by Deacon Roger Griffin
Combined meeting with several local clergy, a group from Grace Anglican, Fleming Is, Fl and a group from Worchester, England - including their bishop. 40(-+) people in all. Also attending was Ian Montgomery, assistant to the previous bishop of Peru.
When he returned to Lima he told his Catholic bishop that he wanted to become Anglican and have a family. The bishop got angry and threw him out but never excommunicated him. After several years the bishop sent an assistant and asked Jorge, "Are you happy as an Anglican priest?" Jorge replied, "Yes. Very much so." Then the assistant asked, "Do you think it's of God?" Again, Jorge responded in the affirmative. "Based on this," said the assistant, "the Bishop sends you his blessing."
"Of course," says Bishop Jorge, "When I became Bishop, my old boss became angry with me again. But he'll calm down after a while."
Jorge has been a bishop for two years, one year as assistant to Bishop Godwin and one year as Diocesan Bishop. He worked for several years as an Anglican minister in the diocese, is well respected and understands well his country, his church and the problems they face.
Spent most of the day with Fr Anderson Sánchez, traveling around Lima and visiting his ministries. Anderson speaks good English, is energetic and manages two missions as well as his church He is also a wealth of information and experience.
After a long day and many delays we finally made it to Arequipa and a comfortable bed. We were greeted by Fr. Carlos Quispe, Dean of Arequipa and Fr Ricardo Vergara.
Bishop Godwin attempted to form Peru into its own province. To do this he formed Peru into four deaneries with a bishop over each. It is well understood in Peru and the rest of the province that the Church there is far from being ready to form its own province.
Arequipa is very American friendly. A little more of a commitment to get to but much more livable for groups that might not be able to take the pressures of Lima.
Both areas we visited have great opportunities for potential partnerships.
There are several other places, like Cusco, for example, where Bishop Mesco wants to plant a church, that also offer good opportunities for partnerships that could be explored for those able to make more of a commitment to travel time.
What they need - and what we need - are healthy, honest fraternal relationships, encouragement and understanding. Yes, there are financial needs but instead of simply giving money we should take the time to build the relationships that will develop creative ways of working together. The Church in Peru does not need us to teach, preach or evangelize. They don't need us to build, paint or repair anything. They are very capable and can get these jobs done much more efficiently than we can.
Peru, like in many areas of the world, developed under a very paternalistic formula of partnerships where the foreigners supported and did most everything. That is somewhat still the tendency with many but they are wanting to break out of that pattern and form genuine fraternal relationships where we learn to walk and work together.