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Companion Dioceses of Ecuador Central and Ecuador Litoral

Discover Ecuador
Overview of Our Work
Photo Galleries
About the Committee





The Companion Diocese Committee exists to develop mutual relationships of prayer and presence with fellow dioceses throughout the Anglican Communion. On this firm foundation, mission opportunities for further pilgrimages and work trips are explored, planned and enacted, patterned on a model of shared labor, investment and benefit. 


We invite you to enjoy the five slideshows below to get a sense — better th
an words can do! — of the vibrant life of the church in Ecuador. The slidehows will open in a separate window.

People, land, and church life

A mountainside Eucharist and the Bishop's visitation and confirmation

The delivery of Bibles in Quichua — and subsequent delight of the people!Quichua is the native language of many Ecuadoran people

A glimpse inside an Anglican church in San Felipe, a parish in Ibarra, about three hours north of Quito.

Visit the diocese of Ecuador Litoral, the large coastal area west of Ecuador Central with whom we've just started a companion relationship.




2013
Since our report to the Diocesan Convention in March the CDC has had several developments of interest. This will recap that report and update our major activities through this summer. In October we conducted a mission trip to Cuenca, the third largest city of Ecuador and within the Diocese of Ecuador Central. Twelve of us spent a week renovating the top floor of La Sagrada Familia Mission there. In addition to patching and painting five rooms and a hallway, we funded new bathroom fixtures and the replacement of a badly leaking roof. This floor is now being used as a dormitory for men who have brought family members from outlying areas for treatment at the local hospital. In addition to providing an income stream to the mission, this arrangement provides a much-needed public service to an underserved population.

In February, four members of the CDC attended the Diocesan Convention of Ecuador Central in Quito. The Rev. Salvador Ros presented a workshop on stewardship to some fifty clergy and lay members attending. The team held extensive meetings with Bishop Victor Scantlebury, Interim Diocesan Bishop of Ecuador Central, to clarify our mission there and plan future work. The diocese has experienced serious conflict between the bishop and clergy and between several clergy factions. This has made work there difficult and, as a result, two other dioceses in the United States have terminated their relationship with Central. We have decided to stay the course, although our ability to make tangible progress there may be constrained by the political climate for the time being.

There are two Episcopal dioceses in Ecuador. Ecuador Litoral includes the large coastal area immediately west of Ecuador Central. It comprises thirty missions but is served by only seven priests. Last year Ecuador Litoral petitioned the Diocese of New Jersey to enter into a companion diocese relationship with them, which Bishop Councell recently formalized. Members of the CDC have made two exploratory trips to Ecuador Litoral, the second to attend their diocesan convention at its Episcopal See in Guayaquil in February. All indications are that this diocese enjoys a healthy relationship between its bishop, clergy and lay members and that we can make significant contributions to its development free of political undercurrents. In July our Diocesan Youth Group sponsored a relationship-building youth pilgrimage to the diocese led by the Rev. Dcn. Debi Clarke, our first of what we believe will be many such trips. The CDC is working with Ecuador Litoral to identify and prioritize projects that will make the greatest contribution to this struggling diocese. One of these, for example, is to underwrite a mortgage that will enable one of the larger missions to purchase land on which to build their church.

Bishop Scantlebury of Ecuador Central was our guest for a week in March to attend our Diocesan Convention, visit several parishes and witness much of the relief and recovery work being conducted by our parishes after Hurricane Sandy. He addressed our convention and was presented with a silver chalice and paten to be used by La Sagrada Familia Mission in Cuenca. We believe that this visit reinforced the bond between our dioceses and further convinced the bishop of our determination to help spread the Word in Ecuador Central.

A large percentage of the Episcopal clergy in Ecuador are former Roman Catholic clergy who have had no formal training in the Anglican tradition. Opportunities for such training in Ecuador are non-existent. A major portion of the CDC’s operating budget for the foreseeable future will be dedicated to providing tuition and expenses for education in an Anglican seminary in the Dominican Republic. This August we sent a young man trained as a Roman Catholic transitional deacon for a year’s training there to be followed by ordination to the priesthood in Quito. By far the most critical need in both Ecuadorean dioceses we serve is the development of clergy who understand Episcopal traditions and practices. We view our educational ministry, comprised of workshops, hands-on training and tuition grants, as our major contribution toward their future success.

Both Episcopal dioceses in Ecuador are fragile and in need of support from their mother church in the United States. Over 80% of their financial support comes from The Episcopal Church and it will be a long time before they are self-sustaining. We believe that the CDC plays an important role in funding critical projects, training and providing personal encouragement through mission trips in which we work side-by-side with clergy and lay members. Our ministry is largely one of presence but we believe that to be an invaluable part of doing the Lord’s work in our sister dioceses in Ecuador.



September 2012

At the end of September, 2012 a group of 12 clergy and lay from all over the Diocese of New Jersey went to Cuenca, Ecuador for an 8 day mission trip. They spent the time at La Sagrada Familia mission renovating a 5 room apartment. This space is now being used as a dormitory for men who have family members in a local hospital and is much appreciated. It was a fulfilling trip for all who went there. See pictures from our trip!

February 2011 
A trip to Quito, Ambato, Chimborazo, with Bishop Councell (Click here for a slideshow.)

Pete Ackerman writes: Bishop Councell, the Reverend Harry Mazujian, the Reverend Pedro Guzman and I attended the diocesan convention and traveled to indigenous communiuties in La Hondonada, Ambato, Riobamba and Guamote. In the slideshow, Guamote is where Bishop Councell is celebrating (in locally made vestments presented by the community) and blessing the child and mother. Bishop Councell, Father Guzman and Father Mazujian participated in the ordination of three deacons and a priest. (In the slideshow, you'll see one photo that shows a water trough with snow melt from Chimborazo volcano.)

Bishop Councell's reflections: Along with Pete Ackerman, Chair of our Companion Diocese Committee and Fr. Pedro Guzman, Vicar of San Andres, I traveled to the Diocese of Ecuador Central. Our first destination was a church and school near Ambato, a city of 150,000 (fourth largest in Ecuador), about 80 miles south of Quito. There we met clergy and lay leaders, including the Rev. Marco Mejia, who once served at Grace Church in Elizabeth. They joined us in our van as we drove up and into the farmlands and communities that spread across the surrounding hills, covering them like a patchwork quilt of various shades of brilliant green. Set against that background were the people of Chimborazo, most of whom wear a dark red wool poncho and a white felt bowler hat. Here, as elsewhere, Ecuador is a land of a beautiful pallet of rich colors.

We made our way around the region for two days, visiting churches, schools and homes. The people were unfailingly gracious and generous. One evening we were welcomed into a home where we feasted on beans, eggs and cheese, with hot milk. When it was time for us to leave, our host made certain that we took strawberries and goose eggs with us. The next day we enjoyed corn and potatoes for lunch while school children sang for us. At a celebration of the Eucharist a lay woman preached a powerful message. A women’s choir sang songs of praise in their distinctive, high-pitched style. And we visitors were each presented with our own red poncho.

The gifts and hospitality of the people were splendid but their faith and their joy were glorious. We have much to share with them, to be sure. It made me proud, for example, to see the concrete floor of one church that was poured by members of our Diocese last September. And it was a joy to present to our companions sets of vestments (made by members of St. Martin’s, Lumberton) and Bibles in the indigenous language Quechua (thanks to the Rev. Thomas May and the American Bible Society). But we need the riches of their life with Jesus Christ and with one another.

There is much more to report: the dinner with Bishop Ruiz, his wife Tania, members of his staff and diocesan leaders, on the eve of their Convention; the Ordination service, attended by some 400 indigenous Episcopalians; the gathering of the Convention itself; and the faces of new friends in Christ; along with the light in their eyes, the joy in their hearts and the warmth of their embrace.


I can’t wait ‘til I can go back. Right Onward!

+George


September 2010
 
A weeklong adult trip to Quito and south to the Chimborazo region (including Riobamba) enabled Jersey Episcopalians to live and work with the indigenous people seeking to become part of the Anglican Communion.

The trip was a rousing success! (Click here for a slideshow.) Our hearty band included 19 people, ages 28 to 82, and all of us were welcomed into the churches, homes, and hearts of the wonderful people of Chibuleo, about three hours south of Quito.

Our work project in a new parish building transformed the floor from dirt to cement. Side by side with our friends and hosts, we moved rocks, stones, sand and cement by sack, bucket, and wheelbarrow until the job was completed. What a thrill! Our friends were ever so gracious — and did they ever feed us! Calorie counting was ignored by even the most fit.

Additionally, we attended — and Diocese of New Jersey clergy participated in — a beautiful ordination service for three new priests at the Cathedral in Quito. And we were present at one of the new priest's first Eucharists at la Iglesia de San Salvador in Ambato.

John 'Pete' Ackerman
Chair, Companion Diocese Committee

July 2010
 
Canon Kep Short will lead a youth visit to Quito and Riobamba, Ecuador to work with local diocesan youth and begin a ministry with the leaders of tomorrow.

Father Harry Mazujian of Calvary Church in Flemington, begins a sabbatical in Ecuador.

April 2010 
Trish Morck, a New Jersey missionary, a member of Ecuador Central’s Companion Diocese Committee and coordinator of a Colombia refugee relief program, visited Diocesan House and attended our committee meeting.

March 2010
 
Led by Canon Emily Holman, a first-ever Vocational Diaconate exploratory trip to Ecuador was successful beyond expectations. Workshops were heavily attended. Parish visits were warm and enriching.


Last updated: 31 August 2013
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