Christ Church and Bolivia

Bolivians in Brum 2016

For the first time a larger group of Bolivian church leaders came to visit Birmingham, spending nearly 3 weeks here in autumn 2016. Led by Bishop Raphael Samuel, the team visited and preached in many local churches as well as connecting with other people and organisations in the city and beyond. Here's a report on their visit.

Monica from Tarija in regional costume

Team members made a big impression with their regional costumes

Pastor Walter Toro and Monica at Christ Church

Pastor Walter Toro preached at Christ Church, accompanied by lay leader Monica

The Bolivia team at Waseley Hills Country Park

An afternoon out at Waseley Hills Country Park

Pastor Walter Toro, from Tarija in the south of Bolivia, spoke powerfully at a healing service in Christ Church. You can hear what he said here.

Bolivia team 2015

Bishop Raphael and Michelle answering questions

On top of the world: Birmingham team members among the Andes at Lake Titicaca

Bishop Raphael and Michelle with the 2013 Bolivia team

The team in Tarija led a retreat day for church members there

The team at the foot of the statue of Christ in Cochabamba, Bolivia

The team at the foot of the statue of Christ in Cochabamba, Bolivia

In July 2015 an 8-strong team drawn from several churches in Birmingham spent 2 weeks in Bolivia working alongside the Anglican churches and leading special events. Christ Church was well represented by Geoff and Mary Lanham and Matt Churchouse. Other team members were Maurice Sinclair, John Corrie, Andy and Matt Jolley and Amanda Howett.

The main focus of their visit was a training conference for church leaders from across Bolivia, which was held in the central city of Cochabamba. Since the pastors are so widely separated across this vast country these gatherings are especially valuable for fellowship, learning and team building. The Birmingham members led teaching sessions and also learned a lot from their Bolivian brothers and sisters.

For a few days the Birmingham team was divided between La Paz, where work with local churches included healing on the streets and children's ministry, and Tarija, where the Christ Church members helped to lead a retreat day for church members.

There's more information about the team and what they experienced on their team blog.

Building the link in Birmingham

Bishop Raphael and Michelle answering questions

Bishop Raphael and Michelle held a question and answer session in Christ Church

Bishop Raphael and Michelle with the 2013 Bolivia team

Honorary Bolivians reunited: Bishop Raphael and Michelle met up with the Christ Church team that visited the country in 2013

One of Bishop Raphael's objectives in coming here was to invite church leaders and teachers to visit Bolivia later in 2015. Several Birmingham churches, including Christ Church, will be contributing members to this team which will help to meet a specific need of the churches in Bolivia.

In February 2015 Raphael Samuel, the Anglican Bishop of Bolivia, and his wife Michelle arrived in Birmingham to spend 2 weeks linking up with churches here. They visited Christ Church where Raphael preached on the call to vulnerability - a challenge in our culture which expects leaders to be strong.

This was followed by a question and answer session which revealed a lot about Christian service in Bolivia: the joys and difficulties, some of the opportunities opening up for the churches to serve, and the direction in which Bishop Raphael aims to lead them. The session can be heard using the link below.

7.5 MB, 33 minutes
Choreographed flags in worship

Michelle interpreted a worship song "Tú estás aquí" (You are here) in dance using flags

Growing youth work in Bolivia

In January 2014 Matt spent 2 weeks in Bolivia to help support youth work and to further develop our partnership with the churches there. Here's a report on how he got on.

Young people play a leading role in worship in churches in Bolivia

Choreographed flags in worship

Bolivia: The next generation

A group of people on the steps outside a cathedral

Santa Cruz was the last city the team visited

Children and adults around a parachute

We introduced Bolivian children to parachute games

Following Beccy and Dan's pioneering trip to Bolivia (below) a much larger group visited the country and worked alongside local Anglican churches for 3 weeks in the summer of 2013.

The team prayed, preached, played games, mixed with rich and poor, ran a conference for church leaders... and enjoyed amazing scenery and generous hospitality. Most important of all, God was at work!

While they were in Bolivia the team ran a blog which allowed supporters in Birmingham and elsewhere to follow their extraordinary story. Find out more here.

Service in South America

Since their stay at Soul Survivor in summer 2010, Beccy and Dan had been looking for opportunities to serve God in other parts of the world. When Bishop Frank came to tell us about the needs in Bolivia, they were more than interested.

After much preparation, prayer and fundraising, Beccy and Dan visited Bolivia for 6 weeks in June and July 2011. They helped with church projects in Cochabamba, La Paz and Santa Cruz, as well as visiting some of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Find out more about their visit on this page, which includes links to a sequence of photos and an optional audio commentary.

Beccy and Dan painting a wall

Hard at work in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Beccy and Dan with younger people

Helping with a project run by a youth group

First contact

For most of us our interest in Bolivia was fired when the country's then Bishop, Frank Lyons, and his wife Shawnee came to visit Christ Church in October 2010. They told us about the needs of the country and what the church is doing to meet them - reaching out to street children, for instance, in their city of Cochabamba.

We learned that the Anglican church in Bolivia, although relatively small, is committed, active and growing.

You can hear what Shawnee and Frank had to say via our sermons page.

“It's a land that celebrates multiple cultures”

We had another visit in June 2011 from Walter Barrientos, pastor of the Church of Christ the Redeemer in La Paz. He also preached a powerful sermon.

Frank and Shawnee Lyons at Christ Church

October 2010: Bishop Frank and his wife Shawnee at Christ Church