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Mission

Working with the Diocese of South Carolina to reach the Hispanic community with the goal of planting and growing biblical Anglican congregations locally and throughout the Americas. We work in partnership with more than 60 Anglican Churches in Latin America including Chile, Peru, Cuba, Brazil, and Mexico who are actively doing the same. It is also our goal to assist local congregations in partnering with Latin leaders and churches in the Global South.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

July 8, 2017


I love what I do for the Diocesan Hispanic Ministries Committee. This last weekend - 1st-4th of July - Joanne and I had the tremendous honor and pleasure of hosting Bishop Willians Méndez of the Reformed Episcopal Church of Cuba. He stayed with us in our humble home in between meetings and gatherings.
I first met Bishop Méndez along with his assistant, Fr Enrique Melchor in Santiago, Chile at a Caminemos Juntos (Let's Walk Together) conference. Our meeting led to an invitation for me to visit them in Havana, Cuba. I and two lay leaders from our diocese accepted the invitation and experienced a side of Cuba that tourists will never see. That trip resulted in the beginning of a beautiful relationship between the Diocese of Cuba, REC and the Diocese of South Carolina, Anglican. It also resulted in Bishop Willians' visiting with us.
While he was here he met Bishop Bill Skilton, Fr Chris Werner, Fr Carlos Quispe of  Peru, Fr David Dubay, Fr Ron Mook of the local REC and many others.
On his final night with us I selfishly ask the bishop for a blessing on our home. He gladly did so, anointing Joanne and me as he prayed for us, our home, family and ministry. Afterwards he expressed his gratitude to the Lord for the trip and for the encouragement he received from everyone he met. "I feel we are connected now, not alone," he told us.
Bishop Willians and the greater part of the ministers and workers of the Church of the Global South serve in very difficult circumstances. When we think about forming a relationship with them the first thing we normally think about is financial support. Though, that is important, what the bishop and so many others that I have the privilege of fellowshipping with tell me is that relationship, genuine relationship is highly important. It is important for our fellow ministers around the world to know and feel our prayers, moral support and friendship.

This, I pray, is only the beginning. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Report from Peru 
by Deacon Roger Griffin

This last February 23rd through 28th Wey Camp and Frank Kirk of Holy Trinity, Edisto Is. and I went on an exploratory trip to Lima and Arequipa, Peru. I anticipated that it would be a good trip for all of us. Wey and Frank were interested in initiating a relationship with a church or churches there and I was very interested in helping them to do so and learn what I could about the state of the church there. It turned out to be very profitable on all counts.

Joanne asked me what impacted me most on the trip. The first things that came to mind were (not necessarily in the order of importance) 1. the traffic in Lima - even worse than Mexico City. We were stuck for 3 hours on the way to the airport to catch our flight to Arequipa. And, 2. I was very impressed with Bishop Jorge Aguilar. With the retirement of Bishop Godwin the church was left in a degree of confusion and with a lack of outside support. Bishop Jorge is well established and respected, worked with Bishop Godwin for 8 - 10 years and has a solid understanding of the situation as well as a vision for the future.

Fr Wey and Frank were impacted greatly by what they experienced. We had many in-depth conversations about what they were experiencing and about strategies for moving forward. They connected with The Rev Carlos Quispe in Arequipa who is the Vicar of the city. He will be an excellent resource going forward for them and others in our diocese who may want to minister there.

A brief timeline of the trip:

Thursday 2/23
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.

Others spoke briefly and Wey and I delivered Bishop Lawrence's greeting to the group. Wey was asked about life at Trinity and he spoke to them about Alpha and how effective that is. This was well received by the more evangelical clergy and seemed to encourage the more Anglo-Catholic Peruvians to consider it.

Later that day we had opportunity to lunch with Ian who is a very rich source of information and experience. He knows well, Peru and the state of the church there. He and Susan Delgado-Park where invaluable in their help and guidance in preparing for the trip and their help while we were there. I wholeheartedly encourage anyone planning a visit to contact Ian beforehand. You will be greatly rewarded in travel and ministry advice.

We spoke with Bishop Jorge. He has a great testimony. Started out as a Catholic and wanted to be a priest since his youth. Went to seminar, was ordained and practiced for 18 years but always wanted a family. He went on a trip to the U.S. to visit his sister who was Episcopalian and they attended her church on Sunday. Jorge took note of the priest, his deaconess and acolytes especially as they all served, as usual, at the Eucharist table. Later he learned that the deaconess was the priest's wife and the acolytes were their children. He said to himself, "This is really possible. To serve God as a minister and enjoy a family too."

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.

Friday 2/24:
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.

Friday 2/24 pm. - Tuesday 2/27
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.

Arequipa is a lovely city of less than 1,000,000, clean and friendly. Carlos, Ricardo and others have two or three churches and several missions in the area as well as a school and orphanage.
Like everyone, they are looking for more support.

There are very good opportunities for groups to visit and minister in Arequipa. My recommendation is to take the time to build relationships, partner with, develop genuine mutually supportive relationships. They have much to offer us but sometimes it's difficult for them (and us) to see it.

We attended church service on Sunday, visited the orphanage and a mission church on Monday. Returned to Lima on Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon 2/27
Met with Peter Sholl of MOCLAM seminary and introduced him to Bishop Jorge. I met Peter in Santiago during the Caminemos conference and was very impressed with him and his ministry. He is the director of the seminary, based in Monterey, Mexico. This is a mobile school that sends instructors into the field that provide one to two week intensive, seminary level classes for developing leaders. The REC Church of Cuba has used them extensively as has the Anglican seminary in Chile.

Wednesday am. 2/28 - Return to Charleston

Impressions and Recommendations:
Bishop Godwin, the previous bishop retired and returned to England. Bishop Godwin's son in law was director of the seminary and his daughter was also very involved in the running of the diocese. They have since returned to the U.S.
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.

The Church is a mix of Anglo-Catholics and Anglo-Evangelicals but the attitude I experienced was one of openness and common biblical foundations. In that sense the Diocese of Peru seems to be much like the Diocese of South Carolina - high church, low church and in-between church.

Peru is an excellent opportunity for the churches of our diocese. Lima is an open field with many needy mission churches that could benefit greatly from our involvement. It is tough work, hard to get to because of traffic and terrain but, for the right group(s), very rewarding.
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.

In conclusion, The Anglican Church of Peru represents a very good opportunity for us to develop partnerships. They are like-minded, biblical Anglicans that are working to change their world. Their challenges are much like ours but in a different social context.
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.




Friday, April 14, 2017

New Video from Havana, Cuba

Click On Link - La Habana - Primavera, 2017
Great report from our friend Fr Jonathan Kindberg of Caminemos Juntos/ACNA



Fire and Faithfulness in Brazil


Fire, passion, creativity, expansion, faithfulness, youthful zeal. These are some of the words that describe what I experienced during my time with the Anglican Church in Brazil, where with much excitement and anticipation, we began the preparations for the Caminemos Junto: Americas conference which will be held there in October of this year. The diocese of Recife (recently renamed the Anglican Church in Brazil-Diocese of Recife) has planted 35 congregations in the last twelve years and is quickly becoming an influential force in the Anglican world and global realignment movement. It is a church that while rapidly expanding is also growing in depth and maturity. What I experienced was truly breathtaking and even at times, frankly, a bit overwhelming.
 I’d heard testimonies and stories, but after experiencing first hand what must be one of the most dynamic group of Anglican churches, I’m more excited than ever to gather together there later this year.
I believe that the church in Brazil has a key role to play in the future of the Gospel and of mission throughout the Americas and the rest of the world. There is much those of us from over countries can learn and receive.
In the following I’ll briefly highlight several missional characteristics I observed of the Brazilian church.

 CREATIVITY IN MISSION

Comunhao .jpg
What I observed new congregations being planted in a great variety of settings and contexts: in low-income communities, in hotels, on the beach, in “houses of peace”, among youth, children and adults. Art, dance, and the use of innovative styles of music are just some of the examples of creativity in the Brazilian church. One shining example is a church called Comunhão (Communion) which hosts a beachfront English service that is reaching university students eager to practice their English as well as Jiu-Jitsu outreach program with some of the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in all of Brazil reaching young people far from the church.

COMPASSION IN MISSION

Bp. Miguel at House of Hope
Bp. Miguel at House of Hope
I also had the opportunity to visit House of Hope (Casa da Esperança) a ministry in an under-resourced neighborhood in Recife serving children. It functions as a sort of community drop-in center where kids can be taken care of while their parents are working. Along with the provision of much needed material resources, this ministry is also boldly sharing the Gospel through word. In the middle of this community center is a small sanctuary where Church of Hope meets and holds evangelistic services each week for the families of the children participating in the center. Truly this community is experiencing renewed hope through word and deed.

 TECHNOLOGY IN MISSION

The Brazilian Anglican church is also using technology and social media as a powerful tool to reach those in their society who might now come to church through other means. One great example of this is their Youtube channel and couple’s outreach ministry called Momento A2. This tool, begun by a young couple with a passion for changing the world for Christ, now has a daily audience of over 10,000 and many of their videos have nearly half a million views. Through this ministry and regular public evangelistic couple’s events over 30 small (or cell) groups have been planted where regular evangelism and discipleship takes place.

THE HISTORY OF A MOVEMENT

The Brazilian church has a fascinating history not unlike that of the ACNA. In 2004 after decades of fighting to remain true to the Gospel in the midst of the liberal Episcopal Province of Brazil, the diocese of Recife separated from the province and for a period of time came under the covering of the then named Province of the Southern Cone with Archbishop Greg Venables. In 2008, with the formation and the first gathering of GAFCON in Jerusalem, as a diocese they came under GAFCON’s covering as the ACNA was also similarly forming. Finally finding stability within this new orthodox structure, a period of mission and multiplication began. (To read more of this story, see the story on GAFCON’s blog here).
Now, 12 years later, they’ve planted 35 congregations coming to a total of 47 congregations spread throughout Brazil and have begun the process of becoming a province. On June 3rd, 3 new bishops will be consecrated who will be tasked with supervising different regions of the country. Also, at GAFCON’s request the Anglican Church in Brazil (ACB- Diocese of Recife) is beginning to provide episcopal covering for orthodox Anglican congregations in Central America and the North of South America who no longer in good conscience can stay within their dioceses or provinces.  The first congregation to enter this new province in formation in this way is Iglesia Anglicana La Vid in Bogotá, Colombia.

WALKING TOGETHER (CAMINEMOS JUNTOS) IN THE AMERICAS

This theme for this year’s conference is: PASSION FOR THE AMERICAS: EQUIPPING, MOBILIZING, PLANTING. The Brazilian evangelical church has a long history and tradition of mobilizing and sending, having recently become the 2nd largest country in terms of numbers of overseas missionaries sent. Part of our hopes for this year’s conference is to learn from Brazil’s example of church planting and multiplication and together learn how to further equip the Global South churches like Brazil and Chile to send missionaries and church planters throughout the Americas and the world.
With all this in mind, I invite you to begin the process of forming the team with which you will be coming to Recife in October for the conference. I believe that this gathering is key for the future of the church in the Americas and will be a profoundly transformational time, not only for each individual but also for each region and country represented. I invite you to begin praying, both for the resources to be able to come, and for the people that the Lord is calling you to bring with you.  Maybe you are asking: Who can I bring with me? Who is this gathering for? As a movement we believe that the mission of God is for all the people of God. This year’s conference will be especially powerful for youth, songwriters/worship leaders, for those exploring a missionary call and for those interesting in evangelism, discipleship and church planting.
We encourage you to get the most out of your trip and time. There will be pre-conference events beginning October 3rd and congregational visits after the conference on October 8th. We encourage everyone who can to arrive Monday the 2nd and return Sunday evening or Monday morning the 9th.
For those limited in time who can only attend the actual conference, please arrive Wednesday October 4th and plan on departing Saturday, October 7th.   You won’t regret this investment in the future of the Church and her mission throughout the Americas.



-Rev. Jonathan Kindberg

Co-Coordinador of the Caminemos Juntos movement

Saturday, March 18, 2017

What’s Wrong with Western Missionaries?

Article by 
Nik Ripken

Their words almost knocked me over. They hit me like a horse hoof to the gut.
When I was a young boy, I helped my father train quarter horses. And we always felt the danger of being the recipient of a wayward hoof. One day, not paying close attention, I was kicked, leaving a well-defined hoof print in the center of my stomach. Every ounce of breath left my body.

Decades later, challenging words delivered by believers from an Islamic background left me just as breathless.

Listening to Persecuted Believers

This event took place after we had visited over 45 countries, interviewing believers in persecution from backgrounds including communism, atheism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. We were learning from believers in persecution how to make Christ known and how to give birth to house churches that then would reproduce on their own.

After experiencing the devastation of Somalia, broken over the martyrdom of over 90% of Somali believers, our learning curve was acute. Believers in persecution were generous with their wisdom; they instinctively understood that investing in us gave deeper meaning to their own suffering.

Now we were returning to the world of Islam. It was in the world of Islam where most of the believers we knew and loved were killed. It was in the world of Islam where our middle son died on Easter Sunday morning of an asthma attack. Islamic environments at that time felt like the graveyard of faith.

Islamic Persecution Is Unique

We had already learned how important it was to listen. So we set aside time to listen to the believing culture inside a Muslim country, in rural and urban locations, among both young and old, both men and women, and those literate as well as oral communicators. They told us how they had heard of Jesus and his Bible for the first time. We were startled to discover that their experience was quite different from the experiences of most of the rest of the believing world.
In our earlier travels, we had learned that much persecution originates within governments and institutions of power. In the U.S.S.R. and China persecution was institutionalized. Persecutors were typically somewhere “out there,” and they employed means to find, punish, incarcerate, and kill believers.

In the world of Islam, we discovered that persecutors are typically not “out there,” but “in here.” In Islam, the persecutor often eats at your breakfast table, watches movies with you, and sleeps in your bedroom.

In earlier interviews, we had been told of parents and grandparents who would hide a believing son or daughter from the government. Within Islamic settings, however, it was the parents and grandparents who would often have incarcerated, banished, or even killed their own believing children and grandchildren.

What Makes a Good Missionary?

As we talked with persecuted believers, we discovered that they often wanted to talk not just about their own persecution, but also about us, workers from the West. As darkness settled in, after a full day of stories and interviews, I asked these believers about Western missionaries.
“What do we do well? What things do we not do well? What should we start doing? What should we stop doing? What should we pick up? What should we lay down? What makes a good missionary?”

These believers looked at each other in horror. For hours, they had related their most personal stories.

They had shared accounts of rejection by parents and siblings. They had unpacked events where they had been shamed and beaten. They had told of other believers who were forced to marry nonbelievers. They had even recalled brothers and sisters who had been brutalized before being killed for their faith. They had not held back the most intimate stories surrounding their families, faith, and persecution.

But when I ask this final question about Western missionaries, they froze.
I pushed harder. I sincerely needed to hear what they would say.
Finally, with great hesitation, one of the believers looked at me and said, “I don’t know what makes a good missionary, but I can tell you the name of the man we love.”
When he told me that man’s name, I asked him the next obvious question, “Why do you love him?”
They said, “We don’t know. We just love him.”

The Man They All Loved

I journeyed to five different places in that country. For ten long days, I interviewed believers. Each time, as I reached the end of the interview, I asked the same question: “What makes a good missionary?”

The response was identical each time: “We don’t know what makes a good missionary, but we can tell you the name of the man we love.”
Amazingly, I heard the same name in every place!
When I asked why they loved him, the answer was always the same: “We don’t know. We just love him.”

At this point, I began to feel jealous. I wondered why people hadn’t loved me this much. I found myself developing a grudge against a man I didn’t even know!

The final interview in that country ended in the same way. After another long day of interviews I asked again, “What makes a good worker from the West? What makes a good missionary?”
While I silently prayed not to hear the same answer, they said to me, “We don’t know what makes a good missionary, but we can tell you the man we love.” By now, the next sentence was predictable and expected; they mentioned that same name that I had heard over and over again.

The Missing Ingredient in Missions

By this point, I was so frustrated that I told them firmly that I was not going to leave until they told me why this worker from the West was such a wonderful man. I insisted on an answer.
Finally, one of the men leaned across the table toward me and said forcefully, “You want to know why we love him? We love him because he borrows money from us!”
I was stunned. I thought to myself, Well, I can do that, if that’s what it takes to be loved by believers in persecution.

His statement, however, hinted at something much deeper, and I pleaded with him to explain. What I heard felt like that horse-kick to the stomach. The words knocked the breath out of my body.

The man said, “When this missionary’s father died, he came to us and asked for our help. We didn’t have much, but we gathered an offering of love. We bought him a plane ticket so that he could go home to America and bury his father. This man and his family give everything they have to the poor. They struggle to pay rent and school fees, and put meat on the table. And when he has a great need, what does he do? He doesn’t go to the other Westerners for money. He comes to us. He comes to the scattered and the poor, he comes to local believers, and he asks for, and gets, our help.”

“Do you want to know why we love him? He needs us. The rest of you have never needed us.”

We Need to Need the People We Serve

I was tearfully overwhelmed. And I confessed the arrogance of Western missionaries — and my own arrogance. So much of what we do is about us and about what we can provide. We travel around the world to meet needs, not to be honest about our own, nor to become part of their body of Christ. We are the “haves,” and they are the “have-nots.”

Though our motives are not always suspect, we generally come and tell other people to “sit down and listen” while we stand and speak. We are aggressive, and we expect local people to remain passive. We bring the gospel, Bibles, and hymnbooks. We provide baptisms, discipleship, and places to meet. We choose the leaders. We care for orphans, build orphanages, rescue the broken, and care for the crippled.

And those are all wonderful things.
But here’s the challenge: What’s left for local people to do? What’s left for the Holy Spirit to provide? Where do we model how to trust God and his provision through the local body of believers? Where do local believers find their worth, their sanctified sense of significance? What gifts and sacrifice can they bring to this enterprise of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth?

Rarely did the apostle Paul create dependency upon himself. Often in his letters, Paul expressed how desperately he needed his brothers and sisters in Christ. He called those friends by name years later. He never forgot them. When possible, he returned to be with them. When he could not go, he sent them someone else. And he faithfully wrote to them, expressing his love, encouragement, and correction. In a word, he needed them.

If I Were to Start Over

If I were to start my missionary life over, I would bury my pride and unpack some humility. I would become a brother, a friend, and a peer. I would care more about the names of my brothers and sisters on the “mission field” and less about the numbers of baptisms, people discipled, churches planted, and orphanages built.

I would take to heart the lesson of John the Baptist, saying about a local believer what John said about Jesus: I must decrease so that he can increase (John 3:30). I would invite local believers to lead in the light while I served in the shadows. I would have pressed into what it meant to really need them.

During most of my ministry in Africa, I felt that I was the apostle Paul. I now know that I often need to be a Timothy.

For those of us in the West, this image should seize our hearts: Jesus taking the cloth from around his waist and washing the feet of the disciples, saying, “The last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16).


Nik Ripken is a leading expert on the persecuted church, having researched extensively in more than seventy countries. A veteran missionary of thirty years (primarily in North Africa and the Middle East), Nik is also the author of The Insanity of God, which inspired the motion picture of the same name.