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,


News and Events from Romero Interfaith in Philly

These were sent to us from a couple of folks who are active with the Romero Interfaith group in Philly. FYI -- Tabernacle is organizing a delegation to Las Anonas in August.

FRIDAY April 20th-- Romero movie at Tabernacle United Church in Philly at 7:30 if anyone at CBC might be interested.

FRIDAY May 18th -- Movie night fundraiser at Tab on Friday, May 18th, for the RIC delegation. They will be showing Voces Inocentes - the autobiographical movie dealing with child soldiers in El Salvador that came out about two years ago. We will have fliers shortly with more information.

For information about Voces Inocentes, go to

Push and Pull: Free Trade and the Immigration Debate

Monday, April 3oth, 5:30pm at AFSC
1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia

The dramatic debate over immigration that played out in America's streets and the halls of Congress last year has returned to the national stage with increasing raids against immigrants and the introduction of the STRIVE Act legislation. David Bacon and Juan Manuel Sandoval,
two leading scholars and activists, one from each side of the border, will help us grapple with the complex and controversial issues surrounding free trade and immigration using photos and stories from their years of organizing.

Sponsored by:
SEIU District 1199P, American Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, AFSCME District Council 47, Philadelphia Coalition of Labor Union Women

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Greetings from our friends at Shekina

Dear Friends,

Please take a look at some of the latest events from our church. (Here's a link to the complete photo album.) Some are part of the Intercultural Bible Study that we had with a church in Holland. We also received a group from Costa Rica. And the last but not the least -- our celebration of Resurrection this Sunday, April 8.

God Bless you all.

Susy Fuentes
Shekina Baptist Church
Santa Ana, El Salvador

Thursday, April 5, 2007

More about micro-lending

Nicholas Kristof wrote about micro-enterprise in his March 27th New York Times op-ed column. He says small loans to entrepreneurs in poor countries are now widely recognized as an important tool against poverty. Kristoff tells about his personal experience making several small loans through the website that allows people to make direct loans to entrepreneurs in poor countries.

Read the full text of Kristof's March 27th column You, Too, Can Be a Banker to the Poor in which he tells about visiting a baker in Kabul to whom he had made a loan of $25. Watch a brief video clip about Kristof's encounter with the Afghan baker at D.I.Y. Foreign Aid.

Thanks to Ron for sharing this information.