U-C: What I See

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Next Colombia Accompaniment training


I'm told that the next Colombia Accompaniment Training will take place in Washington, D.C. on July 14 to 17.

The idea is simple. Presbyterians register as short term volunteers through the website portal at www.pcusa.org/onedoor. Simultaneously, you should be in touch with Charles Spring, the coordinator of the trainings for the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship for information about the training and for help in discerning whether this project is for you. Charles can be reached at bunch@stanfordalumni.org.

Then, you raise the money from your church, presbytery, synod, friends, family, pets, houseplants, etc., to attend the training. You need to complete the application process with the denomination BEFORE you attend the training, which takes place two to three times a year.

The training is itself considered part of the discernment process. Either you, or the trainers, may determine that this isn't the right time or a good fit for you. If the decision is to go ahead, Charles will help to create the teams and the calendar for their involvement.

So far, we're up to around a dozen accompaniers who have gone to Colombia for at least a month. They go in teams of two (one of whom must be a Spanish speaker). All report life-changing experiences and deeply meaningful new friendships with our sisters and brothers in the Colombian church.

Fundraising to cover the experience is up to each participant. However, the Colombian church provides support that helps keep expenses low, and we've discovered many churches have welcomed the opportunity to be involved in this important witness.

Witherspoon has a good website with reflections from a few folks who have worked at accompaniers. You might want to check it out at


Please continue to keep our Colombian brothers and sisters in your prayers. They are working hard to be faithful in a difficult place.