Sunday, 10 October 2010

A week in Ecuador (4)

Sunday Oct 3rd was the day on which the Revd. Chris Morck presided at the Eucharist for the first time.  He did so at the Episcopal Church “Christo Liberator” (Christ the Liberator) in the district called Comite del Pueblo in Quito.

“Comite del Pueblo” (Committee of the People) is an area where homeless people took over some land which had been owned by absentee landlords, and began to build homes.  After long, hard, and sometimes violent struggles this area was incorporated as a Civil Parish within the City of Quito.  It is a semi-ramshackle yet vibrant area, inhabited by many poor people.  And our wondrous Episcopal Church has a presence there in the Church of Christo Liberator. 

The Vicar is the Revd. Raul Guaillas.  He has supervised Chris on his journey to Priesthood.

It is a small, but vital and vibrant Church which sponsors a day care centre for very poor children, called Porto de Belen, and a breakfast program for the elderly poor (mostly widows).

At 7:00 a.m. on Oct 3rd 2010 Chris and I set out to walk the thirty minute journey from the Morck home to the Church.  I enjoyed this walk, mostly because I was traversing real neighbourhoods, in which lived real and poor people.

The Church building is a two storey house. The first storey has a neat worship area (it felt like a catacomb).  The second storey has a few classrooms, an office and an under-equipped kitchen.

The Eucharist (slated for 8:00 a.m.) began at about 8:20 a.m. (Mediterranean, Caribbean, African and Latin time is much more flexible than that of we anal northern Americans and Europeans!) 

Present were a splendid group of poor widows  (they had deserted the Roman Catholic Church many years ago when their R.C. Priest would not assent to their request to  create a support group for women); some lovely younger families and children; and not a few young men. 

We enjoyed some lively and energetic worship. Padre Raul Guaillas preached.  Chris presided at the Eucharist, and I assisted. 

The most vital part of this worship was when the widows came forth to the altar area and, one by one, blessed Chris by tracing the sign of the cross on and over him. This was the apostolic succession, more necessary and vital than that which had been bestowed by the Bishops the day before.

After this most joyful and authentic gathering of God’s beloved children at God’s Holy Table we had a lovely outdoors meal.  Then we wandered up to “Porto de Belen” for a tour of this child day care centre.

“Christo Liberator” had all the feel of a congregation which cares more for the people of God than it does for “Church rules”.  I basked in that. 

Now, by the instruction of Bishop Luis Fernando, Chris has left Christo Liberator to become Vicar at the Episcopal Cathedral of El Senor.  The Cathedral congregation is small and struggling.  I trust and believe that Chris and Trish and their daughters will be agents of reconciliation and growth at the Cathedral

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