As part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has more than 80 million members found in 160 different countries, our spirituality is catholic, evangelical and charismatic – catholic in that we preserve the faith of the early Christian Church, with its sacraments and three fold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons; evangelical in our emphasis on the authority of the Holy Scriptures and the proclamation of the word of God; and charismatic in that we rely on the grace and power of God for our work and ministry.
The Anglican Church of Peru is a diocese which is clearly both Peruvian and Anglican in its identity. Its roots and history go back to the first half of the nineteenth century with the arrival of English and North American immigrants. But Peruvian congregations are now the overwhelming majority, even though there is still a live English-speaking congregation at the Cathedral. National clergy and lay ministers make the Church and its worship relevant to the people they serve in Christ’s name and in many of our congregations Latin American Christian music enhances the worship.
A word from Bishop Jorge Luís Áquilar of our companion diocese of Perú
(1) “God is our refuge and strength, our help in the tribulations,” I begin with verse one of Psalm 46, because sincerely without our Lord, I could not have accomplished the path that has placed me in a position of leadership alongside my brothers and sisters. Certainly, the crozier that Bishop Bill Godfrey gave me when I was installed as Bishop Diocesan was not only tall and grand in appearance, but also symbolized the deep responsibility of leading the small, complex, happy, impoverished and missionary Anglican church in Peru.
Although, that Sunday, April 17, 2016, seems like yesterday, I have never felt alone in my travels, and I can say sincerely that I have encountered God day by day in his Word, in his mysteries, in my family, and especially in my brothers and sisters from the various local churches who accompany me, in their various responsibilities: in the diocesan staff, the Pastoral College, councils and committees, diocesan ministries, social programs, schools and from their own families. For all that, hank you!!
(2) 2017 began with a great test, an effect of climate change that we had to live with closely, the so-called “coastal child,” which, before the end of March of that year, affected more than 1.5 million people, with the most direct damage suffered being the loss of housing. Up to that time, about 200,000 homes were destroyed, in addition to 150 collapsed bridges and 2,000 kilometers of destroyed roads.
(3) We immediately responded by forming a Commission called “Help Us to Help” (Ayúdanos a ayudar) that emanated from the initiatives of our local churches, and that we channeled into a single effort aid from the diocesan community, from various alliances, from the government, and from our companion mission churches abroad.
(4) In all, we received assistance from abroad of $64,758.40, which we passed on, recognizing our limitations, utilizing the energy of emergency focus groups. This enabled us to help in a tangible way more than 173 families, and a school population of over 400 children. We supported the construction of prefabricated wooden houses, a public kitchen, food, school supplies, beds, mattresses, roofing materials, and water. We did it in the regions of Piura, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Huancayo, Illimo and the Carapongo area in Lima. We did it in cooperation with the Religious Congregation the Daughters of Charity, the Pentecostal Church Lamb of God and many young Christians who joined voluntarily.
(5) That pace of pastoral work and funding helped us to promote the theme of “Confidence in Cooperating Sources” (Confianza con las fuentes cooperantes), using flow charts and other materials that are very dynamic, versatile, and efficient. A key element in this was the identification of one person who acted as liaison with the diocesan financial administration of the diocese (first Paul, then Pat), to oversee internal transfers from the main savings account to a designated fund, according to guidelines established by the Bishop, and immediately disburse these funds for their intended purposes. That is COMMUNICATION with EFFICIENCY, one of the elements in the vision of the Anglican Church in Peru etablished in 2017.
(6) One of the fruits of this effort that we have experienced is the receipt of US $35,000 in support of the construction and improvement of our infrastructure and programs.
(7) We have put great emphasis on achieving sound financial management, trying to be good stewards of the resources that have been entrusted to us. We have reduced paid staff and sold assets when it seemed like the prudent thing to do. Our goal is to compensate our clergy adequately and equitably (mindful that “a servant is worthy of his hire”—Luke 10:7), even while asking them to live sacrificially, according to the demands of the gospel.
(8) The team that was originally established to diagnose our condition (VCF) has now been charged with overseeing the implementation of our vision, adopting as a motto words from Luke 15:18: “I will arise and go to my father.” We are emphasizing growth, Peruvian identity, the ministry of the laity, social programs, evangelism, discipleship, sound administration, cooperation with the Anglican Province of South America, unity in diversity, and maintaining the trust with our partners beyond the diocese.
(9) At our diocesan synod in 2017 we recommitted ourselves to processes that are well-planed and organized, transparent, focused on the business at hand, in recognition that it is the ultimate legislative authority on our church.
(10) We are now more aware of our several weaknesses, mainly a culture of informality and improvisation that lends itself to abuse, as well as an unrealistic and inflated sense of our overall numerical strength. We are working hard to address these weaknesses and establish clearer lines of accountability in our operations.
(11) Above all, we are building a culture of voluntarism, growing out from our local church communities, recognizing it as a core part of what it means to be a Christian and a disciple of Christ. If we believe in Him we follow Him, for we have given ourselves to him as our Lord and Savior! We hear his WORD: FOLLOW ME! and we follow it. We expect no guaranteed reward at the end of the road. We are workers in the fields of the Lord. We are the answer to Jesus’ own prayer that the Lord send workers into the harvest (Luke 10:2).
(12) This year we continue to consolidate and we look forward to the revision and updating of the Canons. But this is only in service to the primary goals of training and leadership development, and always in the language of the 6 strands (Growth, Communication, Knowledge, and Worship) and the 4 axes (Personal Relationship with Christ, Scriptures, the Church, Prayer, Belief, and Witness).
Translated from the original Spanish, paraphrased, and condensed by Bishop Martins.