In July this year twelve young people from Down and Dromore Diocese will travel to La Caldera in Salta, Argentina for a three week Beyond the Norm trip. For some it will be their first mission experience, for everyone it will be an adventure.
Aims of the trip
- To work in fellowship with Christians from the Diocese of Northern Argentina and experience the Kingdom of God at work in another culture.
- To assist in the modernisation of La Caldera retreat centre – helping the Diocese become more financially independent. Read more in a recent post.
- To deepen the links between the Church of Ireland and the Diocese of Northern Argentina – to share your faith, work hard, and be an ambassador for Christ and the Church in Ireland.
Background to the Project
The retreat centre takes its name from the La Caldera village, where it is located. In early colonial times the area was a stop-over place for mule-caravans that travelled the trail connecting Buenos Aires with Lima, Peru. On the site of the village once operated a lead melting-plant that featured a enormous pot with clear water, hence the name ‘La Caldera’, Spanish for ‘boiler’ or ‘cooking-pot’. The documented use of the name ‘La Caldera’ can be traced back to late sixteenth century title-deeds.
The property that is now the retreat-centre was purchased by the Anglican diocese of Northern Argentina in the 1970s. Since then, the centre has served local Anglican parishes mainly through youth-retreats and children’s camps. These activities have always been co-ordinated by the diocesan department of Clergy and Lay Training and over the years, hundreds of young people have been reached through this ministry. Much of today’s leadership and membership are the fruit of these camps and retreats. Currently the centre can offer accommodation to around 70 people, has hot and cold running water and the majority of sleeping facilities are bunk-beds in dorms.
In June 2007 the diocese saw a change of authority and Archbishop Greg Venables became diocesan Bishop in Northern Argentina. The new Bishop and his staff quickly perceived the need for optimising the use of the La Caldera centre and the project for modernisation was conceived. One of the priorities of the diocese is to become less dependent on donations from abroad and to increase the percentage of ministry-budgets they can finance themselves. Modernising the La Caldera retreat centre is part of this priority.