Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Little Church Blogging

As I occasionally mention here, I maintain two blogs and about a dozen web pages for St. Michael's & All Angels Church here in Tucson.  I just spent the last hour or so updating the main blog and the schedule page, as I do every Sunday night.

As I've also mentioned from time to time, I'm no good at clothing the homeless, feeding the world, electing candidates, helping disaster victims, working for peace and justice, or any of that socially active stuff.  I believe in it, but I'm no good at actually doing it. I'm too shy, I'm too busy, and these are not where my talents lie.

So, next best thing: I sometimes help people who are good at that sort of thing get the word out.

If I were good at that sort of thing, Ila at our church would be my role model.  She's involved in all sorts of causes, but one of the main things she does is raise funds and supplies and volunteers to go down to Guatamala every year, where a large number of displaced Mayans struggle to survive in communities far from ancestral lands, in places not suited to growing their traditional crops.  I don't really have a good grasp of all the issues involved, but they are an oppressed people, and part of the reason why the second largest group of illegal border crossers in Arizona (after Mexican, of course) are Guatamalans. 

Anyway, I was over at Ila's house yesterday (on her front patio, actually, because I'm horribly allergic to cats and she has two of them), scanning in some of her Guatamala pictures.  A sample of her pictures, and her accompanying text from several sources, are below.  To learn more, see the St. Michael's schedule and ministries pages.


Guatamala Project - Pictures & Update
Summer Work, 2004.
Ila Abernathy & Nurse Sarah Roberts.
Photos: Ila Abernathy

Guatemala Project remains an ongoing, open ended, head-in-the-clouds and toes-in-the-mud, practical exploration of the provocative question asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" Its strengths are continuity (the "intercambio" began in 1993), flexibility, respect for indigenous cultures and indigenous self determination, the collaborative nature of the work, and you.

Auxiliary mayor of Cabá presents an Ixil huipil (handwoven women’s blouse) to Ila, with thanks from the community. In addition to helping meet health needs in the communities, the Project purchased 100 pounds of beans, rich in iron and protein, for distribution in impoverished Cabá and Tsicusalá.

Photo by Ila Abernathy

Sarah uses a hemoglobinometer purchased with funds from Episcopal Community Services in Arizona to check for anemia. “Sharps” safety container and other items were donated by WorldCare. Carondelet St. Marys added prenatal and children’s vitamins, other medicines.

Photo by Ila Abernathy

Francisco (homemade violin) and Angel (guitar) play for us in front of the little clinic, Cabá.

Photo by Ila Abernathy

Pedro helps Juana to cross the river between Pal and Santa Rosa.

Two invitations:
Join a St. Michael’s Lenten work detail March 1st -11th.
“Adopt” one of the communities and cover Project costs in that location.

Unión Victoria is a coffee finca located in a temperate, mountainous area of Chimaltenango southwest of Guatemala City. The setting is visually spectacular, but the finca is old, coffee prices plunged at the time of resettlement, and corn, central to Mayan diet, culture, and religion, doesn’t grow well. People are struggling to survive.

Project Coordinator - Ila Abernathy. St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church 602 N. Wilmot Road, Tucson, AZ 85711, (520) 886-7292,

St. Michael’s Guatemala Project is an ongoing, non sectarian informal partnership with the Maya of the CPR Sierra [Communities of Population in Resistance of the Sierra] that continues a relationship begun in 1993. Focus areas include community health and health education, advocacy, arts and culture, mutual learning, and commitment to indigenous self determination.

Child's drawing, El Tesoro 31 de Mayo, Uspantán, Quiché 


alphawoman1 said...

The church I attend will host a trip to various countries.  I'm having a senior moment, because they call it something special...anyway, it is not uncommon for me to receive a letter asking to help them reach their financil goal so they can go and help either build schools, hospitals, churches etc.  It is very effective. Your talent with a computer and words is very effective too.

ondinemonet said...

Great entry!

I am planning to take a look at some charities other then my main favorite "Toys For Tots." In fact, the "favorites" sidebar on my photo jounral are all charities I am looking into and planning on promoting. This entry, like all your others is a good read!

Always, Carly

ryanagi said...

I'm like you. I admire, I promote, I donate...but I am not a front-lines kind of gal.

green71957 said...

I just returned from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, where my organization performed 97 surgeries on the Mayan children who suffer from cleft/lip and palates, women with OB problems, and men with hernias. We come every January with a team of 90 medical volunteers, and we always go somewhere different in order to reach those most in need. I will keep you posted before next years trip in case you have any patients that need our donated care. We also donated medical supplies to local Guatemalan clinics, bring wheelchairs, and provide infant formula. Let me know if we can be of any help. Keep up your good work there is much need as you know.
Jody Greenlee, RN
Health Care Coordinator
Children of the Americas