SPSA member Hannah Reasoner is currently in Colombia as a UM Global Mission Fellow. Each month, we will post her Newsletter update.
Looking for the light
On December 7, I was invited to celebrate Noche de las Velitas (night of the little candles) for the first time. This celebration of the Virgin Mary kicks off the Christmas season here in Colombia and, you guessed it, involves lighting a lot of candles. This year, the candle holders were made of recycled bottles: mostly used up alcohol/disinfectant bottles. As you light each candle you pause for a moment to give thanks or say a prayer for the coming year.
This Advent season I also lit candles almost every night with an Advent wreath that a woman from the local Methodist church made. I guess you could say I like lighting candles. It’s a moment of stillness, meditation, and admiration of something so simple yet beautiful: the flickering of a flame in the darkness.
As we start this new year together, I hope that we can all continue to look for the light in the darkness and find moments of peace and stillness in a busy world.
Novenas and welcome to Bogotá
ecember 20 was a big day at Príncipe de Paz Colombian Methodist Church in Bogotá. For weeks the congregation had been asking for donations of toys, children’s clothing, and food in preparation for this day. Throughout the day, groups of children and families from the surrounding community came to the church patio for Novena, a Colombian celebration of songs and prayers starting nine days before Christmas. I was part of the music group (and learned a few new Christmas carols in Spanish). Many of the families in this community are Venezuelan migrants, some of them spending their first Christmas away from home.
After the traditional Novena readings and a few holiday songs, each kid was called by name to go to the gift table and collect a Christmas gift that was picked out specifically for them. Each family was also given food to take home, ensuring they would have something to eat for Christmas.
More than 180 children came during the day- spread out into various shifts to avoid large groups, outdoors, using masks, and with seats spread out.
CEPALC’s team, volunteers, children, community groups, and religious leaders all contribute to this magazine. In this issue you’ll find articles on social movements, CEPALC’s workshops, faith, life in the pandemic, politics, economy, literature and more. Check out the latest issue of Revista Encuentro here.
You can listen to our online radio station at encuentroradio.co. I am part of the English-speaking radio program “Mirrored Voices” which airs every Wednesday at 10am (GMT-5)
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