Love and Joy and Worship amidst Dirt Hills and Difficult Lives

What does an Anglican church look like? In some places, it looks like this:

Anglican church #1

Or for a more modern twist, like this:

Anglican church #3

For the people of Puente Piedra, a northern district of Lima, it looks like this:

San Andrés Anglican Church, Puente Piedra

San Andrés Anglican Church, Puente Piedra

And this:

Santísima Cruz Anglican Church, Puente Piedra

The open land of Santísima Cruz Anglican Church, Puente Piedra

Our two churches in Puente Piedra–San Andrés and Santísima Cruz–sit on adjacent hills separated by about 100 yards and a lot of huffing and puffing.

The dirt hills are steep!

A hill aside San Andrés.

A hill aside San Andrés.

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Making the ascent.

They assure that coming to church is not a simple matter.

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Congregants outside San Andrés.

Congregants outside San Andrés.

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A determined little girl assessing the climb ahead.

And in the open air of Santísima Cruz, it’s not possible to escape the bitter winter cold or the sweltering summer sun.

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Visitors from England, including Rev. Phil Bradford, share in this service at Santísima Cruz.

A life in Puente Piedra holds little promise of comfort.

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But thanks be to God, Padre Benjamin Salas has a heart to love and serve the people of Puente Piedra.

A kind and energetic Padre Benjamin and his generous, fun wife Livia.

A kind and energetic Padre Benjamin and his generous, fun wife Livia.

Padre Benjamin has sacrificed the comforts of his home in a developed district of Lima to live in the simple rooms on the property of Santísima Cruz.

SC Benjamin and Livia getting out of house

Padre Benjamin helping his lovely wife Livia navigate the steps from his new home.

Living in the community, he can do what he does best: nurture relationships, which he forms while holding after-school children’s programs, enjoying the hospitality of a home visit, or simply setting up a neighborhood volleyball game or chatting with his neighbors.

Sometimes more than people are found in the homes!

Sometimes more than people are found in the homes!

Of course, all who know Padre Benjamin know the joy he brings to the community through his music. He plays the guitar and sings. He plays the banjo and sings. He encourages the children to sing. He leads his congregations in song. Praise and worship through song; these are a constant in his life and a huge blessing to his churches.

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Then-SAMS missionary and fellow banjo enthusiast Fr. Ian Montgomery enjoyed accompanying Padre Benjamin.

Then-SAMS missionary and fellow banjo enthusiast Fr. Ian Montgomery enjoyed accompanying Padre Benjamin.

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Padre Benjamin’s joyful heart comes from knowing and freely sharing the love of Christ. It is with that joyful heart that he carries out our great commission to preach the gospel to all the world.

So, what does an Anglican church look like? It looks like the love and joy and praise and worship and caring relationships that are found in our churches in Puente Piedra.

Who can see these beautiful, hopeful eyes and doubt God's presence in Puente Piedra?

Who can see these beautiful, hopeful eyes and doubt God’s presence in Puente Piedra?

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