Friday, February 18, 2011

Conversation with Maria

A small group of Crescent Hill folks gathered Tuesday for pizza and conversation with Maria about her participation in last week’s Guatemala Mission Network gathering and her conversations with Ramiro and Pastor Gerardo from the Estoreño Presbytery. Unbeknownst to us, the presbytery was sending two representatives to the gathering at the evangelical Presbyterian seminary in San Felipe, some 10 hours from El Estor. Unbeknownst to Estoreño folks, a person from Crescent Hill church, Maria, was going to be there because of her leadership position in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) World Mission.

Maria said that at the start of the gathering folks introduced themselves and referred to partners there, and Ramiro and Gerardo were able to mention their partnership with Crescent Hill and point out Maria, and she was able to do the same about the Crescent Hill-Estoreño partnership and point out them. Later on the three of them talked, and Gerardo wrote up an information sheet and proposal whose text is posted on the blog.

Maria said it was important that, as representatives of a far-away, relatively disadvantaged Q’eqchi’ presbytery, that the Estoreño folks have us as a partner and that she – also as a national PC(USA) leader – was there. She told Ramiro and Gerardo that one of the first things that folks coming into our sanctuary see is a bulletin board with pictures of Estoreño folks Crescent Hill are praying for that Sunday and that week, and that we pray for Estoreño folks by name each week in worship.

Maria said that there was lots of discussions about partnership during the meeting. About financial transfers Maria mentioned the possibility of sending donations through the PC(USA), which asks for 5 percent administrative fees, and through the national church in Guatemala (IENPG), which also asks for 5 percent administrative fee. Going through the PC(USA) can slow things down, as they wait to transfer money, since it is expensive. Going through the IENPG in Guatemala should not slow things down much. Another option is to send money directly, but also to send 5 percent of the money to the IENPG, as a way to acknowledge them and remind them about the partnership.

Maria said national church folks were surprised about the number of partnerships. There were more Guatemalans at the gathering than North Americans. Most North Americans there had partners, but there were Guatemalans in search of partners.

Maria discouraged Crescent Hill from sending money regularly to Estoreño Presbytery. Sending modest amounts in response to specific needs (such as the storm) seemed OK.

Maria and others there also discussed a possible Kentuckiana visit by Estoreño representatives and possible joint/shared/parallel Bible study. She reviewed how PC(USA) folks could help us effect the visit, and suggested, in general, a relatively short theological reflection passage that we could send them.

The group also talked about the Walton funds, the seminary, the proposed Q’eqchi’ language theological training program, the La Patria schools, and some of the history and dynamics of the Guatemalan church and the place of Estoreño Presbytery and Q’eqchi’ Presbyterians in the church, reiterating the role Crescent Hill folks could play as allies of the Estoreño folks, just as Estoreño folks offer Crescent Hill folks many things.

Maria agreed to stay in touch and continue to be in conversation with other Crescent Hill folks interested in the partnership as we continue to move forward.

-- Perry

Monday, February 14, 2011

Join us for lunch Tuesday!

A group of Crescent Hill folks will talk over lunch with Maria, who was in Guatemala last week for the Guatemala Mission Network gathering, at 12:30 p.m. next Tuesday, February 15 (the day after Valentine’s Day) at the new Impellizzeri's Pizza restaurant at 110 Main Street, between 1st and 2nd streets. Anyone who can get downtown for lunch Tuesday should join us to hear from Maria about the network gathering experience and her conversations with Ramiro and Pastor Gerardo.

Sunday news

Carlos and others in the Spanish-language Sunday school class spoke briefly with Pastor Gerardo during worship at the Arca de Noe church Sunday morning. Gerardo reported that folks at the Estoreño Presbytery executive committee meeting last Monday were excited about the possibility of some of them plus others from the presbytery visiting us in Kentuckiana later this year. But Gerardo also reported that the one among them with a passport (Ramiro), who has been to the United States with his spouse, had to travel Guatemala City several times just get that passport, let alone the visa (perhaps in part as a result of being an indigena). (They also said having a bank account, which only some of them have, might be essential for obtaining a visa.) There was some ambiguity about how much we were going to support would-be visitors in their efforts to obtain passports and visas (and now unfortunately ambiguity in how much that could cost). We’ll hope to talk about this at our Saturday, March 12 Guatemala gathering at Carlos, Nora, and Ana’s place, which will take place one week before the next Estoreño presbytery executive committee meeting.

-- Perry

First day

Ada's Spanish class got through a roaring first day of class, for the fourth term, Thursday, by ripping through all of the material covered in the previous three terms - in one hour! Go, Ada, go! Go, class, go!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Outreach Council blessing and feedback

Outreach Council Wednesday blessed the idea of a Kentuckiana visit by representatives of the Estoreño Presbytery and suggested to the session that they make the invitation. I explained that we have begun receiving sample invitation letters that are slightly different from what I wrote, and so I will adapt what I wrote as an information sheet for session, which will likely take this up later this month, along with adapting the sample letters. What Amanda initially called an invitation letter, it turns out, actually goes to the U.S. consulate in Guatemala City.

Outreach had several suggestions. First, they suggested we let session know about the cost implications, and be explicit about fund-raising objectives. I'm thinking the amounts we were talking about needing were without the additional $1,000 line item in the 2011 church budget. I'll check with Jack Leake, but, with that, we may have $4,500. Of course, we need not wipe out our entire account for the "reverse" mission trip. We need to give session an idea about how much money we are going to try to raise, especially since will come partly from the congregation.

Based on his experience, Bob Abrams was skeptical we could get everything set, including the visas, even by this fall. Especially in the current anti-immigration climate, others said. I said that Amanda was pretty optimistic about this, but he suggested it might take up to a year to get everything set. We'll have to keep this warning in mind.

Outreach folks were very excited about opportunities this visit would open up for broadening CHPC involvement in the partnership. They suggested that our Estoreño friends - perhaps sometimes as individuals - go out and have dinner with individual CHPC families - a different family every night? - and perhaps even stay with different families different nights. I have mixed feelings about this, taken to the extreme, but in general they presented this as a way to involve many more people in helping host the visitors. Certainly, asking different people - many more than those who have been involved in Guatemala trips/our gatherings - to take maybe just one day off of work during the week of the visit to accompany our visitors for a day - a possibility we discussed at our gathering earlier in the month also - seems like a good idea. Outreach folks also had some ideas of other places we could go, like the Kentucky Horse Park. All of that depends a little on what time of year it was.

Finally, Outreach also suggested we spell out explicitly the objectives of the trip, which we might want to reflect on. It is after this came up that we started talking about broadening congregational involvement in the partnership.

Outreach folks did not voice an opinion - other than Bob's warning - about when the visit should take place.

-- Perry


Presbiterio K'ekchi' Estoreño Izabal (1/31/11)


1 La Iglesia Arca de Noe ubo cambio de anciano, diacones secretario consistorio, y directiva sociedades de señoras y sigue su pastor 3 años mas, y cada Domingo oyaba a la congregacion de hermanos y hermanas.

La iglesia esta interminando son Altar de Noe, Espiritu Santo en el mes de Marzo, en la Asamblea de presbiterio 19 y 20 en este año 2011. Se ordenaran como Pastor a Raul Contreras y al mismo tiempo se organizana como Iglesia a Altar de Noe.

Tiene un campo con 23 personas en el Barrio el Esfuerzo en este municipio de El Estor Izabal.

2 La Iglesia Familia de Noe lo construyo su templo fue inaurado el año pasado en Diciembre. Sigue su Pastor Benjamin Sacul.

3 La Iglesia Peniel Boqueron alli esta pastoriando a Pablo Sacul Chub esta interinando a Lirio de Los Valles San Jorge. Esta alguilando una casa de donde selebra el servicio de adoracion. El presbiterio esta pagando el alquiler Q1800.000 mes ual. El presbiterio lo compro un terreno Barrio la Epsperanza Costa Q3,500.00 los miembros lo compararon 30 laminas con cablletas y maderas lo compraron 30 laminas con cablletas y maderas y lo construyero. Falta de fonarlo con tablas para la compra de tablas estan pidiendo en el presbiterio y no tenemos el recurso economicas para Apolla y de la construccion.

4. La Iglesia San Carlos estan levantando la obra en la Aldea Lampanas de Livingston Izabal. Sigue su pastor Jose Sub.

5. El Pastor Fidel Juc se mando a la Aldea La Guitarra de Livingston de Izabal con 23 miembros, y nos mando su informes de que 8 nuevo miembros se estan estudiando de Bautismo des pues del studio se bautisavan.

6. El presbiterio estan cuidado, Barrio La Union, lo mando a las Iglesias que sebaran a selevar culto mensual. Comenso la Iglesia Arca de Noe, despues, Altar de Noe, Luego el Espiritu Santo, Luego Familia de Noe, y Lirio de los Valles, Luego Peniel de Boqueron. En Barrio La Union no tiene pastor y no hay casa pastoral.

7. Barrio Chupon lo emos hecho lo posible de dar laminas en conjunto los miembros de 32 laminas para su templo pero ya tiene dinero pava comprarlo tablas, porque fue destruidor por el aire freete.

8. La Congregacion Nuevo Amanacer esta muy retirado y no entran veiculo en ese lugar. Caminamos a 5 horas a pie de donde nos lleva un carro de pasaje Q40.00 y si es viajes Q300.00 y ida buelta Q300.00 Seria Q600.00 sin alimentacion. El Ejecutivo lo cuidan pero tardan de llegar y no hay fando para movilizar.

El Comite Educacion Cristiano en Feberro comensava a elaborar material, y chequeava que es major traducirlo el catesismo mayor. Catesismo menor de Westerminter un material muy lindo para los miembros de la iglesia.

Solo estos el informes emriamos con ustedes.

Atentamente Gerardo Ich Pop 45349297
Ramiro Quib Caal

Presupoesto del Presbiterio Estoreño

1. Para la capacitacion de pastores Q9,000.00
2. Para traducir el material catesismo
Mayo y menor en Q’eqchi’ des pues de la Eboracion Capacitar Q8,000.00
3 Para construir Templo Chupon Q10,000.00
4 Construccion Templo San Jorge Q15,000.00
5 Para energia electrico San Jorge Q6,000.00
6 Para energia en Chupon Q6,000.00

TOTAL Q45,000.00 (about $6,000)

Frankfort photos

Sunday, February 6, 2011

February gathering

Half a dozen plus Crescent Hill folks brainstormed over a yummy breakfast at Phil and Claudia’s home about our partnership with the Estoreño Presbytery and made a key phone call to Pastor Gerardo, as he rode the bus into El Estor, coming from the Guatemala Mission Network gathering at the seminary in San Felipe.

A day or two before the Crescent Hill gathering Maria, at the San Felipe gathering because of her leadership position with the PC(USA) World Mission ministry area, had talked with Gerardo and Ramiro, an elder who also represented the presbytery at the gathering. Also a day or two before the Crescent Hill gathering, we had made a modest donation to the presbytery.

After reviewing this recent history and the January 21 LiErin Probasco talk, the Crescent Hill group opted to invite five Estoreño Presbytery representatives to visit Kentuckiana, in July or preferably this fall. There was some discussion about where we might go and what we might do, with the premise that the representatives would stay with families. Folks recognized that our claims of relative poverty may not be quite as convincing after a visit to our homes. After some discussion, folks also recognized that, just to get folks there and back (given that they probably need to go to Guatemala City not once but twice, in order to obtain passports and visas), would cost us more than $1,000 per person (which would require some fund-raising). We talked about asking each of the visitors who would need passports to cover the cost of the passport application ($13).

Carlos reached Gerardo and talked with him about the possible trip, who might go, and what they might have to do to obtain passports and visas. Carlos passed on the group’s request that they bring two women, a youth or young adult, an elder or deacon, and a passport. Carlos also mentioned that the church had sent a small amount of money to the presbytery and asked Gerardo about possible joint/shared Bible study. Gerardo suggested studying something about the early church (a topic that had surfaced during Bible study in Coban also).

Gerardo, who said he was exhausted and still planned to work all day Saturday to plan worship Sunday, said the presbytery executive committee would be meeting Monday and would talk about this opportunity.

As the gathering ended, the group agreed that it would meet on the second Saturday morning of each month for the next three months: March 12, April 9, and May 14. The group has traditionally gathered at 9:30 a.m., but may let the hosts pick the time. After the gathering, Carlos, Nora, and Ana agreed to host the March 12 gathering.

Also after the gathering, Maria passed the Estoreño information sheet on to the group. It included a proposal with a budget of $1,000 (the group had sent 40 percent of that). Also, Carlos suggested as a basis for shared Bible study a section of Elsa Tamez’s “Struggles for Power in Early Christianity: A Study of the First Letter to Timothy,” written originally in Spanish, and suggest a chapter or two of 1st Timothy as the basis for Bible study.


Food week (at EFL)

Friday, February 4, 2011

At the seminary and the bank

Ellen, Maria, Gerardo, and Ramiro, the elder who helps represent the Estoreño Presbytery with the national church in Guatemala, were all in the evangelical Presbyterian seminary in western Guatemala (pictured above) this week, for the Guatemala mission network gathering that Stephanie and Ellen went to last time it was in Guatemala. We had not asked our partners whether they were sending reps to the gathering, and we had not briefed Maria. Ellen originally hoped to set up a Skype call between Gerardo, Ramiro, Maria, herself, and us, but the gathering got too busy (and I lost my Skype for a day). When we try calling Gerardo Saturday morning, he and Ramiro may still be traveling back to El Estor.

On another note, the thought that I might be on the phone with Gerardo and Ramiro earlier this week pushed me a little harder, and, after a couple of more false starts, I sent the money to the presbytery bank account in El Estor. More or less as we had agreed on among ourselves, the amount was very modest – exactly the same amount that the network had asked all of us with partners in Guatemala to send to cover expenses for two reps – and so I don’t know how this will go over. At least hopefully they'll be able to access the money soon.

It is also possible that Gerardo and Ramiro made some connections with other PC(USA) congregations or presbyteries at the gathering, just as we are very slowly gathering steam to introduce more Kentuckiana congregations to our partnership.

I hope we’ll talk Saturday (in addition to talking about follow-up to the January 21 LiErin Probasco talk and our modest donation)– among each other and with Gerardo – about them sending a mixed group of some half a dozen people to visit us this summer or fall, and then talk with another local church or two to help us host. We may also want to talk about some kind of shared/joint Lenten/ Holy Week Bible study/theological reflection.

Unless she would be able to be at our next meeting (and maybe even if that), perhaps a small group of us can have lunch with Maria later this month to hear more about how the gathering went and about her conversations with Gerardo and Ramiro.


P.S. We've blown our chance to send some things through Ellen to Gerardo and Ramiro and on to the presbytery. However, Amanda is going to be there in a couple of weeks and, if we can make progress with presbytery folks about a possible visit to Kentuckiana, maybe we can ask them and Amanda, who is the PC(USA) point person on visas, to confer about this. Also, Amanda is going to be there to meet with the Presbyterian Women there, and if we want to send any message (or anything tangible?) to this group we may. Jennifer will be visiting Guatemala in March, and offered to take Amanda something, which we should consider, but that would be after Amanda's El Estor visit. Perry

P.P.S. Maria reports by e-mail that she, Gerardo, and Ramiro got to talk during the network gathering. They gave her a written report. They said they understood that we were sending some money, but didn't understand what we had designated it for. I don't think Maria had gotten my e-mail beforehand, but - after their conversation - she did ask if she should bring up the possible visit or Bible study. She also expressed interest in talking with Crescent Hill folks after her return Saturday. Simultaneously Rene, Arca de Noe's IT specialist, reported that he had let Gerardo know that we had sent the money. Perry

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

10:00 a.m. Saturday gathering

A 10:00 a.m. Guatemala mission partnership gathering this Saturday, February 5 at Phil and Claudia’s home a couple of blocks from church (at the corner of Field and Pennsylvania avenues) headlines a busy week plus. Monday and Wednesday Crescent Hill folks provide food for the meal that precedes English as a foreign language classes, at James Lees Memorial Presbyterian Church. Thursday the fourth term of the Spanish class, taught by CHPC’s Ada, begins at 6:00 p.m. at church. And organizing for the Tuesday, February 8 day of education, lobbying, and rallying about Senate Bill 6, the proposed Arizona-style immigration-control measure, continues with folks boarding buses for Frankfort at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Crescent Hill parking lot.

On the agenda for Saturday’s gathering will be debriefing/ following up after the January 21 LiErin Probasco talk and this week’s transfer of funds to the Estoreño Presbytery, as well as possible Louisville visit by Estoreño representatives and possible shared/joint Lenten Bible study/theological reflection by Estereño and Crescent Hill folks. Everyone is welcome.


February prayer schedule

Crescent Hill folks will be praying with Estoreño partners this month:

- On Sunday, February 6, and during the week thereafter: Estoreño Presbytery Presbyterian Women organization, President Maria Coc Tial, and other officers.

- On Sunday, February 13, and during the week thereafter: Estoreño Presbytery youth and young adult organization, President Armando Chub, and other officers.

- On Sunday, February 20, and during the week thereafter: Peniel church in Boqueron, Pastor Pablo Sacul, and members, deacons, and elders.

- On Sunday, February 27, and during the week thereafter: Familia de Noe church, Pastor Benjamin Sacul, and members, deacons, and elders.