Shortly after the Rev. Marion C. Grant retired from active pastoral ministry in July 2015, she began a labor of love regarding a mission that was foundational to her becoming a pastor: The Nicaragua Covenant between the New England Conference and La Association de Iglesia de Cristo de Nicaragua, or AICN, that began in the mid-1980s. In compiling a history of the Nicaragua Covenant, Rev. Grant has conducted a number of interviews, and is looking for reflections from others who have been involved with this mission (see below). Here’s what she writes about the project:
I decided to write a history of the original Covenant by gathering stories and reflections from people here in New England as well as in Nicaragua. I feel that it is very important to capture the essence of this attempt at mission through the building of relationships and being in “accompaniment, with that respect for others” identity, (which) was completely contrary to how missions had been done since the colonial times,’ as Ninette Morales shared during her interview last October in Managua.
It was such an important journey for many in New England and Nicaragua to do and experience mission differently; and many, many people were and continue to be affected by the impact of these relationships.
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Submissions will be accepted through May 31, 2017. Please use Microsoft Word, or a program compatible with Word, and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that submitted reflections will be printed, in whole or in part, as space permits.
I also hope, that by collecting these stories and recording this history, that those who might want, in the future, to make a similar attempt at alternative mission either in Nicaragua or someplace else will be able to learn from both what went well and what needed to be done in a different way.
I began this project by meeting regularly during the winter and spring of 2016 with the Rev. Eric Swanfeldt and other members of the Uncasville UMC community, as they were the ones who birthed this mission, and, also, because Eric had been very ill for several years and I wanted to capture as many of his stories and memories while he was well enough to share them.
Then, in October 2016, I went to Nicaragua for two and a half weeks to interview people there, and was able to collect over 30 testimonies. I am currently working on transcribing those recordings; and hope to return to Nicaragua later this year to gather more stories.
As you may know, Eric died on Jan. 11, 2017, so won’t get to see the final version of this book; but he so enjoyed hearing me read a number of the interviews from Nicaragua after I returned; it was a real blessing to see his joy upon hearing from old friends.
Now, the goal is to collect stories/testimonies from anyone here in New England who was part of the original Covenant in any way – as part of a delegation to Nicaragua; as the host of guests from Nicaragua; as a Sister Church, past or present; as a participant of the Walks for Nicaragua that took place from 1989-1999; or in any other way.