Saturday, December 30, 2017

Urban Church, Global City: Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay


a gathering in Colonia del Sacramento

The City of Colonia (del Sacramento), Uruguay is one of those cities that lives larger than its actual  numbers. This is a reflection of both its historic and current reality. Historically, Colonia bounced back and forth between Portugal and Spain until Uruguay finally gained its independence from Brazil.  This historic colonial port city is cosmopolitan by its very nature. Today, less than an hour across the river from Buenos Aires, it can almost feel like a part of the metro area. The city is constantly  filled with tourists taking in  the narrow colonial cobblestone streets,
Narrow streets

the old city
dating from 1680,
Historic archway
fortifications, convents, lighthouse with sweeping views, etc. as   well as the sharp corner of Uruguay.
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Such is the context for ministry here.

Colonia the southwest corner of Uruguayserves as the center of pastoral  activities for  four more communities including  Riachuelo, San Pedro, El General y La Barra all under the leadership of Pastor Ariel Charbonnier. A single newsletter publicizes the activities of the various communities including worship, Christian Education, Bible Study and the Women's League. 

Pastor Ariel has brought together a gathering for conversation including members from the "other" Colonia, Valdense, and their pastor Oscar Geymonat.
Iglesia Valdense de Sacramento and Pastro Ariel
There is some joking about the  that in Colonia Valdense, todo el mundo son valdense... everyone is a Waldensian. 

We focus in on the particulars   of church and city, seeking to understand  the context of ministry. We talk about history, the tree most important events, etc. And especially why be a Waldensian now? And then began to talk about the importance of paying more attention to gifts than needs. 

As is true elsewhere, the Waldensians here seem to have a greater social and cultural impact than thier  numbers would seem to indicate. it would seem to be important moving forward to ask what special call the cosmopolitan reality of Colonia del Sacramento maybe making on the church. 

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