Friday, December 01, 2006

Día de San Andrés Apóstol

Participants in the bike contests line up and wait for the start of the events, which was delayed due to the failure of the police to show up to close off the street, which, in Salvadoran fashion, the congregation took it upon themselves and closed off the street, forcing buses to turn around and bringing much traffic to a halt, all so kids could have an event of their own.

The "fiesta patronal," patronal saint's feast, of a church, community, or city is always a big deal in El Salvador. The enthusiasm and love which members of San Andrés put into their fiesta patronal this year, compared to the same celebration a year ago, shortly after we arrived, was tangible evidence of the Spirit´s work healing and enlivening this community. Community members, especially members of the youth group, worked all day the Sunday before and each weeknight painting (we painted the entire bookstore/sacristy/classroom annex which was previously bare cinderblock), pruning, weeding, planting, cleaning, and decorating. The women came up with a new plan for hanging the Christmas garlands, in "curtains" from the ceiling, and were persistent until they had accomplished their goal! The youth made numerous trips to the mayor's office and police department to get the necessary permission to close the street for their "tape race", then valiantly closed the street themselves,( with the Reverenda's car!) when the police failed to show up (!) and held a hot flea market in which they made nearly $50 on two pews' worth of donated clothing. The "tape race" was quite something-- 10 boys got numerous chances to put a pencil through a key ring taped to a clothes line, while riding their bikes under the clothes line! Those who were sucessful got a gift provided by the "godmothers" of the event, the girls of the parish. The women cooked typical salvadoran dishes over wood fires all afternoon, and the day closed with a service at which three members of the congregation were received by the bishop into the Anglican Communion. The service, of course, was punctuated by fireworks!

Gathering before the start of the evening's service

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