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.
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.
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.
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.