To learn more about Salvadoran Pastors Ruth and Alex Orantes, and for information about contributing to support their ministries in El Salvador, please visit

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Spirit of Accompaniment -- Multiple greetings from El Salvador friends

I regularly receive emails from several of CBC’s friends in El Salvador. Everyone we hear from sends warm greetings to the entire CBC congregation, and the messages always say that they are very eager to welcome the Youth Delegation in June!

As I have recently read a stream of Easter greetings from Susy Fuentes, Clara Luz Magana, Ruth Orantes, Eduardo Bracamonte, and Julia Carranza at Shekina, as well as messages from Deysi Cheyne at IMU, I have again been so aware of the deepening relationships among us and so grateful for their expressions of genuine companionship toward all of us at CBC. I want to share some specific messages, reflections, and prayers with you so that you, too, can be surrounded by their love. This is what we mean when we talk about "accompaniment." And it is very real.

Susy responded with great joy to the news I shared with our Shekina friends about Ezra's baptism on Maundy Thursday. She remembers Ezra and Ken from her time at CBC in March 2006 and passed on the news to the others at Shekina who were part of that same delegation:

I am so happy for Ezra, his father and the whole CBC community. You are definitely a very special community. I am sure it was a very special ceremony. I told Julia about it and we were crying of happiness and gratitude to our loving Father. Please send our regards and good wishes to Ezra and his father.

Susy also sent encouragement to CBC for our own discernment process for new directions, responding to what I had told her about our progress at CBC towards the new Spirituality and Justice Center and the Churches Supporting Churches / New Orleans Task Force. She shared these thoughts about Shekina's prayerful process of reorganizing some of their committees and setting priorities earlier this year:

I think all churches needs to renovate and adapt to the changing world... I think it is just a matter of praying and asking God, what way should you go, based on your principles and beliefs. The important thing is that you keep working with the young kids as they need a lot of support to keep going on the right track. It is so sad when we hear of churches where there are no children, no youth, like in Europe. I am sure you will be able to come out with a beautiful plan to keep working hand in hand with the people in your community.

In an email from Clara Luz, she was also remembering the Shekina delegation's visit at CBC in March 2006: "We will always be grateful to God and to all of you." She sent word of some very sad news for Ruth Orantes whose cousin died unexpectedly in an accidental drowning in a lake. "This was very hard for them as a family and for us as a church." And Clara Luz expressed thanks for all the ways that we share Shekina's joys and also their sorrows, like the recent robbery of their sound equipment. "But there are beautiful things, too, like the 15th anniversary of our church in May, which remind us to be grateful to God and to CBC for all the ways you help us."

And finally, from Deysi, a message of hope from El Salvador in the wake of the tragedy in Virginia:

Today we are deeply affected by the news from Virginia. I have a friend there -- a professor of political science -- but he wrote me that he is fine. We do not lose hope that this world will be better than the one that we have today.

In that same spirit of hope,