Welcome to the Guatemala Partnership of the New Castle Presbytery
For some years New Castle Presbytery had a partnership with the Mam Presbytery of the IENPG (the national Presbyterian Church of Guatemala). In 2016, a new partnership was initiated with the MAM Christian Women for Development.
The Mam are one of 23 indigenous groups in that country. The Mam people reside in an area known as the Western Highlands. This area is a 4 hour drive from the capital, Guatemala City.
The presbytery’s mission travelers interact with a women’s association known as the Association of Mam Christian Women for Development. Rosario Diaz, a mid-wife, and a nurse, coordinates the Association. The Association has an elected Board of Directors. Support for that entity has become our focus in the last 5 years. We have long supported the Clinica Maya, which provides medical care for women and children. Rosario Diaz is the director of the clinic. (Photo left: Rosario Diaz in front of her medical clinic.)
In the last 2 years, we have begun supporting a micro-lending program thru the Association of Mam Christian Women for Development. We have provided grants of $3,000 – $5,000 that go to small groups of women in area villages. These loans enable the women to start small businesses, such as gardens, soap, pigs, sewing. (Photo left: One of our microloan groups is working on raising bulls.) The businesses provide additional family income for food and education for their children. These are loans which must be repaid in order to get extended funding. Five prayer partnership programs have begun between the women in these microlending groups and the Women’s groups throughout the New Castle Presbytery. We have also supported the installation of in-home water filters, with the help of the Rotary Club of Calgary, Canada. The Canadians have perfected the technology for these simple filters. (Photo right: A group surrounding an in-home water filter.)
Finally, the presbytery’s newest worshipping community, the Riverfront Church, is planning a future trip to work in the Highlands with the Chico Mendes Foundation on reforestation efforts.
The New Castle Presbytery Guatemala Group meets regularly, often by phone conference calls and typically sponsors one trip per year to the area. We welcome new people. Interested parties should contact:
Cathy Higgins, Westminster Presbyterian, 484-770-8031 or
Sue Miller, Presbyterian Church of Dover, 302-670-0110.
We commit to a formal partnership and communication in order to:
Pray for each other
Compare information about programs, experiences and ideas
Compare strategic plans including budgets
Conduct intercultural visits that include men, women and youth
Share perspectives on reformed theology
Develop self-sustaining projects together
Teach each other our mother tongues
Provide mutual support in helping each other understand our faith
Establish clear lines of exchange of resources
CEDEPCA (Ecumenical Training Center): www.cedepca.org