Last Sunday evening we had an amazing electrical storm. I stood at the door of my little apartment watching the waves of rain roll in as lightening lit the sky several times each second. After a bit, everything died down and the rain became a dull pitter-patter in the background. That is how things have more or less been in the last week following the diocesan synod.
The synod went very well! Though the nitty-gritty issues included the question of how to bring the diocese to a place where it is financially autonomous, with no deficit to be covered by foreign gifts, the larger issues on the table have to do with the Great Commission. How will the Diocese of Argentina be the church that Christ has called all of his church to be, that is, a church which passionately proclaims the Gospel in everything that it does, which is made up of disciples of Jesus who form other disciples of Jesus, in congregations which plant new congregations? We're trying to discern this right now. The immediate need of the church is to obey the great commission and to grow to the point where this diocese can become its own province (made up of 4 dioceses with 7 congregations each). This is an enormous task to tackle in 12 years, but we have begun well, and by God's grace we will end well.
Personally, after the exhausting weekend, this week has been nicely restful. I've made a few visits and spent time in coordination on a few projects, but nothing immensely stressful has been looming on the horizon, which has been nice. Some immediate challenges are coming to the fore, however.
First, Holy Week is coming up. This is exciting, but daunting, as it will be a lot of work. I will be preaching on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday, and Rev. Daniel and I will be going out to a small river delta community with no church on Holy Saturday to have a small pre-Easter service with them (we're rather excited about this little venture!).
Second, we've reserved plane tickets for our trip to the Wichi tribes up in Northern Argentina. While my presence on the team has as first importance to observe, learn, and link up with these churches, undoubtedly I will be busy teaching and training as well during my time there. Though the Gospel has exploded up north (the Wichis have 200 established Anglican churches, compared to 6 in Buenos Aires), there are great challenges on the horizon for these communities. I am looking forward to spending time with them, with their leadership, and with Bishop Drayson and his wife.
Third, some weeks after I return from my visit to the Wichi tribes, we intend to begin an evening service at St. Mark's, tentatively slated to be called a "Divine Service" (all the other names we thought of were too culturally loaded). The service is still in the planning stages, but it will serve several ends. First, it will give an alternative time for people to worship on Sunday, especially for those (many) who have difficultly coming to church in the morning (culturally speaking, it can be difficult). Second, it will give the possibility for additional teaching for those who are already coming in the morning who want more spiritual meat. Third, it will serve as a place for training and experimentation with emerging church leaders in the congregation: those who might one day be lay ministers or ordained pastors. More details to come!
Finally, I found today that the Lord is opening more doors for me to link up with St. Hilda's, a bilingual primary and secondary school which was historically linked to St. Mark's. Not only am I forming a part of the team overseeing and promoting a joint music program between the parish and the school, but I will hopefully be forming a link between the school and the Wichi tribes up north. This is all very exciting, and I am curious to see where the Lord will take it all.
Well, this has been, I think, quite the detailed update. Take care, everyone!