Our highest Church – 12,500 feet above sea level!

The Tariachi congregation outside the chapel

Polly and I spent nearly a week at our highest Church in Peru.

Polly and Sue Phillips on the Island of Taquile in Lake Titicaca - resting at 13,000 feet.

We traveled to Juliaca and Puno along with Sue Phillips from St. Lawrence Church, Alvechurch, Worcester, England.  St. Lawrence Church has long been a mission partner of the Diocese of Peru, along with the Diocese of Worcester, to which they belong.

Juliaca is a sprawling busy city on the Altiplano – the high plain of the Andes.

St. Mary Magdalena sign in Juliaca

Celebrating with Fr. Rubén.

There we have one church and a mission congregation.

Before Church - gathered for conversation.

Two priests serve these congregations – Fr. Rubén Mancilla and Fr. Luis Vizcarra.  Fr. Rubén is originally from Lima.  He has made the transition to the altiplano and his wife is from there.  Fr. Luis comes from Arequippa.  He is the first priest who has grown up within, been trained by and then ordained in the Anglican Church of Peru.  These young clergy are gifted in their ministry.  They complement each other superbly.

Fr. Luis and Polly greeting one of the congregation

Juliaca is the business center for the region.  It sits just west of Lake Titicaca which is the highest navigable lake in the world.  Located at 12,500 feet above sea level, it borders Bolivia and measures about one hundred by sixty miles.  Puno

The interior of St. Mary Magdalena

Juliaca is the business center for the region.  It sits just west of Lake Titicaca which is the highest navigable lake in the world.  Located at 12,500 feet above sea level, it borders Bolivia and measures about one hundred by sixty miles.  Its main city is Puno, about thirty miles from Juliaca.

The shore of lake Titicaca just near Puno

The reeds of Lake Titicaca near Puno. These are used to create the floating islands and as food.

In Juliaca we have the church of St. Mary Magdalen. The church is housed in a mission center with chapel, class rooms, accommodation and vegetable garden.

The entrance to the Tariachi chapel

Out in the country is the mission at the chapel of Tariachi.

Our sign

The Tariachi chapel is loaned to us by a local landowner who built the chapel in 1971 for his workers.  It sat unused until Fr. Rubén came along and asked to lead services there. Both congregations normally host over fifty people of all ages at each service.  In the Tariachi area there is expansive building of new homes as Juliaca is growing.  This is an amazing mission opportunity.  Frs. Rubén and Luis are developing this growing ministry.

Passing the peace - Tariachi

While in Tariachi we were treated to two picnic lunches, one after the other as well as a pastoral call to one of the local brickmaking families.

At the church of St. Mary Magdalena the clergy have begun a significant new ministry among the deaf.  Every Sunday afternoon they host classes in sign language.  Many of these families then stay for the service that follows.

The signing class at St. Mary Magdalena on Sunday afternoon

Frs. Rubén and Luis are currently beginning pastoral calls in Puno where they see the beginnings of a new faith community; a new mission is on the horizon.