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.

Friday, 8 October 2010

A week in Ecuador (2)

Here is the second of my "on the spot" e-mails, dated 2nd October 2010.

Tomorrow I will write about the Ordination of Chris Morck to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church in Ecuador.

Saturday 2nd Oct 2010  8:35 p.m. Quito time.

The ordinations went so well this morning in a service which lasted for 2 3/4 hours.  Chris is now a Priest in the Church of God, and I will be present on Sunday 3rd when he presides at the Eucharist for the first time.  More about all this when I get back home.


More excitement.  Eight of us went out tonight -  for a fine celebratory dinner in  the La Mariscal district of Quito.The nickname for this area is "GRINGOLANDIA"    it is a tourist area.

After dinner as we were getting into a cab a young man ripped my camera away from the cord by which it was hanging on my wrist. There was no point in resisting.  (Yes it should have been in my pocket).  I was sad to think that i had lost the ordination photo's, but I was not injured, and I started to say "it's only a camera". 

Then to the surprise of us all, two local security guys took off like bats out of hell, cornered the thief, and recovered my camera.   Their swift action and the almost immediate recovery of my camera shocked, surprised, and delighted my locals hosts.   I got a bit trembly  but was also filled with gratitude that "all's  well that ends well".

The attempted coup last Thursday  (we are still under martial law), and the almost successful mugging tonight  lead me to believe that I am having far too much excitement!

Much love


Thursday, 7 October 2010

A week in Ecuador (1)

A week in Ecuador.

My first two  postings (today and tomorrow) will be copies of e-mails as I sent them, so that you will get a sense of immediacy,  (with apologies to those who’ve already seen them).  Then I’ll write a bit about Chris Morck’s ordination and first Eucharist, and about a couple of tours I took.

    My first full day in Quito, Ecuador: Thursday 30th September 2010.

The morning started well.  I took a good walk around the park which is across the street, then I mosied down two blocks to investigate a "hullabaloo".  It turned out to be one of the police demonstrations against the President.  I was severely castigated by one policeman because I took a photo'.  I did not argue with him.

It seems that the National Police are attempting to oust the President, but so far, the Army is backing him. 

I decided to take a cab into Centro Historical (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) but the taxi driver told me that he could and would not drive there.  Good call on his part as I certainly did not want to be near the Presidential Palace.

So instead the took a cab to the foot of a mountain where one can take a cable car up to 12,000'  and see great views of the valley, and of three active volcanoes.  (It was hard to breathe at that height).

It was a nice trip.  Then they shut the cable car down - but wiser heads prevailed so that scores of us would not be stuck on the mountain, and it was re-opened.   It was tough to get back to the Hotel.  I had been counting on other taxis bringing other tourists to the Cable Car , thus giving me a chance for a cab ride home.  No such luck.  No one was visiting the mountain!

In the event I managed to hitch a ride back into town -  and the good driver dropped me off about 10  New York blocks from my hotel.

It's all very surreal.  Most stores are closed for want of electricity.  But people are walking the streets without any apparent care, and buses and taxis abound.

There is this strange mixture of normalcy and strangeness.  The airport is closed, and Columbia and Peru have closed their borders with Ecuador. I could not leave if I wished so to do!

It is not as bad as you might see on CNN, but it is not good.

Tomorrow, (Friday) if all goes well I'll take a cab to be with friends Chris and Trish Morck who live about half an hour’s drive north of the City Centre.  I'll feel better to be with friends

The Hotel has a very good restaurant.  I had an Ecuadorian specialty for dinner tonight - - "Guatita"   -  that of course is "Beef Tripe"  What else would one do under the circumstances!