Monday, January 30, 2012

February gathering

Crescent Hill folks interested in the church's partnership with the Estoreño Presbytery in Guatemala will gather at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 8, at the old James Lees Presbyterian Church at the corner of William Street and Frankfort Avenue (1741 Frankfort Avenue), a block from Mellwood (the entrance is on William Street). A possible prayer vigils and Guatemala trip will be discussed. Everyone is welcome.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

January gathering notes

Follow-up to the late 2011 visit by Estoreño Presbytery partners, response to Estoreño Presbytery requests, and a possible summer 2012 intergenerational mission trip to Guatemala were all topics of discussion at a Monday, January 23 Guatemala mission task force gathering at the old James Lees Presbyterian Church. The group shared more feedback they’d heard after the visit, including a range of enthusiasm about the partnership (including from those who are also very enthusiastic about local mission), from other Crescent Hill folks. Folks there highlighted the interest and enthusiasm shown in the turnout for the lunch and discussion after Sunday worship and the good-bye dinner at El Tarasco restaurant and the intense feeling of the Presbyterian Women event. They also talked about the importance of continuing the dialogue with other Crescent Hill folks, including via newsletter articles, Food for Thought lunches, and Minute for Mission talks. Carlos reported that Gerardo had reported a month ago that, although he was sick after the trip, he had finally obtained the suitcase he had checked on the plane flight back.

The group also talked about the range of requests that Estoreño visitors had communicated to Crescent Hill during the visit, and they shared the written versions of a theological education proposal they had brought with them and a list of other proposals Ramiro had drafted on the spot during one of the partnership discussions. The group blew hot and cold about being involved in the Q’eqchi’ theological education initiative and the supply of Q’eqhchi’ Bibles to women in the presbytery, which were two of the ideas discussed during the visit. The group resolved to send $300 – which would represent six months of a $50 a month communication budget – via the existing funds transfer mechanism, after three things had occurred: (1) talk with Pastor Gerardo to let him know the money was coming; (2) check in the PC(USA) World Mission to verify whether a 10 percent tithe for mission contributions (or any funds transfer?) was go to the IENPG, and how; and (3) make it clear to Gerardo and other presbytery folks that at very least the $50 a month should result in an e-mail connection between the two groups, and they should let us know as soon as that is up and running. Jane also reminded folks that the group had asked the visitors to produce some receipts for the visit-related expenses Crescent Hill had reimbursed.

The group talked about a possible Guatemala mission trip dates. In addition to talking about how we ought to clarify for ourselves and others the purpose of the partnership and of a possible trip, we talked about possible trip dates. The Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly meeting is the first week of July, and Crescent Hill is targeting late June as possible international Eastern Kentucky mission trip, and this trip would partly involved middle school youth. At some point in July seemed to be the most popular option. After the meeting Perry mentioned that the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery executive and possibly others from congregations the Estoreño Presbytery mission team visited might be interested. Perry warned that August might be out for 15 or older senior high youth, whom a Guatemala trip might include, as well as for K-12 educators, Claudia added. Perry pitched for visiting outlying churches this time, and Jane mentioned that an extended stay in homes – longer than the two nights a CHPC mission team did three years ago – might be too much for many Crescent Hill people.

The group talked about gathering next – again at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at James Lees – on February 6.

After the meeting Pastor Jane raised the possibility of a prayer vigil (which would be the fourth the Guatemala group has sponsored) with stations for various local mission partners, Estoreño Presbytery, friends around the state, mission workers we support, and others) (possibly after Easter?). The group had also talked during the gathering about possible shared/parallel Bible study – possibly involving more than just the Spanish-language/bilingual Sunday school class on our end – also possibly after Easter.

- Perry

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday gathering

Crescent Hill folks interested in the Guatemala partnership will gather at the old James Lees Memorial Presbyterian Church, at 1740 Frankfort Avenue (at Frankfort and William Street) at 5:30 p.m. Monday, January 23 (before English language learner dinner/classes).

No doubt we'll want to talk about Guatemala partner visit follow-up, including bulletin board feedback, responses to their proposals, possible summer 2012 mission trip, and other partnership follow-up (parallel Bible study?, prayer vigil, possible local partner follow-up, fund-raising?).

We will have a short gathering. I will try to get us a room in the 1740 Frankfort Avenue building.
Everyone is welcome.

Late 2011 visit requests

I counted as many as a dozen requests from Crescent Hill's Guatemalan partners during their late 2011 visit, for:

- Assistance with communication with us, which we essentially granted ($50 per month, perhaps bundled to lower the per-dollar wire transfer fees).

- Bibles and other (?) assistance to the Presbyterian Women organization and women of the presbytery.

- Assistance for another series of Q’eqchi’ Christian education materials. (I believe the presbytery obtained assistance from the national church to publish the first series.)

- Assistance for Spanish-language theological education of pastors. Recall that Roger Marriott and the Amigos de K’eckci’ were also trying to put together a theological training program for Q’eqchi’ pastors. (We should ask our friends about this - the presbytery had budgeted about $5,000 for this. Phil Beisswinger, following up on what Roger Marriott worked on, has been working on this and talked with our friends about it on their way back from Kentuckiana to El Estor.). (It’s possible to interpret our offer to send Brad or others to Guatemalan to do theological education as a version of this.)

- Subtly – assistance for continued building programs of churches in the presbytery. Our friends said they applied the $400 we sent last year to help a building program at the Peniel church in Boqueron (first one we visited two years ago), but that this did not cover all of the costs. I considered this a request for support for building programs.

- Subtly, general assistance for presbytery programs. They said they had raised a certain amount of money for this year and had already spent it. For some reason, I’m thinking they said they could use twice as much money as they raised (but I don’t remember the amount).

- Shared Bible study. They didn’t directly comment on whether they wanted to continue this, but they did say they had some of this, reported a little results, and complained that they had not heard from us as to our results.

- A mission/fraternal worker/volunteer for some time (?) to help teach Eng/lish and visit the churches/encourage presbytery ministries with them. This may overlap with our idea of sending someone to do theological education and an idea we’ve bandied around in the past of sending a young person from our congregation there for a couple of months. This could be one of us, or another adult, or a youth or young adult from Crescent Hill, and making a possible summer 2012 trip intergenerational might be taking one step in that direction.)

- “Relief” aid. It’s possible to interpret the cementing the floors of 17 houses, the assistance they have requested in the past for roofs being blown off of churches, and the food and clothing aid the presbytery/community just received from IENPG Diaconia/Presgov as relief aid.

- Water projects. The two men seemed interested in the water projects we discussed with the Elizabethtown Living Waters for the World people and especially Edge Outreach. I got no feedback on Lilith’s Faith Stories, but Jennifer said she thought only Ramiro understood the program. It’s possible that Macaria and the women might be more interested if they had more information about the program.

- Scholarship aid so that children of the presbytery (community?) might attend private schools and colleges. This is exactly the kind of aid that is available for a very small number of Q’eqchi’ students through the Walton Fund to go to private boarding high school in Coban, but I suppose it might be possible to expand this program to more students or to non-Coban students. We’d have to check with Roger about what’s happening with that school/that money, although it sounds like Gerardo is also on a Walton committee.

- Mutual prayer/prayer vigils. We didn’t talk too much about this.

Also: any additional follow-up with other people we talked with during the visit: Highland Presbyterian, Elizabethtown First Presbyterian, Portland Presbyterian, Ecclesia group, and so on?

- Perry

January prayers

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

- 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.

- On Sunday, January 8, and the week thereafter: Puerto del Cielo church in the El Estor suburb of La Union.

- On Sunday, January 15, and the week thereafter: Jesus Es la Puerta church in the El Estor suburb of El Chupon.

- On Sunday, January 22, and the week thereafter: Jesus Es la Puerta church in the El Estor suburb of El Chupon. and worshipers.

- On Sunday, January 29, 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, February 5, 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.

December gathering

Half a dozen plus Crescent Hill folks who had helped organize the week-long Kentuckiana visit by representatives of Estoreno Presbytery gathered back at the Fireside Room Monday to give thanks to all who had helped with the visit, reflect, and look ahead to the future. Several people shared accounts of different activities in which only a few people were involved, and Soni shared a little about her interactions with Macaria, whom she had hosted. Even before the gathering, by e-mail the group had communicated a bit about overscheduling in the visit. Very early on in the visit, Carlos made a quick call to Gerardo, who unfortunately was ill (after the visit) and had been told by the airline that they found his checked luggage and put it on a bus to El Estor, but it never arrived. Follow-up may be in order. The group reflected some on the requests the presbytery reps had made, and some believed it is important to find a different, more affordable financial transmission mechanism. The group talked about the possibility of sending at least a couple of people to Izabal this summer, when there might be more review of the partnership. They also resolved to build a bulletin board in the front room and to get index cards to people in worship Sunday (December 18) and to ask the Elder of the Week to ask people to write comments/questions/reflections/ suggestions about the visit and to hand those to the ushers (?) during worship. Another gathering early in January – at a time and place to be announced – will be in order.

- Perry

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