbyterian Community Center (PCC)
731 S. Hancock St.(ALL WELCOME!
5:00 p.m. Guatemalans debrief and relax on their own-CHPC Fireside Rm./Education Bldg.
6:00 p.m. Potluck supper and Spanish-language conversation with Spanish class

Friday, December 2

7:00 a.m. Breakfast with host families
8:30 a.m. Leave CHPC to tour Edge Outreach, 414 Baxter Ave., at 9 a.m. (ALL WELCOME!)
10:30 a.m. Tour (in Spanish) of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (LPTS) with Carlos Lara (Meet at Winn Center)(ALL WELCOME!)
11:30 a.m. Mid-day worship at the LPTS chapel with one Guatemalan participating (ALL WELCOME!)
12:30 p.m. Lunch discussion with LPTS faculty, staff and students at LPTS dining hall in the Winn Center (ALL WELCOME!)
2:00 p.m. Coffee with Professor Carvalhaes at Heine Brothers (location TBA)
3:30 p.m. Guatemalans debrief and relax on their own-CHPC Fireside Rm./Education Bldg.
4:00 p.m. Convervation in CHPC's Fireside Room with Jennifer Thalman Kepler and other members of the Looking for Lilith theatre company regarding their work in Guatemala
5:15 p.m. Partnership discussion (CHPC Fireside Room) (ALL WELCOME!)
7:00 p.m. Guatemalan Mission Team members are dinner guests of the Lara family

Saturday, December 3

8:30 a.m. Register for the Santa Sprint and Stroll at Barrett Traditional Middle School, 2561 Grinstead Drive (back entrance). Cost is a $25 donation to support United Crescent Hill Ministries.
9:00 a.m. Walk the Santa Sprint and Stroll (ALL WELCOME!)
10:45 a.m. Discussion at CHPC Fireside Room about Advent and Christmas practices
at Crescent Hill church and Estoreño Presbytery congregations and among Crescent Hill and Estoreño families (ALL WELCOME!)
12 noon Lunch in the CHPC Fellowship Hall (ALL WELCOME!) (We would still welcome volunteers to make soup, bring bread or dessert or help set up or clean up.)
1:00 p.m. Partnership discussion – CHPC Fireside Room (ALL WELCOME!) (Translator still needed.)
3:00 p.m. Depart Louisville for 4:00 p.m. reception with the Elizabethtown (KY) First
Presbyterian Church’s Guatemala mission tssk force at the Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum, 1100 Dixie Ave., in Elizabethtown (ALL WELCOME!)
6:45 p.m. Guatemalan Mission Team members are dinner guests of Andrea Trautwein

Sunday, December 4

8:00 a.m. Breakfast with host families
9:45 a.m. Spanish-language/bilingual Sunday school class, Fellowship Hall’s Upper Room (ALL WELCOME!)
11:00 a.m. English-language worship service (with Guatemalans sharing testimonies)
12:15 p.m. Potluck lunch (with Guatemalans speaking about what our partnership has meant to them) (ALL WELCOME!)
2:00 p.m. Parallel activities: French-language worship service and shopping with CHPC youth for United Crescent Hill Ministries-sponsored family
3:00 p.m. Guatemalans debrief and relax on their own-CHPC Fireside Rm./Education Bldg.
4:00 p.m. Presbyterian Women event at CHPC – Translator still needed (ALL WELCOME!))
5:40 p.m. Potluck supper at Highland Presbyterian Church’s “Christmas Around the World” with dialogue with their Nicaragua Mission Task Force.
Church location: 1011 Cherokee Road (ALL WELCOME!)

Monday, December 5

7:00 a.m. Breakfast with host families
8:00 a.m. Visit Churchill Downs backside
10:00 a.m. Visit Kentucky Derby Museum
(ALL WELCOME: Known to date: Perry Chang (D) and Soni Castleberry (D), and Jennifer Thalman Kepler(T) and hopefully Will Farrell (T)
12 noon Lunch at Subway at Science Center, 727 W. Main St. (ALL WELCOME!)
1:30 p.m. Any two museums – TBA- Science Center for the Lewis and Clark IMAX movie,
Slugger Factory, Frazier International History Museum, Ali Center or Kentucky Arts and Crafts (ALL WELCOME!) (Translator still needed)
4:30 p.m. Guatemalans debrief and relax on their own-CHPC Fireside Rm./Education Bldg.
6:30 p.m. Guatemala mission team members are dinner guests of Paula Tibbs and
Lengulula Kashama (still to be confirmed)

Tuesday, December 6

7:30 a.m. Breakfast with host families
8:45 a.m. Meet with Betty Meadows and Tony Aja at the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery office
at Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral, 421 S. Second St.
10:45 a.m. Meet with Hunter Farrell at Presbyterian Center
12 noon Lunch discussion with Presbyterian Center staff and downtown lunch group at Mayan Café, 813 E. Market St. (ALL WELCOME!)
1:15 p.m. Meet with Maria Arroyo @ Presbyterian Center
2:30 p.m. Tour proposed Portland Presbyterian Church campus, Portland Avenue at 32nd Street. (Meet at construction trailer with “Do Not Be Afraid” banner) (ALL WELCOME!)
4:30 p.m. Guatemalans debrief and relax on their own-CHPC Fireside Rm./Education Bldg.
5:30 p.m. Partnership discussion in CHPC’s Fireside Room (ALL WELCOME!)
7:00 p.m. Dinner at El Tarasco, Fairfax Avenue, off Shelbyville Road, across from Trinity High School (we have the back room reserved)(ALL WELCOME – fiesta time!)

Wednesday, December 7

4:45 a.m. EST Send off our partners with hugs and prayers at Louisville International Airport (ALL WELCOME!)
6:00 a.m. EST Depart Louisville by air
10:30 a.m. CST Brunch at the Houston airport
12 noon CST Arrive in Guatemala City
2:00 p.m. CST Depart Guatemala City by bus

Thursday, December 8

6:00 a.m. CST Arrive in El Estor

Host families: Soni and Brad Castleberry for Macaria Caal Maquin
Perry Chang, Stephanie Gregory and Vince Mathews for Pastor Ramiro Quib Caal
Jane Larsen-Wigger and Brad Wigger for Pastor Gerardo Ich Pop

- Soni

Friday, November 25, 2011


You may have heard the news that three of the five representatives of Crescent Hill’s partner presbytery in Guatemala have obtained visas to visit Kentuckiana – NEXT WEEK! We thank God this week for the opportunity for Guatemalan and Crescent Hill Presbyterians to share with each other and learn from each other starting later this month. Prayerfully consider how you might offer our visitors a dose of Crescent Hill hospitality and how you might share with them and learn from their visit.

Slated to be here are:
- Gerardo Pop, the 65-year-old moderator of the presbytery and pastor of the largest church
- Ramiro Quib Caal, a 38-year-old elder and longtime presbytery officer
- Macaria Caal Maquin, a 50-year-old leader in the presbytery’s Presbyterian Women organization

Among the all-church opportunities to interaction will be:
- Welcome the Guatemalan mission team at 8:45 p.m. next Tuesday, November 29, at the Louisville airport
- A Saturday AM, December 3 all-church outing to Mammoth Caves
- Sunday, December 4, worship, during which a couple of the Guatemalans will speak
- Sunday, December 4 all-church potluck lunch, during which a couple of the Guatemalans will speak

The Guatemalans will also be connecting with some smaller groups, some of which you may be part of:
- Deacons, church staff, and Outreach Council participants at a 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 30 supper and discussion
- Spanish class participants at a 6:00 p.m. Thursday, December 1 potluck supper and class
- Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary faculty, staff, and students at midday worship and then at lunch in the Winn Center dining room on Friday, December 2
- Youth group at the United Crescent Hill Ministries/Target shopping trip after lunch Sunday, December 4
- Crescent Hill Presbyterian Women and other PW folks at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 4
- Presbyterian Center staff and Crescent Hill downtown lunch group for lunch downtown after Presbyterian Center mid-day prayer service at 12 noon, Tuesday, December 6

Crescent Hill folks may also hang out with our visitors during other activities or help drive or even translate between Spanish and English (if you’re able to). Let us know when you might be available and what for.

They're coming!

Saturday gathering

Crescent Hill folks interested in finalizing plans for the Kentuckiana visit by Estoreño Presbytery representatives will gather at Stephanie, Perry, and Vincent’s home at 3928 Kennison Avenue, sort of behind Trinity High School (campus pictured above) and Heine Brothers on Chenoweth Lane, at 9:45 a.m. Saturday. Everyone is welcome.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Prayers for our five friends hoping to obtain visas to visit the United States, leaving El Estor at 1:00 a.m. tonight by car and traveling all night through Rio Dulce (pictured above). We should know Monday night whether they will be coming to visit Kentuckiana as planned (Tuesday PM, November 29, through Wednesday AM, December 7). A 6:00 p.m. Monday, November 28 meeting may be in order in advance of the visit.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Election results

Otto Perez Molina, the former general and intelligence chief, won the Guatemala's president election this past Sunday, with 54 percent of the vote, against a populist candidate who emerged later during the election. Molina's Patriotic Party own a plurality in parliament, with more deputies than a short-lived coalition that included the outgoing center-left president's party, which endorsed Molina's opponent. Molina, like each man Guatemala has elected as president since the Peace Accords, ran second in the previous election

- Perry

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Early November gathering

Help plan the possible Kentuckiana visit by Crescent Hill’s Guatemala partners by participating in a gathering at 1:00 p.m. this Saturday, November 5, at Brad and Soni Castleberry’s at 209 Fairfax Avenue, Unit 1, kitty corner from the St. Matthews library and down the street from El Tarasco restaurant. Contact Soni at 896-8561 or Andrea at 895-1102 for more information. Everyone is welcome

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sunday's vote

In the face of a fall of torrential rains, Guatemalans go to the polls this Sunday, November 4, for a presidential election runoff. The election pits retired Army General Otto Perez Molina (of the right-wing Patriot Party), who garnered some one-third of the vote in the September 11 first-round election), against populist millionaire businessman Manuel Baldizon (of the centrist Renewed Democratic Liberty Party), who garnered some one-quarter of the vote. There was no presidential candidate from the party of outgoing President Colom in the election. Opined PC(USA) mission co-worker Karla Koll about the two candidates: "Both are making lots of promises that can’t be fulfilled. Both are reported to have tied to drug cartels. The lack of political alternatives at the national level is a good reminder that change here will not come through the formal political process, but through people organizing at the community level to hold their leaders accountable. Please pray that the elections will take place without violence and intimidation."

- Perry

November prayers

This month Crescent Hill church will pray with and for our Guatemalan partners:

-On Sunday, November 6, and the week thereafter: Hijo del Dios Viviente church in the village of La Guitarra outside of Livingston, Pastor Fidel Juc and family, and members, deacons, and elders

-On Sunday, November 13, and during the week thereafter: El Buen Samaritano church in El Estor’s Nuevo Amanacer neighborhood, and members, deacons, and elders.

-On Sunday, November 20, and during the week thereafter: Q’eqchi’ Estoreño, Izabal Presbytery Executive Committee, President Pablo Sacul, and other officers.

-On Sunday, November 27, and during the week thereafter: Estoreño Presbytery Presbyterian Women organization, President Maria Coc Tial, and other officers.

-On Sunday, December 4, and during the week thereafter: Estoreño Presbytery youth and young adult organization, President Roderico Sacul Tiul, and other officers.

EFL publicity

A dozen Crescent Hill, James Lees, and CCC folks gathered this past Wednesday to brainstorm about publicity for the joint English as a foreign language education ministry and, in the end, to plan its future. The group decided that the fall term would end as plan, on the Monday before Thanksgiving (November 21), but Monday would be a party, with no classes. The group decided on the Monday after the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday holiday (Monday, January 23) through Wednesday, March 14 as the dates for the winter term, and possibly Monday, April 9 (Easter Monday) through Wednesday, May 23 as the spring term. There was a wide discussion about publicity possibilities and a discussion of the need to remake the current flyer in a software that all could use (Phil volunteered to re-do it in Word) and possibly to include that students could start in the middle of the term and that the classes were not religious classes (for potentially leery non-Protestants). The group divvied up a range of different publicity responsibilities.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mid-October gathering

Half a dozen Crescent Hill folks interested in Guatemala mission gathered at the Chenoweth Lane Heine Brothers Saturday morning. The group was updated on the flooding in Guatemala and on efforts to transmit invitation/endorsement letters to the Guatemalan group and to secure the group visa application appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City.

The group discussed a possible schedule for the visit (see “Possible schedule” post), slated for Tuesday, November 29, through Wednesday, December 7. The group also talked about possible host households who would have enough room, be somewhat close to church, and/or include a Spanish speaker (including the Yeager family, Langley family, Bartlett/Asenjo family, Stimson/Van Marter family, Duverge family, Kepler family, and Rich/Foulkes family). Jane suggested the two women be housed together, which would leave only three other hosts. The group also talked about trying to host Ellen Dozier during the week that the Guatemalans are to be in Kentuckiana (it turns out Ellen will be in Guatemala during this time).

Claudia and Lowell volunteered to join Soni in educating Crescent Hill folks about opportunities to be involved in the partnership and to help out with the visit at the Mission Opportunity Fair

Left not addressed by the group about the visit: possible debriefing time for the Estoreño mission team, possible partnership discussion time, time for the mission team to communicate how the presbytery had spent the $400 Crescent Hill sent last fall, and possible connections with other local churches.

Carlos reached Pastor Gerardo by phone and he said the group had e-mailed asking for more info about the visit. They had also put together a $2,000 Christian education training proposal. The rain has not been bad in Izabal, but it has been very bad in adjoining areas (including Polocic Valley).

The group briefly talked about the joint English as a foreign language ministry (and the need to recruit more students for it) and the Spanish class. After the gathering some there urged the group to continue mixing up gathering spots among church, people’s homes, and establishments such as Heine Brothers because it can be hard to hear in Heine Brothers.


Spanish class drama

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hurricane Jova

Hurricane Jova, which hit Mexico and Central America late last week, has brought landslides and killed some 60 people in Guatemala, according to PC(USA) mission co-worker Amanda Craft, who lives on the western side of the country, where the storm was worst. Amanda said she talked with Gerardo last week and folks in Izabal were doing OK. She also said the Guatemalan presidential runoff remains slated for Sunday, November 6, two days before Election Day in the United States.

-- Perry

Monday, October 10, 2011

Saturday, October 22 gathering

Crescent Hills folks interested in helping plan Guatemalan partners' Kentuckiana visit, scheduled for later this year, in addition to discussing a few other issues, will gather at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, October 22, at the Heine Brothers on Chenoweth Lane in St. Matthews. Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

October prayers

This month Crescent Hill church will pray with and for our Guatemalan partners:

- On Sunday, October 2, and the week thereafter: Jesus Es la Puerta church in the El Estor suburb of El Chupon. and worshipers.

- On Sunday, October 9, and during the week thereafter: Arca de Noe church in El Estor, Pastor Gerardo Ich Pop and family, and members, deacons, and elders

- On Sunday, October 16, and the week thereafter: Altar de Noe church in El Estor’s Los Cerritos neighborhood, Pastor Raul Contreras Tut and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, October 23, and the week thereafter: Espiritu Santo church in El Estor’s San Marcos neighborhood, Pastor José Domingo Xo Ical and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, October 30, and the week thereafter: Monte Sinai church in the village of San Carlos El Pouvenir outside of Puerto Barrios, Pastor José Sub and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

Trip progress

Amanda Craft (pictured above with her son), with whom Crescent Hill has been working on the possible visit by Estoreño Presbytery reps to Kentuckiana this fall, approved the new dates (Tuesday, November29-Wednesday, December 7 – in two months) and said Crescent Hill ought to be able to get new letters to her via colleague Karla Koll, who will stop back at the Presbyterian Center as she wraps up accompanying PC(USA) International Peacemaker Juana Herlinda in mid-October. In the mean time, Amanda said she would go ahead and set up the visa application appointments for the five reps. About the dates that have now been firmed up somewhat, commented Amanda: “PS - Wouldn't it be crazy if they actually got to see snow?!?”

-- Perry

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall is here!

New English as a foreign language teaching ministry coordinator Sky Ott reminded folks Sunday that the first day of classes for the spring term is one week from Monday, on October 2. Some publicity has gone up and teachers have been calling their students. Crescent Hill folks will prepare food, set up, and clean up the meal in two weeks, during the second week of class.

Crescent Hill Spanish teacher Ada Asenjo also announced via e-mail this weekend that the fifth term of the Spanish class will begin the same week as EFL, on Thursday, October 5. It will again run between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, before choir practice, in the Fireside Room. Cost will be $70, for a seven-week session that will end the Thursday before Thanksgiving (November 17).

-- Perry

Food for Thought photographs

Faith Stories project

With her family looking on, Crescent Hill’s Jennifer Thalman Kepler explained the genesis and possible future of the Faith Stories project of her theater company, Looking for Lilith, at a Food for Thought lunch after worship Sunday. The project goes back to Jennifer’s year as a Presbyterian young adult volunteer in Guatemala, when women in Guatemalan asked what she did back in the United States and she explained she had been active in theater. Eventually, Looking for Lilith led workshops in which she helped women tell their stories and then develop them into a play, which they eventually performed for others. A key part of this process was encouraging and enabling women to reflect on their lives and their faith, including on challenges they faced and how they did and could overcome those challenges. Eventually women they worked with (including one from Izabal) began to want lead workshop themselves, helping Guatemalan reflect on their experiences with the health care sector, with poverty and hunger, and with domestic violence, and how they might confront those challenges. A touring play, in Spanish and English, reflecting on the lives and faith of women in both Guatemala and the United States, is also envisioned. During the recession, Jennifer conceded, funding for projects like this has been more difficult to assemble.

Looking for Lilith led a theater workshop for young people this summer at Crescent Hill, and they have been involved in the transformation of the old James Lees Memorial Presbyterian Church into a new 1741 Frankfort Avenue space. Crescent Hill and Looking for Lilith folks have talked about combining forces for a Faith Stories-like project in Estoreño Presbytery, and Lowell and Jennifer talked Sunday about Jennifer showing a longer video (longer than the one she showed Sunday) about the project at an upcoming Crescent Hill Guatemala partnership gathering.

-- Perry

Tentative new plans

At the start of the Spanish-language/bilingual Sunday school class Sunday, Carlos (pictured above) reported to the other folks there (pictured below) that he had talked with Gerardo and that Gerardo explained that he and the four other travelers preferred to visit the week plus after Thanksgiving, from Tuesday, November 29, probably through Wednesday, December 7.

Carlos called back after worship Sunday to confirm: the Guatemalans would actually leave El Estor on Monday, November 28, and so would be ready to leave the Guatemala City (?) airport on Tuesday morning. It sounded like they were flexible enough to stay in Kentuckiana for a whole week and a night and therefore wouldn’t get back to El Estor until Thursday, December 8.

Gerardo had previously wondered about both the cost of the trip and the cold weather. But he said this weekend that there were some things they needed to care of at church the week Crescent Hill had suggested (the week before Thanksgiving), and this day-by-day schedule insured they only missed one weekend of worship services.

According to the schedule they suggested, they would be in Kentuckiana for most of the week and then here for the second Sunday of Advent and into the next week. They would not be here for a presbytery meeting or for the EFL ministry or Spanish class fall terms.

Carlos reported that Pastor Jane was OK with the schedule. The schedule may go to Amanda later this week unless other Crescent Hill folks articulately and assertively push alternatives.

Gerardo also laid out who the new members of the Estoreño Presbytery executive committee are: Gerardo himself, president; Benjamin Sacul, vice president; clerk, Raul Contreras (also slated to be on the team visiting Kentuckiana); Roberto Caal, treasurer; and Antonio Cubal, corresponding secretary, along with Mario Ich, Angel Sacul, and Noe Puv.

- Perry

Guatemalan film

Crescent Hill’s Carlos and Hilda have been frequenting U of L’s Latin American Film Festival which this month has been focusing on films from Guatemala. At the Spanish-language/bilingual Sunday-school class, Carlos touted “The Return of Lencho,” a film shown this past Friday that illustrated the situation for creative Guatemalan young people. He also promoted the film to be shown this coming Thursday, at 7:00 p.m. in the new auditorium at U of L’s main Ekstrom Library, “Puro Mula” or “Slacker” (logo pictured above). A reception with the filmmaker, at 6:00 p.m., will precede the showing of the film, which will also be shown at 12 noon Friday at the same location.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sunday lunch

Sunday after worship and a bread and soup lunch, Crescent Hill’s Jennifer Thalman Kepler (pictured above left with baby Carolina) will speak – as part of the “Food for Thought” series – about the Faith Stories Project, which has taken place primarily in Guatemala. Coming out of her work as a PC(USA) young adult volunteer in Guatemala, the project has involved women telling faith formation stories and weaving them into theatrical performances. Fresh off hosting an indigenous Guatemalan woman who is involved in the project, Jennifer will tell us what might be next for the project, including possibly involvement with Crescent Hill’s Estoreño partners.

-- Perry

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gathering graphics

Last day of summer gathering

In between quiche and birthday cake, half a dozen Crescent Hill folks interested in the Crescent Hill’s Guatemala mission partnership gathered at the Fireside Room and talked among each other – and then with Pastor Gerardo, who it turns out was in the midst of the annual Estoreño Presbytery assembly – about when the Kentuckiana visit by presbytery representatives might be. The Crescent Hill group proposed Friday, November 10-Saturday, November 18, after the elections in Guatemala and the United States, but before Thanksgiving vacation (and even colder weather). Gerardo said he’d have to check in with the other four presbytery reps slated to go on the trip, only some of whom were at the meeting. He also hinted that they'd rather avoid arctic weather and said some folks wondered whether all the money spent on the visit would be better spent on projects in the presbytery. Gerardo said there was some violence associated with the election, but things have calmed down now. No effects of the earthquakes elsewhere in Guatemala. Carlos and Gerardo agreed to talk again on Saturday. No date was set for the next meeting, although Thursday, October 6 is a possibility and the need to talk more about both housing and a schedule for the visit presents itself.

- Perry

Start of new school year

Fall got started with the first Spanish-language bilingual Sunday school of the year meeting at 9:45 a.m. Sunday in the Education Building Upper Room. Carlos introduced a Presbyterian Women “Horizons” Spanish-language Bible study on the Book of Revelation. Right off students noticed that the final book of the New Testament is called Apocalipsis in Spanish. But it turns in Greek apocalypse refers to that which is revealed. Discovers will continue this coming Sunday.

Then Wednesday folks from the three Presbyterian congregations continued to plan for the fall English as a foreign language term, which will begin Monday, October 2, with a discussion about teaching materials among half a dozen EFL teachers (pictured above).

- Perry

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thoughts and information

Amanda, Rene, Gerardo, and Ellen Dozier (pictured above) all shared thoughts and information this week. Amanda messaged that, as far as she knows, the U.S. consulate is going to want to know exact dates, and Crescent Hill’s partners are going to receive visas for exact dates, rather than open-ended three-month visas whose clock starts whenever the partners arrive.

Rene – and, through Rene, Gerardo – e-mailed to say that they had gotten the e-mail about the possible delay with the trip and they were going to be meeting (apparently about the scheduling issues). They said they’d e-mail their recommendation.

Rene said there is a dispute about the local election in El Estor, pitting the mayor who was reelected against some others. Rene also said it has been raining some there, and Ellen said the part of the country that Izabal is in has gotten the worst rains lately, but no mass landslides.

Ellen reminded us that Karla Koll and Juana Herlinda, the PC(USA) international peacemaker whom Karla is accompanying, are currently here in Louisville (Karla, for the second time this summer/fall; Juana, with Crescent Hill’s own Paul, Jennifer, and Carolina). Ellen also said the high price of commodities such as corn, and the continuing Great Recession, are affecting ordinary Guatemalans like other people around the world.

Ellen recommended Crescent Hill folks check before the Thursday gathering to find out whether the Guatemalans have e-mailed, but call them Thursday either way (all the more so because Crescent Hill’s e-mail indicated there might be a phone call this week). Ellen stayed more or less agnostic on the how soon should the rescheduled visit be issue.

She said she had dinner with Carlos and Ana, who live about an hour from her, two weeks ago, and she remains open to trying to visit Kentuckiana during the visit by CHPC’s Guatemalan partners – but not if it’s during the second half of November and early part of December, when she’ll be in Guatemala partly as part of a Western North Carolina Presbytery trip to Guatemala.

-- Perry

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thursday gathering

Crescent Hill folks interested in the Guatemala partnership wlil gather at 6:00 p.m. this Thursday, September 22, in the Fireside Room, largely to plan for the Guatemalan representatives' possible Kentuckiana visit. The gathering will end before choir practice at 7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome.


A series of eathquakes hit Guatemala, blocking roads and killing at least one person, apparently in south central Guatemala.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Amanda Craft and I have been in touch a couple of times this month. Earlier this month Amanda (pictured above with her son) let us know that she had received photos that would work for U.S. visas and she was prepared to make the Guatemalans appointments at the U.S. consulate. But Amanda also shared that she had changed her mind – she no longer thought it was realistic that the Guatemalans could get appointments and visas with enough time for us to buy airline tickets, before the first week of October (when we had planned the visit).

So I asked Amanda to hold off and let Crescent Hill folks consult with each other and – likely – with our Guatemalan partners. During that time I hoped we would decide about what to do. Especially as we’ve waited, the first week of October I suspect is out of the question. Amanda has said she thinks the Guatemalans should be there for the runoff election. She and I talked about waiting until after the elections in Guatemala and the United States. Jane won’t be here Thanksgiving week. That leaves us with the middle week of November.

Jane also raised the possibility of waiting and asking the Guatemalans to come in the spring, when the weather is better and when we may less busy than in mid-November. Amanda said either could work but she wondered with me about loss of momentum. She also raised a second concern: She is not 100% certain she is going to return to Guatemala after leaving at the end of the year, and so, if we wanted the Guatemalans to visit around Derby Week, for example, we’d have to shift to working with someone else (since Amanda will definitely be in the United States in mid-winter and might might not be returning at all). (That’d probably be Philip Beisswinger, Amanda said.)

But Amanda did say she thought she could help get visas in December for the Guatemalans for an early spring visit (like March).

So, if we want to stick with Amanda, we probably have a choice between something like the week before the week of Thanksgiving 2011 (for example, Friday, November 11, through Saturday, November 18) or the week before St. Patrick’s Day 2012 (Friday, March 9, though Saturday, March 17).

I have e-mailed the Guatemalans asking them for their preferences, but I suspect we’ll want to call them not later than our next gathering, at 6:00 p.m. next Thursday, September 22.

-- Perry

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Election surprise

Guatemala’s election Sunday produced somewhat of a surprise. No candidate – including the front-running right-wing presidential candidate Otto Perez Molina (pictured)– received the required 50 percent plus one simple majority. In a November runoff against Molina is a wealthy businessman turned populist who campaigned for aid for the poor and for the death penalty. Recall that the governing center-left government ended up running no presidential candidate, and public concern about violence translated into a election campaign focused on security issues.

-- Perry

Early September gathering

Half a dozen plus Crescent Hill folks interested in Guatemala mission met Wednesday evening at Heine Brothers. Soni reported that the August yard sale made approximately $3,000 for Guatemala mission. People praised the organization of the event. Perry reported that Amanda Craft has finalized the Estoreño Presbytery representatives’ visa applications, is trying to set up their appointments at the U.S. Consulate in Guatemala, and has suggested Crescent Hill sit tight, rather than going ahead and buying airline tickets for October 7-15, or going ahead and moving the trip to a later date (like in November). The group agreed with that. Apparently if the five reps receive visas they will be for three months. The group agreed to go ahead and plan for a week-plus schedule for the visit, for October 7-15, knowing that it is possible the actual week/dates will need to be shifted. There was some discussion about the wisdom of the Huber Farm visit as the big non-Sunday activity for the Guatemalans to meet lots of Crescent Hill folks. The group worked on a tentative schedule, but agreed to meet at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, at the Fireside Room, to continue planning. Carlos talked about the presidential election this Sunday, September 11, in which the victor in the presidential race seems clear, and Perry mentioned a follow-up visit to the Boone County (KY) Jail immigrant detention center coming up later this month.

-- Perry

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Land rights

A Guatemala Mission Network notice alerted network participants to an underlying trend in Guatemala: a systematic effort by the Guatemalan military and police and private security guards to aid Guatemalan business interests and try to satiate their need for additional land by evicting indigenous families off their land. Indigenous families often lacked secure deeds, even though the peace treaty that the government and rebels negotiated in the early 1990s ostensibly guaranteed them land rights anyway. With mining, timber, and agricultural interests in search of more land, the weak government – even an ostensibly center-left government – is apparently only too willing to cooperate in transferring land to these interests, or unable to stop it. Apparently the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has taken in interest in this process – perhaps all the more so because the alliance of security forces have greeted organized efforts to the land confiscation with violence, including apparent assassinations in eastern Guatemala (including the woman pictured speaking above on a boat trip across Lake Izabal). It remains to be seen what the election of a new government – probably a right-wing government with links with Guatemala’s right-wing death-squad past and a vow to restore law and order. As far as the drug cartels and gangs, they were rumored to have connections with the center-left government, but they may be endemic enough to make their way – or be in charge – whoever is in power.

-- Perry

Friday, September 2, 2011


Crescent Hill’s Hunter Farrell and Maria Arroyo joined several other PC(USA) World Mission personnel and several hundred listeners and questioners Thursday to dialogue about how the PC(USA) and the Presbyterian Church in Mexico came to be separated and what might come next, including for the many PC(USA) and Mexican congregations in partnerships and with trip plans, some as soon as next week. Mexican church leaders – who had taken a break from their partnership with the PC(USA) once before – had been following the vote on Amendment 10-A, which opened the door to possible ordination of gays and lesbians as deacons, (ruling) elders, and ministers (teaching elders). After the amendment passed both the PC(USA) General Assembly and enough presbyteries, this summer – Hunter, Maria, PC(USA) Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons, and others met with Mexican church officials to try to talk them out of breaking with the PC(USA). They asked tough questions, and the next day the all-adult male delegates to the Mexican General Assembly voted something like 110-30 in favor of severing the relationship, immediately after rejecting ordination of women again. Subsequently, Mexican church leaders have instructed Mexican presbyteries and congregations to maintain relationships only with PC(USA) presbyteries and congregations that voted against 10-A and are willing to sign a statement repudiating the adoption of the amendment. (The Mexicans have already asked Living Waters for the World to do this.) The church has said it will welcome back the PC(USA) into partnership if the PC(USA) reverses its stand.

Hunter, Maria, and others didn’t really have responses for all of the tough questions participants swamped them with via webinar. In particular, it wasn’t clear exactly what congregations and presbyteries with payments or visits planned for the next few weeks should do. PC(USA) leaders hedged on the exact meaning of the vote. On the one hand, to honor the decision, maybe we should not work in Mexico. On the other hand, very important ministries are going on in Mexico, on the U.S.-Mexico border, and in the United States with Mexican Americans others, and perhaps we can found other church, parachurch ministries, and even secular groups to partner with to carry out these existing ministries or start new ones (they hinted about Habitat for Humanity).

You might recall that the Guatemalan church – meeting back in May – shortly before the amendment passed the presbyteries – indicated they disagreed with the vote but would not break with the PC(USA)> Maria said no partner churches other than the Mexican church has broken with the PC(USA), but hinted that other churches – when their General Assemblies take place over the next year – may consider it. There’s no indication that the Guatemalan church will reconsider its position because of the stance of its northern neighbor church (in Mexico). However, questions may arise about it, and – should Crescent Hill folks own up to the fact that we initiated a version of the amendment in Mid-Kentucky Presbytery – something that Mexican church leaders, but perhaps not Guatemalan church leaders, may be aware of – interesting discussions may ensue.

PC(USA) leaders indicated that – historically – the Mexican church has been relatively conservative theologically, and note that on paper the Guatemalan church ordains women, while the Mexican church does not. Leaders also mentioned that – with 2 million members – the Mexican church is now almost as big as the PC(USA). They did not also mention that their country (Mexico) is slowly becoming a rising power in the world economy.

-- Perry

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall EFL planning

A dozen James Lees, Covenant Community, and Crescent Hill folks gathered Wednesday to plan the next term of English as a foreign language classes. The group agreed that the term should run from Monday, October 3, through Monday, November 21 (the Monday before Thanksgiving), accepted Sky (or Schuyler) Olt (Crescent Hill’s new seminary intern and an EFL old hand, pictured below) as a site coordinator, and agreed that we should ask Emiliano if he would serve as child care coordinator (with some compensation).

The lack of availability of a couple of teachers during September, plus the suggestion that terms not run too long, shifted the group towards the early October start date, even though this will mean Phil (pictured above), who facilitated the meeting, will need to tell some students involved in the Spanish-language ministry that September 12 will not be the start date. It’s possible that classes will not take place on Monday, October 31, which is Halloween. The group confirmed the 6:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. meal and 7-8 p.m. class schedule and the arrangement that class would only be canceled due to weather, etc. if JCPS classes were canceled.

Sky suggested that CHPC pitch in a Minute for Mission children’s activities leadership possibilities.

The three congregations involved split the meals along the following schedule: Week 1 (October 5-7): James Lees; Week 2 (October 10-12): CHPC; Week 3 (October 17-19): CCC; Week 4 (October 24-26): James Lees; Week 5 (October 31-November 2): CHPC; Week 6 (November 7-9): CCC; Week 7 (November 14-16): CHPC; Week 8 (November 21): James Lees (?). The congregations would be able to call on each other for help with meal preparation, set-up, and clean-up as needed.

Teaching assignments would stay more or less the same, which possibly a teacher or two recruited or brought back.

Prayers were requested for Rob Fohr, a fall/winter-term beginning class teacher who was hospitalized for several weeks, and also for Pastor Jane, who missed the gathering that she helped call to be at a family funeral out of state.

Phil also explained the transformation process at 1741 Frankfort Avenue, as it turns into a cooperative with a new name, new functions, a new look, perhaps new funds, and some new physical space (including possibly kitchen renovation). He said that EFL and Alcoholics Anonymous were deal breakers – in that he insisted those two programs get to maintain space. He said there might be opportunities for EFL teachers, students, et al. to be involved (physically or even financially) in some renovation/transformation, and invited folks to stop by during the next Fat Friday Trolley Hop event there, on Friday, September 30.

A group of teachers and teachers’ assistants agreed to meet at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, at Stephanie’s Fairmont Elementary School (at 1725 Abbie Dell Avenue) off of Charlestown Road in New Albany (IN) (over either the 2nd Street or Sherman Minton bridge) to share educational materials/curricula and ideas and take a peek at some of Stephanie’s EFL materials/equipment (including a smarr board – on the EFL wish list!). All are welcome, and detailed directions will follow.

-- Perry

September prayers

This month Crescent Hill church will pray with and for our Guatemalan partners:

- On Sunday, September 4, and during the week thereafter: Peniel church in Boqueron, Pastor Pablo Sacul, and members, deacons, and elders.

-On Sunday, September 11, and during the week thereafter: Familia de Noe church in El Estor’s Sinai neighborhood, Pastor Benjamin Sacul and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, September 18, and the week thereafter: Lirio de los Valles church in El Estor’s San Jorge neighborhood, Pastor Mario Xo Ical and family, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, October 25, and the week thereafter: Puerto del Cielo church in the El Estor suburb of La Union.

- On Sunday, October 1, and the week thereafter: Jesus Es la Puerta church in the El Estor suburb of El Chupon.

September gathering

Join us at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 7, at Heine Brothers on Chenoweth Lane, for an important discussion about Crescent Hill’s partnership with the Q’eqchi’ Estoreño Izabal Presbytery in Guatemala, including the possible Kentuckiana visit by Estoreño representatives later this fall. Contact Perry at 384-4339 for more information.

Possible visit news

Skype messages from Amanda Craft (pictured above with a Guatemalan associate) and a phone conversation between Carlos and Pastor Gerardo have confirmed that photographs fitting U.S. State Department visa specifications have been taken of the five Estoreño Presbytery representatives who hope to visit Kentuckiana, possibly this fall. Time is running short for the original October 7-15 visit we imagined. But Amanda has advised us to remain patient, not yet throwing in the towel on those dates but also not yet buying airline tickets for the five for those dates. She is working on setting up appointments up visa application appointments for the five. Pray for wisdom, energy, and patience for Amanda; for Gerardo, Macaria, Maria, Ramiro, and Raul; for U.S. officials; and for all of us as we continue this process.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guatemalan women

Women in eastern Guatemala face everyday fear and injustice that constitute forms of violence that are NOT directly related to the widespread political violence, drug trade and gang-related violence, and killing of women in Guatemala.

This was the argument of Arizona State University’s Cecilia Menjivar (pictured above), who made a presentation at this weekend’s American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Guatemalans generally accept these forms of violence – they are “normalized.”

Professor Menjivar gave three examples of these forms of violence:
-A women tried to give birth to her third child in secret, because she was afraid her alcoholic husband would leave her if she gave birth to a third girl. The woman was relieved when the baby turned out be a boy.
-A woman described it as “torture” when she had no beans to feed her children.
-Women with semi-professional jobs reported how their husbands – sometimes cooperating with other family members – sharply regulated their ability to go out – timing their trips between work and home and forbidding them from spending the night at their parents’ house – ostensibly to protect their wives’ – and their families’ – reputations. This points – at least potentially – to the power of gossip as a means of keeping an eye on women and restricting their movement.

Menjivar studied Ladina women in an eastern Guatemalan town she did not name for five years. The results were included in a book published this past spring: Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala (pictured below. More information is available at:

- Perry