Sunday 15th May 2022

In preparation for the celebration of the consecration of the new bishop on Tuesday, I decided to check out the Cathedral Parish in Quito. I set out again by Uber to the north of Quito where the Episcopal Cathedral is located for the 9:30am Eucharist service (in Spanish). The Cathedral is more like a small parish church in England with seating for 200-300 people.

I was greeted at the door, as I was a bit early and I obviously looked lost. After a moment of hesitation, the welcomer, who turned out to be the wife of the vicar of the Cathedral spoke to me in English! So we began a simple conversation with me speaking in Spanish and her speaking in English. It turns out that her son studied for a PhD at the University of Leeds and now lives in Cambridge. She claims not to speak English, but enjoyed practicing with me.

The congregation for this service was small, with about 20 adults, and 4 or 5 children. The music was provided by the Vicar, Antonio, playing a guitar, and another priest (probably retired) and a deacon (who was visiting from Cuenca) assisted with the service. The service was a conventional Eucharist, taken from the Book of Common Prayer in Spanish updated in 1979. The hymns were also taken from a selection approved in the 1980s. I was able to follow the service, although I did not understand everything. The structure was very recognisable and therefore I knew what the prayers were about. Communion was given under both kinds by self-intinction, which was the first time I had received in this way since the beginning of the pandemic.

The sermon was given by the Deacon from Cuenca, whose name is Diego. I was really interested to meet him in person, as I will be in Cuenca next month, and hope to be helping with the English mission that is based in his church.

Although I had only briefly met the Vicar, at the end of the service I was publicly welcomed by Antonio, who gave a comprehensive introduction to the congregation.

Although it is very common for Cathedrals to be large buildings with relatively small Sunday congregations, I did wonder how this Cathedral survives financially with a small congregation of mostly ordinary local women with their children. The Cathedral is in need of some updating, and in particular the sound system has lots of problems and did not work well. However, all this was made up for with the enthusiasm of the Vicar, Antonio.

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