Ten items for prayer:
1. At the beginning of February Bishop Greg attended a Primates’ Meeting in Alexandria (Egypt). Afterwards he commented: “There was a wonderful freshness of the Holy Spirit in this meeting; I believe it had something to do with prayer. God was teaching us as a group. Some previous Primates’ Meetings have been marked by lots of anger and underlying tension. Here there was also some anger and tension, but the atmosphere was very calm. The group of biblically orthodox Primates had a peace and clarity about them; there was a measure of grace and love”. He highlighted an increased sense of realism about the state of the Anglican Communion. “We were all agreed. There are two very different understandings of the Christian Faith now living together, indeed at war with one another, in the Communion. Humanly speaking the situation has no long term resolution.” Intercede for Archbishop Venables’ role in dealing with the brokenness and its consequences.
2. During the Summer-months a number of loved ones went to be with the Lord. In Misión Chaqueña all feel the loss of deaconess Nélida as well as one of Rev Marcelino Rojas’ daughters. The leadership in Rivadavia Banda Sur mourn the passing of the Rev Julio Acosta. Give thanks for their life and witness; pray for the families left behind and for the churches dealing with a leadership-vacuum.
3. From Wednesday 11th till Saturday 20th a group of four clergy from Carlisle will visit our diocese. The team will be involved in training and encouragement and its coordinator, Bishop James Newcome, is set to do some ordinations and confirmations in the indigenous church. After a Retreat for the Urban church-leadership over the weekend of 14-15, the party from our link-diocese will move on to Misión Chaqueña and Ingeniero Juarez and beyond. Please accompany our friends with your prayers.
4. Simultaneously with the visit of Bishop James’ party, the Rev Nick and Catherine Drayson will tour the diocese. The couple will overlap with some of the activities of the Carlisle-team in the indigenous church. The Draysons hope to firm up plans for their permanent move to Northern Argentina in August. In October Nick will be consecrated suffragan bishop. May the Lord prepare the road and people’s hearts.
5. In January the Principe de Paz-church organized a young people’s camp in the La Caldera retreat centre. With around 100 campers the resources were severly stretched, but the Lord worked in the lives of many. The congregation of San Andrés organized a short teenage-camp in February. Pray for the follow-up: may the impact of the camp have a lasting effect and produce young disciples of Christ.
6. From March 24th till Saturday 28th the Provincial Executive Committee will meet in Asunción (Paraguay). As well as our Bishop Greg (president), the Venerable Hugo Vergara and Aída Cuenca de Fernandez will attend on behalf of the Diocese of Northern Argentina.
7. The ASocIANA team are thankful for a ‘start of the year’-retreat held towards the end of February in the La Caldera centre. Coordinators Ani Alvarez and Chris Wallis are also grateful for the way the Argentine Supreme Court appears to uphold justice in the case of deforestation and its effects on the indigenous way of life. On December 29th the Court decreed the temporary suspension of some timber-logging operations as a cautionary measure. On February 18th it heard a case brought by a number of individuals and caucus groups, both indigenous and criollo. The provincial government stands accused of shirking its legal responsibilities in the matter and of turning a blind eye to illegal operations. Ani reports that the Presiding Judge showed little tolerance for evasive and longwinded waffle by the provincial politicians in the dock. Pray for ASocIANA’s advocacy-work and its gospel-message by word and deed.
8. The Northernmost city of the diocese, Tartagal, was hit by a mudslide on Feb 9th. Around a 150 houses built on the banks of the river Tartagal were swept away, others severely damaged and over a thousand people needed to be evacuated; two women died. Electricty, water and communications were cut, a entire railway-bridge dislodged and many streets covered by mud and debris. A blaming finger is being pointed at the timber-trade and mineral exploitation in the region; political complicity in these industries is a public secret. Tartagal houses two of the four ASocIANA offices. No Anglican church-buildings were affected, but a number of Christian families remain homeless. Believers and non-believers alike have been quick and generous with donations. President Christina Kirchner visited the city and commented on the scourge of structural poverty. Pray for the hardship suffered at a personal level and pray that the quick and generous promises made by the authorities will become reality.
9. The Venerable Isidro Vilte, president of the Indigenous Pastorate, is having trouble with his eyesight. A recent cataract-operation was unsuccessful and the Archdeacon is seeking further treatment. He is an accomplished translator and the practice of this gifting is in jeopardy. A wichí version of the Abundant Life discipleship course – Isidro’s latest contribution – is currently being digitalized. We hope to try out the course as a pilot-project alongside a major evangelistic effort in May.
10. The Indigenous Pastorate is planning a clergy-retreat over Easter, April 10 – 12. Pray for all the preparations.