We received this letter from Karen Anderson on November 17, 2017:
Dear Friends in Christ,
Please download the November 2017 EPES Update to get a glimpse of what we have been up to the past few months. It has been a busy time!
In the Update, you will read about our annual human rights activities with the health teams – a visit to the National Stadium which was the largest center for torture during the dictatorship and today is a memorial site. With the health promoters, we also organized a gathering at EPES to discuss emerging human rights issues related to the “new immigration” in Chile. There are also updates about our various EPES projects and a page of photos from our 35th Anniversary Concert in Minneapolis in September. The update ends with photos from the church service to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation led by the Bishop of the IELCH, Rev. Oscar Sanhueza with the participation of the president of Chile, Dr. Michelle Bachelet.
Thank you for your ongoing support and accompaniment that reminds us that we are not alone in this journey to work for justice and dignity in health.
And speaking of not being alone, as I write this, we are anxiously waiting for the arrival of a group of 20 people from Trinity Lutheran Church, Owatonna, MN (my hometown and my home church) and Christ the King, Mankato, MN. They will be visiting EPES from Saturday the 18th until Saturday the 25th. During their time here, they will meet the community health teams, worship at the Good Samaritan congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (IELCH), have a guided tour of the Park for Peace (an ex-center for torture and extermination under the dictatorship), travel south to visit our center and staff in Concepcion and they will participate in two community health actions. It is going to be a very busy week—they even get to be here for the presidential elections! We pray that their experience in Chile is one rich in hope, faith, friendship and love. We will also be visited by a delegation from the Western Iowa Synod that is a companion Synod to the church in Chile. Accompanying them will be Paulina Dassé from the Global Mission staff of the ELCA. It is going to be a wonderful time.
As we prepare for Advent, however, it feels like the world is in an overwhelming state of fear and despair. I find comfort and challenge in the Advent reflection of Katharine Jefferts Schori, former Bishop of the Episcopal Church:
To live as Jesus did is to embrace the world’s suffering —in as full a way as possible — and yet to endure, knowing that God is still in our midst, and in the heart of the pain. Patience in this season of waiting is not just about putting up with delay, but having deep compassion for all who wait for justice, healing, and peace. It is about solidarity, and suffering- with (which is the literal meaning of compassion). John the Baptizer is announcing the presence of compassion in the flesh — and reminding his hearers that God’s road builder toward that future is coming. Not only will a fellow sufferer stand with you, but he will help unfold that path to a healed world. The pathway isn’t finished yet, but if you’ll turn around, you will see it and become part of it.
In this season of patience, what suffering claims your heart? What do you wait for, in solidarity with another? Will you join in building that road through the wild and fearsome darkness?
God of holy patience, help us to offer a compassionate witness against the fear and despair of our time. Amen.*
Blessings and Peace,
* From a Series of Advent Devotions available at http://download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Advent_Devotions.pdf