Guatemala & Pennsylvania
Companions in Ministry since 1996
The Episcopal Diocese of Guatemala covers the entire country. It consists of 8000 members in about 38 congregations, with approximately thirty clergy and forty lay readers. The Bishop is the Rt. Rev. Armando Guerra-Soria. The Diocese of Guatemala and the Diocese of Pennsylvania voted in autumn, 1995, to begin in 1996 a three-year Companion Relationship, which was renewed in 1998 for 1999-2001.
Guatemala is the northernmost country of Central America, close in size to that of Ohio (42,042 square miles) with a total population of about ten million. About 45% of the population are of Mayan Indian descent and follow traditional Indian ways including speaking Indian languages. The other 55% follow Spanish-American ways and speak Spanish.
About the Ministry
Some hopes with which we began:
- To strengthen ties within the Anglican Communion through shared experiences across cultural and geographical boundaries within the Body of Christ.
- To build relationships in which each partner both gives and receives through parish-to-parish relationships, exchange visits, youth involvement, and shared prayer lists.
Some of our accomplishments to date:
- Prayer calendar in use by parishes in the dioceses of Pennsylvania and Guatemala.
- Initiating visits by bishops of each diocese to diocesan convention of the other.
- Linkage of every congregation in Guatemala with fourteen parishes in Pennsylvania.
- Exchange visits between several of these companion congregations by clergy and/or laity.
- “Encuentro” extended visit by 11 Pennsylvania clergy and laity to Guatemala in 1998.
- “Encuentro” extended visit by 17 Guatemalan clergy and laity to Pennsylvania in 1999.
- Launching of newsletter Companeros.
- Aid provided for some church schools and for Hurricanes Mitch and Stan relief.
Through the love of God we are all made one family in Christ. The mission of the companion diocese relationship is to strengthen those bonds of unity.
As companion dioceses, we covenant to walk together on our common journey, learning from each other as we share our spiritual, human, and material resources at all levels.
As companions on the journey, we will encourage and pray for one another and inspire each other in the work we are given to do as Christ’s agents in the world about us.