The work of the team – now The vision of an integral mission in Sumumpaya, of a church fellowship working from within the community for the good of that community, continues. Currently (February 2012) a large number of community provisions are operating at the Centre - but it is important to put this into context and to realise that the approach taken by Gwen, Marcos and their team is this :
'all that the Centre provides IS church' _____________________________________________________________________________
PEPE (PROGRAMA DE EDUCACION PRE-ESCOLAR). - PEPE is an education programme for pre-schoolers and as begun by BMS workers in 1992 in Brazil with just 12 children. It has now spread to six other Latin American countries and five countries in Africa. In Sumumpaya it has really grabbed the imagination and attention of many families in the community, who see it as a valuable, safe and effective setting in which their chuildren can grow in ability, confidence, skills, and spirituality. It is heavily oversubscribed. The reason why PEPE is so important in the overall pattern of this integral church is that it is a key way to reach families and homes; it permits Gwen and the other staff to have contacts with families that no other means would allow; that is why it is of such great value in forming and nurturing relationships.
Gwen leads this group, but also co-ordinates the work of seven other PEPE groups in the city and many other churches are interested in setting up PEPEs in their locality. So it is spreading - simply because it has worth and integrity and value to individuals and to the community as a whole.
A school support group - providing help with homework and other educational issues
Women's group - they do activities together like knitting, cooking etc; but the real value of this group is for them simply to 'be together', something which is not part of their usual life pattern.
Dental services - on one day a week
Medical services - currently offering ad hoc programs such as a vaccination campaign, but hoping to become a weekly clinic before long. Gwen also runs a cancer awareness program - the need for smears, self-checking and mammograms.
English lessons - it is generally accepted (even by people in Sumumpaya) that to have some command of English is an advantage in terms of getting a worthwhile job in today's global world where English is the most commonly used language.
Youth nights - the same the world over, noisy, energetic and fun
Football - training sessions for fitness and enjoyment and skills development. And there is now an official ‘La Corona’ football team, playing in a local Christian football league.
Hope Gymnasium - formally opened at the beginning of 2012, this is a fitness suite that would grace any UK town.Its appeal will be to the young men of the barrio and perhaps further afield; women are encouraged too.
Red Viva - the Centre is now also affiliated to this child-focused organisation, part of the Viva Network (www.viva.org). Their mission statement reads.... 'Viva’s vision is for a comprehensive, collaborative, and transformational Christian response to the needs of children at risk worldwide, allowing children, and those working with them, the opportunity to be all that God intends.' __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
But central to all the work of their ministry is ------ CHURCH (Iglesia ‘La Corona’) - It is from here that everything else originates as a true example of integrated mission at work. A small group worships together every week, sitting in a circle, with the preacher (usually Marcos) encouraging interaction within the 'sermon' slot; in that way all those there are participating in the worship and the ministry and the flow of the service. There are also baptism classes, Marcos has trialled Alpha - and a wedding has taken place.
A reminder : the main ethos of the project is that 'all that the Centre provides IS church'
From time to time various teams and individuals come to Sumumpaya and spend days/weeks living and working with Gwen and Marcos. Why? Because they see the value of their presence there and simply wish to be part of it, even for so short a time. For Gwen and Marcos their help is invaluable - not just on a practical level, but also it in terms of giving them the affirmation which says "what you are doing is so worthwhile and we want to show you that by sharing in your work for a time". One recent group postedon 21.11.12 that 'This ministry is an example of Integral Mission at it’s finest.'