Update from Chile

Simon and Clare Brignall are ICS mission partners working in Chile and have been in the country for nearly two years. Here, they describe what has been happening over the last year: ‘We have done a series of bible studies, and three retreats over the last year, as well as some Messy Church services. We hope to continue with this over the next two years or so. We also plan to move to Valparaíso. Clare is now teaching in a school in the prison and also teaching Haitian immigrants, and hopes that that will continue when we return in September, as it is proving very rewarding and a real privilege.

In January, February, March the world comes to visit Valparaiso and the cathedral is crowded every day with tour parties. This year we have been able to keep the doors open and have produced tour leaflets for our visitors. Lots of tour parties are from the UK and many come to visit the Anglican church on a Sunday hoping we might have a service, but as yet we don’t have the resources to provide one as I am at St. Peter’s in the morning. Maybe an afternoon service or Evening Prayer, who knows!

In March, April, May the focus moves back to St. Peter’s as Chileans return from their holidays. Messy Church has been busy with Mothering Sunday and Father’s Day. Richard and Jo Fothergill who lead the ‘Filling Station’ movement came to visit us on their Sabbatical and shared with us their ‘Filling Station’ ministry at our retreat in the lovely country house ‘Las Tablas’, just outside Viña, where we have been before.

Easter and Pentecost at St. Paul’s drew good congregations from Valparaíso and Viña and give us confidence for the future of our Festival services. After so many years without regular worship at St. Paul´s we are just beginning to establish that we are now more than a tourist destination.

Tourism is vital though for the restaurants, hostels and craft shops on the two hills that St. Paul’s sits between: ‘Cerro Alegre’ and ‘Cerro Concepción’. This neighbourhood has attracted many small businesses who depend partly on the visitors the cathedral brings into the area. Next year will give us a wonderful opportunity to work with them as we celebrate the 160th anniversary of St. Paul’s. Having survived the earthquake of 1906 and many since it, St. Paul’s is easily the oldest standing building in Valparaíso!

Despite its strong foundations the earthquakes have damaged the stained glass over the years. All the stained glass comes from workshops in England and the most recently restored are two wonderful windows from the workshop of William Morris. It’s extraordinary to think of all these delicate items travelled around Cape Horn in sail driven ships! The organ too had to come to St. Paul´s by way of the Cape but didn’t survive the earthquake of 1906 so well. Today though it still makes a wonderful sound though it too needs major restoration.

Please pray for
• Visitors to St. Paul’s
• Cathedral services
• Conversation classes
• Prison and school visits
• Haitian immigrants.

Thank you!

Simon and Clare Brignall

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