A pictorial travelogue is below this report.
On August 23, 2017, a mission team from the APA consisting of the Right Rev’d Chandler Jones (Suffragan Bishop of DEUS), Very Rev’d Ralph Waterhouse (Dean of St. Alban’s Cathedral), and Very Rev’d David Haines (Vicar General for Global Partnerships) embarked on a journey to Riobamba, Ecuador. The team departed from Miami International Airport in the late afternoon and arrived in Quito, Ecuador four and a half hours later. After a late dinner the team retired for the night with plans to meet up with the Worthy Endeavors Team (who were due to arrive later that night) at breakfast the next morning.
On the morning of August 24, the APA team got to meet up with the portion of the Worthy Endeavors team that arrived from the US overnight. Richard Todd, his wife Karen and board member, Peter Brundage had traveled from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and had arrived in Quito close to midnight after a delayed flight. After breakfast the other members of the Worthy Endeavors team, Matt McBurney, his wife Ivy, and son Oliver arrived at the airport hotel from the city. (Matt and Ivy served as translators during the visit.)
After Richard and Matt had secured the rental vehicles and Fr. Luis Tuaza and other members of the Indigenous Pastoral of the Anglican Province of America in Ecuador (IPAPAE) had joined and met the group, the teams set out to visit a church community in a district of Quito known as Yaruqui. This is a region of the city where a large number of Kichwa people from Chimborazo province have migrated in the hope of finding employment and a better life for themselves and their families.
The local church named “Mount Sinai” meets in a rented building which is being used as their worship space. After the formal welcome and greetings there was a brief service with Scripture reading, prayers and much singing. Following the service, the teams were served a sumptuous lunch consisting of chicken, fava beans, cheese, rice, corn and potatoes. One of the dreams of the community is to purchase their own property where they could build a church and a community center where crafts and other goods could be made and sold locally. At the completion of the meal the teams were taken to view two properties (one an open lot near the area where many of the migrants have settled and another some distance away with a building already on it that could be converted into a church) that were for sale and which are being considered by the community leadership. The properties in question were both fairly expensive by Ecuadorian standards and as the future viability of the Kichwa migrant community in Quito is somewhat uncertain the Worthy Endeavors team was of the opinion that it would be preferable and more cost effective for the group to continue to rent the current space until such time as circumstances warrant the purchase of their own property.
In the late afternoon the teams made their way out of Quito and onto the main highway towards Riobamba where they arrived a couple of hours after nightfall and checked into their hotel. After a late dinner and a brief discussion of the day’s events the teams retired for the night.
The following day, August 25 was set aside for teaching and various meetings with the teams and the clergy and leadership of the IPAPAE. The meeting began a little after 10 am in the auditorium at the hotel. The meeting was opened with prayer by Bishop Chad Jones and Fr. Luis then introduced the members of the clergy as well as the various office holders of the IPAPAE. He also outlined the progress that had been made since the teams had last visited in November 2016. Following the introductions and the exchange of greetings from all groups, Bishop Chad Jones taught on Anglicanism and its distinctive Catholicity. This teaching was very well received by all present and provided a basis for a number of deep theological discussions during the remainder of the visit.
The group then enjoyed lunch in the hotel that was generously paid for by Peter Brundage of Worthy Endeavors. The irony of Kichwa people, who were enslaved as part of the hacienda system until 1962, eating a meal in the main dining room of a former hacienda that has been converted into a hotel was not lost on those who were present. After lunch the meeting continued so that plans for the upcoming confirmations and ordinations and other aspects of the visit could be finalized. Richard Todd also had an opportunity to talk about various ongoing projects and financial issues concerning the church. The afternoon concluded with all of the clergy taking the oath of conformity to the APA and with the distribution of materials that had been prepared at the Cathedral in Oviedo, Florida by Dr. Mary Grundorf and Sister Linda Burns, and translated by Mrs. Mindy Veve, outlining the role of women in the church.
Early on August 26 the teams set out to visit two communities. The first of these was San Miquel de Pomachaca. On arrival the visitors were greeted on the outskirts of the community and then led in a parade headed by a band and dancers to a partially constructed building that is serving as the church for this community. During the more than three-hour ceremony that followed the team members got to learn about the struggle in this community. Before becoming part of the IPAPAE the community had been part of the Roman Catholic Church, Diocese of Riobamba. Several years earlier the community had built a church on community property in which to worship. The people in the community had raised the money and built the building themselves. Five years ago, under pressure from the Roman Catholic Church the community had agreed to sign the building over to the Roman Catholic Diocese. In recent years the Roman Catholic Church has been unable to supply the church with a priest but had advised the community that they could have a priest visit their church to celebrate Holy Communion if they could pay seventy dollars for each service. This arrangement and a lack of regular services in the community had led the community to affiliate with the Indigenous Anglican Church.
With the change in affiliation the community then requested permission from the Roman Catholic Bishop of Riobamba to continue to worship in their community church building but with an Anglican priest celebrating the Holy Communion. The Bishop of Riobamba denied the request and ordered the church to be locked and barred to prevent the community from having access to it.
In response to this uncharitable act the community leaders arranged a community-wide meeting with the leaders of the IPAPAE to discuss their predicament. After much prayer and discussion and a review of the situation, Fr. Luis Alberto Tuaza, senior priest of the group and one of the co-leaders tearfully informed them that the only viable solution that he could see would be for the community to return to the Roman Catholic Church so that use of the building would be restored to the community. At this point in the proceedings Fr. Luis was approached by an elderly widow who was in attendance and she presented him with her wooden spoon and told him that this was her contribution towards a new church building in which the community could worship as Anglicans.
In the Kichwa culture a women’s wooden spoon is her most prized possession as it is used as her primary cooking utensil. For a widow in the Kichwa culture to give up her wooden spoon is equivalent to giving up all that she possesses. It is a huge sacrifice.
The net result of her quiet and humble display of generosity was that other families quickly stepped forward and pledged support in the form of promises of bags of cement, bricks and aggregate for the new building. The widow’s courageous and generous contribution resulted in the building where the celebration and ceremony took place. The land was acquired with the help of the Mayor of the nearby town of Guamote and the building currently has four walls and no floor or roof. The community have stood up to the injustice of the Roman Catholic Church and have pledged their allegiance to the Anglican Church and placed their hope and trust in God to help them complete their church building.
During the course of the three-hour ceremony many community leaders, parliamentary representatives, and the Mayor of Guamote gave speeches and brought greetings and congratulations. Bishop Chad led the assembly in prayer, Fr. David preached, and near the end of the proceedings Bishop Chad released a “dove of peace” to symbolize the Holy Spirit. The “dove” turned out to be a white pigeon which just flew a short distance and landed on the wall of the building, to the amusement of the crowd.
Following the ceremony there was a lunch served by the local community consisting of cuy (roasted guinea pig), cheese, fava beans, corn and potatoes as well as Bp. Chad’s favorite beer. While attempting to leave for the next community many of the team members were “press-ganged” into dancing with several of the older women of the community while the band played. This is a challenging endeavor at 11,000 feet.
Several hours behind schedule, the teams set out to the community of San Martin Laguna which had joined the IPAPAE since the last visit in November 2016. The community has a very attractive church and is located near the top of a very high Andean peak, just shy of 12,000 feet, and is only reachable by a very narrow, steep, and hazardous road. Both drivers expressed concern about driving back down the mountain after dark which meant that proceedings here needed to be completed in a little over two hours. During the visit Bishop Chad confirmed twelve young adults, having baptized six of them earlier in the service, and he also preached the sermon. Then Father’s Luis Tuazo and Eulogio Quito celebrated the Holy Communion. As might be anticipated the service and ceremony took longer than expected resulting in some tension and pressure to leave for the descent down the mountain as soon as possible afterwards. Fortunately, the descent was far quicker than the dive up the mountain and the teams made it back to the main highway just before nightfall and returned to the hotel without incident.
On Sunday August 27, the teams visited the headquarters of the IPAPAE in Guamote. This property is now owned by the church having been purchased with the help of Worthy Endeavors since the last visit in November, 2016. Bishop Chad blessed the newly constructed boundary wall as well as the two vehicles purchased with the help of Worthy Endeavors. Following the brief ceremony, the group set out to the community of Santa Teresita for the main event of the day. After arriving the clergy headed over to the church to vest for the service while the other team members went to find a seat in the large tent that had been set up to accommodate the very large crowd, many of whom were already present. The service was delayed for more than an hour due to the late arrival of several of the musicians.
In the service that followed, Bishop Chad ordained three men to the priesthood (Rev’d Carlos Enrique Ayol Paca; Rev’d. Pedro Lema Marcotoma, and Rev’d. Luis Alberto Guaman Lojano), and preached the sermon, while Fr. Luis Tuazo celebrated the Holy Communion together with Bishop Chad and the newly ordained priests. Fr. Ralph, Fr. David, Fr. Eulogio Quito and the newly ordained priests distributed the consecrated elements to the congregation of over five hundred people. This was a very special day in the life of the newly established IPAPAE as this was the first ordination to the priesthood of members of the Kichwa community using the traditional Anglican Rite.
After the service a lunch consisting of cuy (roasted guinea pig), cheese, corn, fava beans, rice and potatoes was served to all guests. The festivities continued through the afternoon with a choir and music festival and competition to celebrate the publication of a new hymnal and song book for the IPAPAE in Kichwa and Spanish entitled “Apunchikpak Tacinakuna”. These events concluded the official church portion of the visit. The remaining days would be focused on the building and development side in the communities.
On Monday. August 28 the teams went to visit three communities to review the progress and the work that had been completed on the churches in those communities. The money for improving the buildings had been donated by Samaritans Purse through a special church development program. Richard Todd of Worthy Endeavors had helped the communities apply for the funds and was responsible for inspecting the work after completion and reviewing the accounts relating to those funds. The first two communities were fairly close together, at least by Ecuadorian standards.
The teams set out early in the morning and drove through cold rain and mist to the first community at Columbe Alto. After a brief meeting with the community leadership and the exchange of greetings, the teams proceeded to inspect the partially completed church building that made up the second floor of the community center. During the course of this visit the band struck up and the people sang some hymns and then several team members were once again coerced into dancing with the local community members.
Two hours later the teams set out down the mountain to the next community at Columbe Large Lot 1 and 2. Once again we were greeted by the community leadership and got to inspect the additions that were being made to the church. These additions included an upstairs bathroom, and a small bedroom for the visiting clergy, as well as a bell tower over the entrance to the church. There was a more formal program at this community and following the exchange of greetings and some prayers offered by Bishop Chad, a ladies choir sang a series of Kichwa hymns and songs. The teams were then fed a lunch consisting of corn, fava beans and potatoes.
In the early afternoon the teams set out to visit the next community at Galte Jatun Loma. One of the deacons is resident in this community and has served the church here for twenty -two years. This is one of the few communities that is able to have a service of Holy Communion every Sunday as the deacon is able to celebrate a Deacon’s Mass and they are not dependent upon visiting clergy. Once again, we were greeted by the community and participated in a brief service of prayers and hymn singing. Following the ceremony and inspection of the newly constructed bell tower for the church, we were offered more food and refreshments. The church has fairly sizable land associated with it but they are only able to grow and harvest one crop a year because of the lack of water for irrigation in this location. In the late afternoon, the teams headed back to Riobamba for the night and to assess the plans for the next day. After reviewing the plans, the teams agreed to visit the last of the communities that had received money for building improvements on the next day.
On the morning of August 29, the teams set out in mist and rain to visit the community of Chismaute Alto. This is a large community and they have recently built a larger church since the original church, a traditional mud and thatch design, could no longer accommodate all of its members. This is a very poor community and the hygiene and sanitation was the poorest of any of the places we had visited. There were only a few of the community leaders available to welcome us as most of the people were involved in a community project that morning. Several of the cooperative’s tractors were available for working the community’s agricultural lands and so most people were out assisting with that project before the tractors moved to a different community. During the visit, the teams had the opportunity to inspect the new building and to learn about the struggles in the community. One issue that has created hardship for the community resulted from the closing of the government funded health clinic. As the community had not openly supported a particular candidate for the state government, after the election the clinic was closed and moved to another community that had offered the parliamentarian their support. This means that the local people have to travel another five miles to visit the clinic.
After a brief meal of cuy (guinea pig) soup and corn, and hot sugar water the teams headed back to the town of Guamote to have a meeting about the budget and discuss the plans for next year with the leadership of the IPAPAE. Reports on a number of financial issues were presented and various plans concerning future projects were discussed. Projects involving women and their role in the church as well as music projects were also discussed. Fr. David shared the plans to provide educational opportunities for two priests early next year and shared the dream of the IPAPAE being able to elect their own indigenous bishop in the years ahead. All of these ideas were well received by the leadership and clergy of the IPAPAE. The meeting concluded with the group reviewing two parcels of land that may be considered for the expansion of the headquarters where a seminary and community center are to be built in the future.
As this was the final meeting during this visit, Bishop Chad closed the meeting with prayer after which the teams said their final good byes to their Ecuadorian hosts and made their way back to the hotel in Riobamba.
After checking out of the hotel on August 30, the teams drove back to the airport hotel in Quito where they secured their luggage, turned in the rental vehicles, and took a cab into the old part of the city of Quito to spend the remainder of the afternoon visiting various churches and other sites in the city. In the late afternoon they returned to the hotel, had dinner together then gathered their belongings, said farewell to Matt and Ivy McBurney and their son, Oliver, who were remaining in Ecuador for another week, and checked in at the airport for their flights that were departing later that night. A final meeting was held in the departure area before the teams returned to their different destinations in the US. All members arrived home safely early in the morning of August 31.
A report on the progress in Ecuador and with our other Global Partners was presented at the recent Joint Synod held in Atlanta, GA on October 5.
–This report was authored by the Very Rev’d David Haines, Vicar General for Global Partnerships.
Pictorial Travelogue (click on the pictures to see large version)
Kichwa Migrant Community known as “Mount Sinai” in Quito
Mission team’s hacienda and “volcanic view” in Riobamaba
Teaching & Clergy Conference in Riobamba
San Miguel de Pomachaca Community
San Martin Laguna Community (Confirmations)
IPAPAE Headquarters in Guamote
St. Teresita Community (Ordinations)
Columbe Alto Community
Columbe Large Lot 1 and 2
Galte Jatun Loma Community
Chismaute Alto Community
IPAPAE Headquarters in Guamote (Final meetings and land inspection)