On August 19, 2019 a mission team from the Anglican Province of America (APA) consisting of the Right Rev. David Haines (Missionary Bishop for Global Partnerships of the APA and Rector of All Saints Parish, Wilmington, North Carolina) and the Rev. Paul Rivard (Rector of the Church of St. George the Martyr, Simpsonville, South Carolina), together with Mr. Matthew McBurney of Worthy Endeavors (who would serve as the translator for the trip) set off on a journey to visit the Indigenous Pastoral of the Anglican Province of America in Ecuador (IPAPAE) in Riobamba, Ecuador. Two of the team arrived in Quito, Ecuador late in the evening, but Bp. Haines was delayed for a day due to a passport issue. After an overnight stay in Atlanta, and the issuing of an emergency travel document, Bp. Haines arrived in Quito on August 20, a full day late.  

Early in the morning of August 21, the team set off for Riobamba, arriving at their hotel in the late morning.  Shortly after arriving the team was joined by nine of the ten clergy from the IPAPAE and several of the lay leaders. After a hearty lunch, enjoyed by all, the group moved to the auditorium in the hotel where greetings were exchanged and Bp. Haines and Fr. Rivard taught about the orientation of the altar in the church and aspects of authority in Anglican church polity. The discussion that followed was lively and the team got to learn and appreciate a number of aspects of Kichwa culture during the course of the meeting. The afternoon concluded with discussion of the itinerary and schedule for the next few days.   The following morning, August 22, while Matt McBurney met with his thesis advisor, Dr. Craig Johnson from the University of Guelph and went to conduct a number of interviews for his thesis, the APA team members were driven to Guamote to review the progress being made on the partially constructed cathedral church which will serve as the mother church for the IPAPAE. The work is being funded through Worthy Endeavors and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019 or early in 2020. The team also got to look over the site where the future seminary and cultural center will be built as soon as plans are approved. The team was accompanied by several of the local clergy and a new member and postulant with the church, Mr. Gustavo Emiliano Mendez Aldas. Gustavo had trained as a Jesuit in the Roman Catholic Church in Ecuador but left the order to marry his wife and then traveled and lived in Israel for three years. He has recently returned to Ecuador and affiliated with the Anglican Church as a postulant for Holy Orders and is teaching at the IPAPAE seminary in Guamote. He also understands and speaks English, so he served as the translator for the team while Matthew McBurney was catching up on his thesis work.

On route to Gaumote the team stopped to visit the oldest church in the region, the Santisima Virgen Maria Nativida de Balbanera, in the community of Balbanera, just outside of the town of Colta. The church was founded in 1534. From there the team traveled on to Gaumote and after visiting the partially constructed cathedral and the site selected for the construction of the future seminary, the team, together with the Ecuadorian clergy, ate lunch in a local restaurant and then spent the first part of the afternoon visiting the market in Guamote. On these market days the local communities bring their agricultural produce and livestock to sell to the local businesses and people of the town. The market is a bustling place, and even though the team visited in the early afternoon, after a lot of the trading had been completed there was still a lot of activity and many fascinating crops and produce to see and sample.

Around 3 pm the team together with Matthew McBurney and several of the Ecuadorian clergy traveled to the community of Galte Laime to worship and pray and hear a presentation on the church and its recent growth. The community has an existing church building, but since affiliating with the IPAPAE they have experienced extensive growth to the point where they have had to begin construction of a larger church building on the adjoining property to accommodate the growing congregation. The members of the community development committee then gave presentations explaining their reasons for building a new church building and outlined their plans. They explained that they were inspired by the efforts and example of the community at San Miquel de Pomachaca (the wooden spoon church) where the community came together and constructed a church up to the roof level and then the APA and Worthy Endeavors helped them finish the construction. They hope to do the same in their community. Following the presentations, the team then visited the new construction which was approaching roof level and Bp. Haines blessed the building and the members of the congregation and choir with Holy water. The community then provided the visitors with a warm meal of chicken soup and roasted Guinea pig (Cuy). Following the meal the team departed from the community at dusk and arrived back at their hotel just before 9 pm. On Friday, August 23, the team set off early to the community of Chismaute Alto and the Church of Saints Philip and James, which was celebrating its patronal feast. Arriving early, the team discovered that the service and other festivities, including a bull fight, were not scheduled to begin until the late morning and early afternoon. After huddling around the cooking fires, due to the cold temperatures, the team was then offered an early lunch which they agreed to take. The meal consisted of soup, followed by potatoes, corn, and grilled steak. Although the meat was tough the flavor was excellent and had a distinctive smoked taste. After the meal the team hurriedly vested to prepare for the service which included a baptism. Fr. Louis Tuaza asked Bp. Haines to perform the baptism and to do the consecration in the Holy Eucharist in English according to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. Fr. Tuaza said parts of the service in Kichwa and Matt McBurney translated the English into Spanish. Following the baptism, which was done between the Creed and the sermon, as the family was not present at the beginning of the service, a couple of small boys approached the baptismal font and asked Bp. Haines to bless them. Dipping his fingers into the water in the font, Bp. Haines blessed each of them and laid his hand upon them, only to find that there was now a line of people asking to be blessed. Soon the line became a crush as all of the congregation now sought the blessing of their Bishop. What looked like chaos reigned for a while, until the crush dissipated and the service was able to proceed as planned. During the blessing event the choir had to sing several additional pieces to fill in the time. Since the service took longer than planned, towards the end of the service the festival band was playing loudly outside the church and those locals who did not attend the church service were gathering outside to prepare for the other festivities.

At the conclusion of the service the team had to hurry to the vehicles and head out to the next community visit some distance away. After some hurried farewells and regrets that they were not able to stay the team departed, passing the young bull on the back of a truck headed to the arena in the village of Chismaute Alto. In the early afternoon the team arrived at the community of Ishbuk Curiquinga where they were enthusiastically greeted by several members of the community. After some prayers and Scripture reading, and singing by choirs and the members of the community several leaders of the community spoke about the situation and needs in the community. Property for the church had been generously donated by a widow in the community and the church had been built on the side of a steep slopping hillside overlooking and close to the road which had been cut into the hillside below it. The building was still functional and usable but the local municipality was planning on expanding the road and cutting further into the hillside which would undermine and weaken the foundation of one part of the building. The community had therefore decided to construct a new church building on the hillside below the road so that the road and its expansion would not pose a threat to the integrity of the building. To this end the community had organized a voluntary communal labor effort, called a “minga,” to prepare the land on which to begin the new construction. Although there was still more work to be done to prepare the land before construction could begin, the Bishop was asked to bless the corner of the property in the traditional way, by praying and blessing a rock which was then dropped into the hole used to mark the corner of the property. After the bishop had done this, the other clergy and members of the community brought rocks to drop into the hole. As several of the community had been present at the earlier service in Chismaute Alto, they asked the bishop to bless the people present as he had done in the other community. They then arranged for all those present to line up and receive an episcopal blessing. Following the ceremony and the blessings, the team was then fed another meal of roasted Guinea pig (Cuy) and potatoes. As he was considered the guest of honor, Bp. Haines was served with two Cuy and a serving size dish of potatoes. Fortunately, thanks to instructions received from several of the Ecuadorian clergy on previous visits the team has learned how to gracefully make the extra food available to the less fortunate older people and younger children in the community in an appropriate and acceptable way for the local culture.

Once the meal was completed the team once again graciously made their exit and proceeded to the third community, San Miguel de Pomachaca, where Bp. Haines together with other local dignitaries was scheduled to kick-off the festivities of a three-day festival of prayer and thanksgiving in the community. 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 the church for this community. The parade arrived at the church just before dusk and following the speeches by various dignitaries including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Gaumote, and the former Mayor, as well as other local political leaders, Bp. Haines cut the ribbon stretched across the entrance of the church, the Iglesia Anglicana Nueva Vida De Dios (New Life of God Anglican Church), to declare the festival officially open. The whole group then proceeded, together with the choir from the church to the large tent that had been erected behind the building where the festivities were to be held. After more speeches and greetings and prayers and hymns the team and the other dignitaries were escorted to a large room above the entrance to the church where a meal of chicken soup, and beans, corn, potatoes, and roasted Guinea pig were served. If you have been keeping count, this was the third meal that the team had enjoyed in the communities on this day. Following the meal, the team again said its farewells and made its way safely back to the hotel in the dark. On Saturday, August 24, the team had an easier start giving them a chance to recover from the long day on Friday. After a light lunch at the hotel, the team set out for Riobamba to celebrate Holy Communion and Confirmation in one of the migrant Kichwa communities in the city. The team waited at a central location in the city, near a well-known hotel, where they met up with Fr. Tuaza and his wife Fannie and followed them to the church in the suburbs of the city where the service was to be held. The community had rented the local Roman Catholic Church for the occasion and when the team arrived, the priest-in-charge of the community, Fr. Carlos Ayol, was in the middle of the baptismal service. He baptized twelve members of the community before the Confirmation service. Once the baptismal service was over, the team vested and began the celebration of the Holy Communion and Confirmation. Fr. Carlos Ayol presented the nine confirmands, while Bp. Haines preached, confirmed and celebrated the Holy Communion. Once again, the Bishop was asked to do the consecration in English according to the 1928 Book of Common Prayer with Fr. Tuaza reading parts of the service in Kichwa and the Spanish translation being conducted by both Matthew McBurney and Gustavo Aldas. Following the service, the team together with many of the guests and other clergy were invited across the street to the home of Deacon Ascencio Pillajo, who serves in the community, for a wonderful festive dinner. Most of the ingredients were grown or produced by Deacon Ascencio who is a farmer in the district. He is the only bachelor amongst the clergy in the Anglican Church in Ecuador, so he had the wife of his neighbor, prepare and cook the food for all the guests. After a relaxing and fun evening with the clergy and several of the confirmands and their families, the team returned to their hotel for the night. Early Sunday morning, August 25, after checking out of their hotel, the team made its way to Guamote to meet with several clergy who had concerns that they wished to share with the Bishop. The meeting took place at the property which serves as the headquarters for the IPAPAE and the site where the seminary and cultural center are to be constructed. After hearing the concerns, Bp. Haines advised all concerned that he would try to deal with the situation before departing later that afternoon. When all the clergy had gathered, the team and a number of the Ecuadorian clergy and guests piled into the three vehicles and set out to the community of San Miguel de Pomachaca for the celebration of the Sunday Holy Communion which was to include another baptism. On this occasion there was no parade or band and so the team was able to drive up to the church and prepare for the service. Once again, Bp. Hanies was asked to preach and to celebrate the Holy Communion from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. The Ecuadorian clergy assisted with the baptism reading most of the service in Kichwa, with the Bishop doing the actual baptism and anointing of the infant. Following the reciting of the creed, Bp. Haines received Gustavo Aldas into the church as a communicant member of the IPAPAE. During the distribution of the communion, which was done by Fr. Tuaza and Fr. Rivard, Bp. Haines was led out of the church building to the parking area where he was asked to bless two trucks and their drivers with holy water. Following the service, the team was once again escorted to the large room above the entrance to the church and fed with another sumptuous meal of beans, corn, potatoes, and roasted Guinea pig.  Before departing the team had the opportunity to meet with some of the clergy leadership to discuss the issues raised earlier in the day by several of the clergy and to offer a partial solution and a way forward that, with God’s guidance would resolve the problem. Those present appeared satisfied with the outcome and agreed to report any further difficulties to Bp. Haines if they should arise. At the conclusion of the meeting it was time for the team to say their farewells to all of the clergy and members of the community so that they could begin the almost five-hour drive back to the hotel at the airport in Quito.

The team arrived in Quito late on Sunday evening, having been driven safely back by Matthew McBurney, and enjoyed a last meal together at the hotel. Matthew was scheduled to return to Canada early on Monday morning, while Bp. Haines and Fr. Rivard were scheduled to fly out late on Monday night. At the end of the meal, the APA members said their farewells to Matthew and thanked him for all his work both as translator and driver for most of the trip. The team then retired for the night.

On Monday, August 26, Bp. Haines and Fr. Rivard checked out of the hotel, leaving their luggage with the porter, and took a cab to Quito to do some site seeing where they visited Teleferico which overlooks the city and then toured the Basilica in the old town and enjoyed some local chocolate and coffee near one of the squares in the city. Later that afternoon they returned to the airport hotel, had dinner, then departed to the airport and their flight home. The return flight went without incident and both APA team members arrived back safely in the United States on Tuesday, August 27.