The Anglican Church in Northern Argentina works within a vast and challenging context.
The Diocese takes in seven federal states in the northwestern region of Argentina: Chaco, Formosa, Salta, Jujuy, Tucuman, Santiago del Estero and Catamarca. Active church membership totals around 3,500.
There are two key areas within the diocese, the work in the Chaco and the urban based work.
Over 110 rural congregation are scattered around the Chaco region and all have their own indigenous leaders. Each congregation is located in one of fifteen zones. A type of Rural Dean, who regularly visits the fellowships, often cycling for hours over dusty paths, supervises a zone.
Back in 2009, The Rt Revd Nick Drayson
was consecrated as the Suffragan Bishop for the indigenous people of
Northern Argentina. The history of the Chaco region can be difficult
reading as numerous government agencies and multinational groups from
oil companies to bean harvesters have bought and sold land which at one
time was the life blood of these communities.
The history within the urban work is relatively new. Presently there are 17 city churches which reach a wide spectrum of social groupings. Apart from fellowships with a high percentage of students and professionals, there are also those whose members are unemployed or underemployed. The variety in membership is also reflected in the background of the leaders that are emerging. The majority of leaders continue in their secular employment and cover a wide range of skills and experiences. They include a medical doctor, carpenter, cobbler, deputy head–teacher, welder, accountant and a newspaper seller.
It’s within this context that Down and Dromore has been looking at ways in which it can come alongside the diocese of Northern Argentina and develop ways of supporting the church in its mission. The old model of ‘us’ being the doers and the ‘others’ being the receivers no longer applies. Back in 2005 as an extension of our link we started and continue to support the indigenous people of Northern Argentina through the sale of Siwok Crafts which can be obtained from SAMS House, 1 Irwin Crescent Lurgan, Co Armagh, tel (028) 3831 0144 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are two strands to the sponsorship programme. Firstly, sponsorship is available for the training of ordinands in the Anglican church in Argentina. Secondly, young leaders are being identified and given the opportunity to participate in the SAMS FUSION programme. Participants have already made considerable contributions in the diocese. Through the FUSION initiative, local Churches from Down and Dromore can be enriched by this experience which enables learning opportunities for everyone involved. If your Parish is interested, please contact the SAMS Office.