Saturday, 9 October 2010

A week in Ecuador (3)

Chris and Trish Morck were parishioners at St. James’s, Cambridge, MA when I was Rector there.  It was with the greatest of joy and affection that we were able to be together for Chris’s ordination in the (Episcopal) Diocese of Central Ecuador on October 2nd 2010. An additional joy was that I took with me a gorgeous hand made green stole, a gift from the people of St. James’s.

That Diocese is one of seven (Colombia, Dominican Republic, Central Ecuador, Litoral Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, which form what is called “Province IX” of the Episcopal Church.) These Dioceses have, for various reasons, chosen not to be autonomous, thus they are an integral part of the Episcopal Church.

The Bishop of Central Ecuador is the Rt. Revd. Luis Fernando Ruiz. He was consecrated Bishop in September 2009.  (The previous Bishop of Central Ecuador was deposed in 2006 for failure to provide adequate financial information over the course of a number of years. Subsequently the diocese learned that title to many of its assets–including the cathedral, the diocesan office building and a school‑were listed as personal property of the former bishop.)   

Bishop Luis Fernando chose the first anniversary of his Consecration as the day for the ordination to the Priesthood of Deacons Danilo Bonilla, Christopher Morck, and Carlos Zapata.

The ordination rehearsal was somewhat chaotic.  After all these were the first ordinations for the Bishop.  He was advised by two other Province IX Bishops, Francisco Duque Bishop of Columbia, and Alfredo Morante Bishop of Ecuador Litoral  ( the Diocese in the south of Ecuador).  Despite the semi chaos we all went with the flow and kept good humour.

After rehearsal we were treated to a splendid banquet at the Swissotel in Quito.  Post dinner there was exciting music by a guitar and vocal duo, and then the wildest and most extravagant dancing.  Wow, what a party. 

I am not known for my reticence, so during a break I seized the microphone, and through an interpreter announced that I would report back to the States about this scandalous Diocese where I had danced with three Bishops.  The humour was well received.

I stayed that evening with the Morck’s and we travelled by cab to the Cathedral for Saturday’s ordination.  The Revd. David Copley, Mission Personnel Director for the Episcopal Church was present, as was the Revd. Stephen White who had been a part time assistant Priest at St. Stephen’s in Pittsfield (after my time there). It’s a small world.

The service proceeded well.  It lasted for two and three quarter hours (the Bishop preached for one hour!).  I had the distinct honour of being one of Chris’s presenters, and together with David Copley was asked to bless the newly ordained Priests’ vestments.   

The music was lively, and I was especially blessed by the music of the (all female) Quichua choir.   

Although I have no Spanish language skills, the Liturgy was easy to follow since it was the Spanish language version of the ordination service in our English language Book of Common Prayer.

I found myself to be frequently close to tears for the sheer joy and honour of being there for and with Chris and Trish, and their daughters Clare (8) and Isabel (4).

I’ll write tomorrow about the Eucharist next day at the little Church of Christ the Liberator at which Chris presided for the first time as Priest.

And yes, there will be photo’s.  I am trying to organise them and hope to set them up in a Flickr page.

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