Author Archives: Fr. Ian Montgomery

About Fr. Ian Montgomery

I am a retired Anglican clergyman who served in Peru as a missionary in the Anglican Diocese of Peru.

Disaster news and relief

Anglican Church of Peru – Response to Flooding and Landslides across Peru

“Help us to help others”

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Plan of Action – 28th March 2017

1.0 Introduction:

During the first months of 2017 the “Niño” phenomenon has brought heavy rains to the IMG_20170327_134636822Andean regions of Peru. This heavy rain has caused landslides and flooding, particularly in areas close to rivers. This has resulted in a huge impact across the country. At present there are at least 85 dead, 118,000 severely affected (with a further 730,000 also directed affected to a lesser degree). 28,000 homes are either severely affected or uninhabitable.[1] With lives lost, homes destroyed and the rains continuing, the video of the escape of a Peruvian woman from a mudslide has become an iconic image of hope in a battered country.[2] The Anglican Church of Peru is now seeking to provide real incarnated hope to those affected by meeting the basic needs of vulnerable and neglected communities.

2.0 Current Situation:

The initial impact of the flooding and landslides has been felt around the country. The main focus for government agencies so far has been the initial relief effort. There is also some planning for long term work to improve the lives of those affected and to be better prepared for any possible similar future events. The relief effort is hampered by the damage to infrastructure. 157,000 homes have been damaged, 159 bridges have collapsed and 1900km of roads have been destroyed.[3] Initial relief efforts have often provided some temporary accommodation and some initial water provision. Individual citizens and non-governmental agencies have provided much food and clothing over the short-term. As this short term help reduces with time and whilst waiting for long term solutions from the local and national government there is a clear need to help those most affected with meeting basic needs (sanitation, food and water and temporary accommodation).

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3.0 “Help us to help others” – The Anglican Church of Peru responding the needs of neighbours:

The Anglican Church has visited the affected areas close to Lima, the capital of Peru, and has found that there are small communities of around 75 people that have received an initial help but are now left on their own. Their homes and small businesses have been either destroyed or severely damaged, many losing most of their belongings. Some have received some help with temporary accommodation but some still don’t have this basic need met. There are no toilet facilities provided, increasing health risks. Most have no means of cooking and water supplies are limited. We expect that, as access to other parts of Peru improves, other communities will be found with similar needs.

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The Church has formed the “Help us to help others” commission to help meet these needs in communities identified by the church as being in particular need and without significant support from others. By providing tents, mattresses, cookers and pans, food and water plus basic toilet facilities to each identified community the Church will meet their basic needs for a short 1-2 month period to enable the community to recover from the worst effects of the flooding and landslides and to begin to stand on their own two feet. We also aim to help children get back to school at what is the beginning of the school year here in Peru by providing help with school stationery.

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4.0 How can you help us to help others?

The cost of providing this type of help to each community of around 75 people for 1-2 months is around US$10,000 (£8,000). We would like to provide this support to a number of communities but will need help to do this. We would value your financial donations and your prayers as we seek to help those in need. Donations can be sent to the Diocesan account.

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5.0 Contact

The “Help us to help others” commission is formed of:

Bishop Jorge Aguilar – Diocesan Bishop – President

Rev. Carlos Quispe – Deacon of “Comunión Perú”, the Church’s NGO – Vice President

Rev. David Gonzales – Deacon – General Secretary

Paul Tester – Lay Minister – Finances and Communications

Raul Taipe – Lay Minister – Volunteer Coordinator

 

For more details please contact Paul Tester

Telephone: +51 1 2732721

Cel: +51 990919306

E-mail: paulandsarahinlima@hotmail.com

[1] http://elcomercio.pe/sociedad/peru/coen-aumentan-cifras-damnificados-y-afectados-lluvias-noticia-1978834 – El Comercio 24th March 2017

[2] www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-39295855 – BBC website – 16th March 2017

[3] www.esan.edu.pe/conexion/actualidad/2017/03/22/nino-costero-impacto-economia-peruana/ – ESAN website – 22nd March 2017

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Great News – God is Good, God is powerful – answered prayer.

  • GREAT NEWS – details yet to be seen – my free translation of this email from Bishop Godfrey – “With my warm greetings to everyone. The good news is that the President (Humala of Peru) has just signed – a few minutes ago – the new regulation on Religious Liberty which replaces the old punitive regulation. Thank God for this good news. …

    Con mis saludos cálidos para todos, y la buena noticia que el Presidente ya firmó – hace unos minutos – el nuevo Reglamento de Libertad Religiosa que reemplaza el viejo reglamento punitivo. Gloria a Dios por esta buena noticia. Un abrazo para todos ustedes y pido que compartan la noticia con los miembros de nuestras comunidades este fin de semana. Demos gracias a Dios por la victoria. Con mis oraciones. En Cristo, +William

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Reglamentos discriminatorios

Deacon Maria leads the procession

In July 2011, on his last day in office, President Garcia of Peru signed a regulation  (Ley 29635) that defined a “religious entity” as needing 10,000 verifiable adult adherents.  Thus regulating out of legal existence as recognized religious entities most religions and churches other than the Roman Catholics.  This regulation (Ley 29635) comes into effect on January 18, 2013.  It can thus be seen as anti-Semitic, anti Islam, anti Hindu, anti Buddhist and anti most Christian churches in Peru.

The history is as follows;

In December 2010 the Peruvian Government passed the Law of Religious Freedom and Equality.  This law guarantees all religions and churches equality before the law.  What was then required was a regulation, which would define a “religious entity.”  The Ministry of Justice, we are told, had prepared such a regulation that would have continued the recognition accorded to religious groups and churches as we already had in Peru. However, this was not the regulation that was signed. It is suggested that at the last-minute some ultra conservative Roman Catholic persons substituted another regulation, which was then signed by the departing president.

The effect of this regulation is that other religions such as Judaism and Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are no longer recognized.  Nor are other churches such as Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and the scores of independent Evangelical Churches likely to fit the requirement and simply will become civic associations like a football or cricket club.  It also means that they will no longer be able to have foreign missionaries as legal residents.

Interestingly the day January 18, 2013 is the first day of the week of prayer for Christian unity!

The Anglican Church in Peru – with whom I am a missionary – is a special case.  Our existence here in Peru was the result of an intergovernmental treaty in 1846.  we are not sure if that confers upon us any legal status separately from the new regulation.  However we have joined forces with the other religious groups and Churches to seek a new and just regulation.  The current one we regard as unjust and punitive.

It is hoped that President Humala will sign a new regulation that supersedes the one of July 2011, signed by President Garcia and due to take effect January 18, 2013.  Meanwhile we are gathering adult signatures from as many as possible seeking to collect 10,000 plus signatures.  Each signature has to be accompanied by a person’s full name, identity document and fingerprint of the right index finger.  This is a tall order.

We are seeking prayer over this.

  1. To see the regulation be replaced by one with the previous rules intact.
  2. To gather signatures.
  3. In our case as Anglicans to see if the treaty of 1846 still is in force and covers our own Anglican presence.

To God be the Glory.

Ian Montgomery, Lima, Peru

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MedSend in Lima – with our Anglican medical ministry

Dr. Townsend Cooper

On September 24/25 a team from Medsend visited Lima and followed Dr. Townsend and Dawn Cooper (SAMS Missionaries) as they ministered in Pachacutec, Ventanilla/Callao and then showed them the mission areas of Chancheria and Villa el Salvador, also in Lima.  They were able to spend time with Erica Montoya, one of our social workers and with Fr. Carlos Quispe, Director of our NGO – Communion Peru.

Ventanilla is our furthest mission outpost in the north of greater Lima.  Specifically Pachacutec is the shantytown beyond Ventanilla.  It is the home to thousands of people who live in abject poverty.

The end of the road in Pachacutec

The Anglican Church has two missions – San Patricio and San Marcos.  We have a Priest and deacon who minister there.  We have our own building at San Patricio, though the title to the land is not yet ours.  San Marcos is a house church in the home of Jenny, a parishioner.

San Patricio, Pachacutec

Villa el Salvador is on the other end of Lima, to the south.  It is one of the earliest pueblos jovenes (shantytowns)  and is now both built up and well established.  We have had a church and ministry center there for many years.  It is a possible site for a medical ministry center.

Fr. Carlos welcomes the MedSend team

We met there with a family whose two-year old daughter was thought to be autistic – and thus would be put into the shadows for the rest of her life.  Dr. Townsend diagnosed her as deaf and therefore uncommunicative.  Miraculously a new parishioner at the cathedral had spoken with Fr. Ian Montgomery.  This visitor has a hearing aid business.  Fr. Ian was able to put him in touch with Dr. Townsend.  We now have hearing aids on the way and the improvement is dramatic – God is so good!  There are no co-incidences.

I can’t wait for my hearing aids!

Chancheria is an extension of an area in Pamplona Alta where the valley ends.

Chancheria

It is where pigs are farmed.  It sits next to a huge graveyard where the graves are only about eighteen inches deep due to the rocky ground.  There is no sewage, no water and toxic dust.  It is again home to thousands.

Living in Chancheria

Chancheria

The MedSend team were very taken by the seamless integration of Gospel and social outreach.  We are not compartmentalized in our ministry as we are one Church seeking to minister to the whole person.  We seek to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus with that combination of St. James.  Jesus is in our words as well as our actions.

St James reminds us:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.   If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.  James 1:22-27 ESV

The altar cross at San Patricio – ¡todo en el nombre de Cristo!

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Mission to Arequipa and Yarabamba – the Petalumeños in action!

Fr. Marvin Bowers writes:
The week of June 16-24 a mission team from St John’s Anglican, Petaluma, California, came to Arequipa.  They were immediately dubbed the Petalumeños.   The  photo below shows the team with students of Colegio Anglicana San Lucas following a farewell ceremony.

Colegio San Lucas. From left to right, me, Alec Conrad, Josiah Gilman and his father Jeff (the senior member of the team), Steve and Holly Knipe, Rebecca Miller, Malia Byerley, Caitly Christie, a San Lucas student, and Sadie Byerley

Last year, Steve, Holly and Caitlyn attended a Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS) mission team training and began a year long team formation process.  The team formation included cross cultural ministry training, fund raising, and, above all, prayer.

Yarabamba – potatoes baked in adobe for lunch

Yarabama – clearing stones for a rock wall around the site for a future church

Yarabama – clearing stones for a rock wall around the site for a future church

   During their weeklong mission in Arequipa the team did manual labor, music, sports, and testimony at Santiago Apostol (St James Apostle), Villa Ecologia; Santa Natividad (Holy Nativity), Yarabama; Colegio San Lucas, (St Luke’s School), Zamacola; Casa Hogar Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Orphanage), Pachacutec); and Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemor), Vallecito.  Jeff Gilman, who is the director of the Redwood Gospel Mission in Santa Rosa, gave talks about Alcoholics Anonymous and recovery ministry to seminarians, clergy, teachers, and parents.

Yarabama Basketball

Colegio San Lucas – painting a new class room.

Colegio San Lucas – the community gathers

Nestor Mogollon, a deacon who serves at San Lucas and Santiago Apostol, said that he’s never seen a mission team that sang as much and prayed as much and had as much fun as the Petalumainyos.  Bonnie and I had our regular schedule of teaching at San Lucas and at el Seminario Santos Agustin but were able to accompany the team for most of their activities.  I certainly agree with deacon Nestor about the team’s spirit of service, love, and joy.

Santiago Apostol, Arequipa, with her new roof

Santiago Apostol – working on the walls.

  Bonnie and I will be in Arequipa for another week.  I will be wrapping up my seminary classes and recording the grades of the seminarians (the hardest part for me).  We will fly out of Arequipa on the evening of  Monday, July 2 , and arrive home on Tuesday, July 3. As always, we offer our heartfelt thanks to all of you who have prayed for us, as well as to those who have given financial support for our ministry.

Santiago Apostol – the team with Fr Juan Marcos Ayala, Deacon Nestor Mogollon and members of the community.

   La gracia de nuestro Senor Jesucristo, el amor de Dios, y la comunion del Espiritu Santo sean con todos nosotros.
   Marvin

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Shining lights in the midst of poverty.

San Patricio

Pachacutec, Ventanilla – Home of San Patricio

This last week I visited two of our missions that I had not visited before.  Both in Lima, they exemplify a core conviction upon which our mission as the Anglican Church in Peru is founded: Where there is poverty we will do all that we can to bring the light of Christ, dignity and care.

 

…..   what does the LORD require of you

             but to do justice, and to love kindness,  and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

I visited the communities of Ventanilla and Independencia; both communities are at the “end of the line.”

Independencia

Ventanilla

San Patricio, Ventanilla

Ventanilla is out in the country, north of Callao.  It is along the coast and features land given by the government to “discapacitados” – disabled people.  After a bus ride of two hours, changing once or twice, I arrived in the midst of neblina.  This rolling mist comes off the ocean and is caused by the Antarctic current meeting the desert heat.  I could hardly see the sea, and what I could see was soon hidden.

Deacon David at San Patricio

Our mission chapel, San Patricio, is run by Fr. Jaime Siancas and Deacon David Rodriguez.

The outside is bordered by old wooden fences and pieces of packing crates.  Inside there is a concrete floor with a roof, a storage area and bathroom.  There is a sandy area for play and on one side a lush garden.

the game of Twister is international! And fun.

Fr. Jaime is a gardener.  Inside the roofed area quantities of small plants sit in black plastic bags.

As we walked up the road from the bus stop, we were greeted by children and mothers, obviously delighted to see us.

Lego station

Deacon David was coming to celebrate his children’s hour.  In a trice there were games set up in stations and children playing happily.  Every person received a mandarin orange as a snack.

This girl loved having the fluffy bear touch her face

Coloring their Moses in the basket pictures

In a while, we moved on to a singing and prayer time that preceded a talk on the baby Moses being saved by being put in a basket on the river.  Each child had a coloring sheet that turned into a “moving picture” of basket bobbing on waves.  It is a baptism story of salvation and of God’s plan.

When it was over I chatted with some of the mothers.  One struck me powerfully – probably not more than thirty years old and all that was left of her teeth were black stubs.  Her body showed all the signs of malnutrition. This is a community that cares for one another as they live in shacks, which in North America we would not use to house animals for fear of animal welfare groups.

David promised to return the next day – Sunday – to spend time with the adults and have a church service.  He is an amazing young man and clearly loves the people in his charge.  He brings the light of Christ, dignity and care.

Independencia

This is the borrowed space where the community meets for worship

Independencia is also in north Lima, but much closer.  I got off the Metropolitan to meet Fr. Esteban.  We got into a “moto” – this is a tiny three wheeled taxi based on a motor scooter like a Vespa.  We headed up the road that ascends the hillside.  After the moto left the tarmac, we continued a way up the sandy, stony road, until it could go no further.  It stalled because of the incline and our combined weight.  We walked the few hundred feet to a stone wall that had steps to lead people higher.

The Diocesan mission is called Espiritu Santo.  But there is no building.  I met some of the families. I met a woman in her home where they host services on a Sunday morning.

We hiked with her up a steep slope to a house with a crude kitchen set up with huge pans.  She serves hot milk Mondays through Fridays after school.  It is life saving to these malnourished children.  In our conversation she appealed for help with health and vision problems.

The good news is that I could talk to Dr. Townsend Cooper upon my return.  Fr. Esteban has now made a formal request for a medical team.  It looks as if this will happen soon, including eye tests and some eyeglasses for children and adults.

Fr. Esteban and I made some house calls.  These are the most amazing people.  They have an innate dignity.  They will not beg and are industrious where possible.  In one home a group of three women were putting backs on ear studs that would be sold in a local market.  The woman in charge was widowed two years ago when a huge bus wrecked their car and killed her husband.  She was injured.  There was no compensation or insurance.  She just waited to heal and got on with finding her own way to start this business and become self sufficient.  Meanwhile she employed the other two women to help.

In another home I met a young couple with two children.  Again the home was crude.  The floor was of deeply pitted earth.  I was treated to a glass of Inca Cola served from their refrigerator.  When visiting in shanty town homes, one develops a facility to absorb Inca Cola!

Fr. Esteban is a non stipendiary priest.  He has a regular job and this is his vocation – to love and serve the poor in this little area.  Again a light for Christ in the midst of abject poverty.

What a privilege it is to serve on the front lines in Peru, to be supported by so many senders.  The Anglican ministry here is only possible because of generous support – thank you.

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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.