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

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ruth Orantes to attend Global Baptist Peace Conference in Rome

We celebrate the good news that Ruth Orantes will be attending the Global Baptist Peace Conference in Rome in February 2009. The invitation for CBC to sponsor Ruth as a delegate for the conference came to us following Ruth's participation in the Alliance of Baptists convocation in New Orleans in 2008.

This global event will inaugurate the 400th anniversary year of the Baptist heritage being recognized in various locations around the world. Like previous conferences in Sweden (1988), Nicaragua (1992), and Australia (2000), this gathering will bring together Baptists who are active in nonviolent struggles for justice and for strengthening the witness of Baptist peacemaking in various global contexts.

The conference will consist of six days including intensive training in conflict transformation, nonviolent prophetic action, and other relevant topics, inspiring speakers, workshops, and worship.

The Global Baptist Peace Conference is sponsored by numerous Baptist organizations from around the world, including the Alliance of Baptists, American Baptist Churches, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Unione Cristiana Evangelica Battista d'Italia, Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia, and the Baptist Union of Great Britain.

Funding for Ruth's travel and registration for the event has been made possible through the generosity of a number of congregations and groups: Central Baptist Church / Wayne, PA; First Baptist Church / Madison, Indiana; Protestant Church of Holland (a sister congregation to Shekina); Alliance of Baptists "Bridges of Hope" 2008 grant; Global Wellness Treaty Fund.

To learn more about the conference, visit We look forward to an official report from Ruth upon her return!

Partnership Conversations, Plans for 2009, Prayer Requests, and Politics in El Salvador

Please plan to stay after worship this coming Sunday, Jan 4th, for important conversations about CBC's El Salvador and New Orleans partnerships. The gathering will be facilitated by Marcus and Laurie. The goal will be to put together a document on these two partnerships that can become part of the church profile documents for the pastoral search process. Bring your own sandwich. Drinks, chips, and fruit will be provided.

For those of you who are looking ahead to the coming year and filling in your new calendars, there is a new 2009 Planning Calendar outlining key dates and events relevant to our El Salvador relationships posted at the top of the blog.

A couple of personal prayer requests from Ruth and Alex -- One of their good friends (seminary classmate and a pastor colleague) died in mid-December. They have had a long and special relationship with this friend and his family, and they feel a deep loss. Also, Alex's brother who lives in Los Angeles shared the news that his wife has been diagnosed with cancer. Ruth is very grateful that she will be able to spend a few days in Los Angeles visiting them on her way back from the Global Baptist Peace Conference in Rome.

As El Salvador prepares for their elections in January and in March, there is both great hope and great anxiety. There are a number of good on-line resources to keep informed. SHARE is doing a great job providing analysis of issues and updates about the political situation. Here's a quick list of links to some of the recent headlines from the SHARE website at

Hope to see a good group on Sunday!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Puertas Abiertas" events at Shekina during November

Our friends at Shekina have just completed the November "Puertas Abiertas" community outreach events. Pastor Ruth Orantes reports that it was a big success again this year. Here is a link to see additional photos of the activities Shekina organized for children and adults in the neighborhood.

Meeting with CBC Pastors

CBC's pastors have requested a meeting with our El Salvador Partners to discuss future directions for our relationships in El Salvador. Please join us at 9:15am on Tuesday, Dec 2nd, at CBC. All are welcome.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"ON THE LINE" Video and Discussion led by Michael Heniese

Sunday, November 16th, 7pm to 9pm at CBC
Sponsored by CBC's El Salvador Partners

Unpatriotic…. Anti-American… Terrorist… These words have been front and center in the past months of our US presidential campaigns. What is the role of dissent and protest in a healthy democracy?

Just two weeks after the US presidential elections, the annual vigil and non-violent protests to close the School of the Americas / WHINSEC will take place in Georgia at the gates of Fort Benning on November 21 -23. The protest will be an opportunity for the progressive movement to push once again for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC and to set an agenda against oppressive U.S. foreign policy, whatever the result of the elections will be.

Join us on Sunday, November 16th, from 7pm to 9pm for a 55 minute video about the people behind the movement to close the School of the Americas, one of the largest nonviolent movements in America today, including reflections by Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, and others about their activism, the dark side of U.S. foreign policy, and the challenges of protesting since 9/11.

After the video, Michael Heniese will
lead a discussion about dissent, activism, patriotism, terrorism, and U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. We will also have information available about advocacy opportunities to finally close the School of the Americas.

Here's a preview of the ON THE LINE video...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Presidential elections in El Salvador

CRIPDES leaders Bernardo Belloso and Jose Heriberto Orellano Franco were recent guest speakers at a forum on El Salvador's upcoming presidential elections hosted by the Philadelphia Romero Interfaith Center.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Revised plans for October meeting -- dinner and elections forum in Philadelphia

We have agreed to a revised plan for regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Oct 22nd, so that we can attend the US / El Salvador elections forum at Tabernacle United Methodist. (see information in previous post) We think the forum will be especially interesting for those of us who are considering the March 2009 election observers delegation.

5:30pm early dinner and meeting for updates about Salvador Partners at a restaurant in University City near Tabernacle

7 - 9 pm US / El Salvador Elections Forum with Salvadoran guests at Tabernacle

We can certainly work on carpools as needed, and we will figure out specific plans for dinner in a restaurant.

Please send an email to Caroline if you plan to join us in Philadelphia for this event.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

US and El Salvador Elections Forum

US & El Salvador Elections Forum
What do the results in each country mean to the other?
Projections, connections, and challenges

October 22, 2008

Tabernacle United Church

3700 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia

7:00 – 9:00 P.M.

CRIPDES leaders Bernardo Belloso and Jose Heriberto Orellana Franco speak about issues in the Salvadoran elections and the polls which show that the FMLN presidential candidate Mauricio Funes leads against the ARENA candidate, Rodrigo Ávila. Also Carol Towarnicky, former chief editorial writer for The Daily News, discusses the implications of the upcoming U.S. presidential election results on the 2009 Salvadoran elections.

Additional guests include:

Emily Carpenter, National Director of the USESSC; and

Jan Morrill, USESSC El Salvador Co-Coordinator, who will be translating.

The Reverend Margaret Sawyer, Associate Pastor of Zwingli United Church of Christ as Moderator.

Background: In 2004 both countries experienced irregularities in their elections. In El Salvador, local US government officials preferred the incumbent and took an active role against the FMLN candidate. Many feel this influenced the election's results.

CRIPDES is the largest rural grassroots movement in El Salvador working in over 300 rural Salvadoran communities.

Presented by Philadelphia's Romero Interfaith Center. To learn more about USESSC and the issues, check out

Saturday, September 13, 2008

US presidential candidates on immigration issues and additional resources

With an estimated 2 to 3 million Salvadorans currently in the US (both documented and undocumented combined), US policy on immigration is an issue of great interest and concern to those of us with connections to communities in El Salvador and Salvadorans living in the US.

Take a look at the Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin official campaign web pages to read about the US presidential candidates' stands on immigration issues:

Obama / Biden official campaign statement on immigration issues

McCain / Palin official campaign statement on immigration issues

Also see "Tim's El Salvador Blog" ( which frequently provides excellent summaries of news reports, government statistics, and first person stories about remittances, deportations, border crossings, and more. Check out Tim's collected blog entries labeled "migration."

Immigration issues in US presidential campaign ad

The CNN Election Center 2008 website reports that McCain is releasing an ad today blasting Obama on immigration although McCain voted the same. Read complete article from Sept. 12 or see excerpt in italics below.

Meanwhile, McCain's campaign said a new Spanish language ad set to air in battleground states blames Obama and Senate Democrats for the failure of attempts to overhaul the nation's immigration laws.

"Obama and his congressional allies say they are on the side of immigrants. But are they?" asks the announcer in the 30-second spot, "Which Side Are They On?"

"The press reports that their efforts were 'poison pills' that made immigration reform fail," he continues. "The result: No guest worker program. No path to citizenship. No secure borders. No reform. Is that being on our side? Obama and his congressional allies ready to block immigration reform, but not ready to lead." Watch the ad

But Obama and McCain cast identical votes in the major congressional showdowns on the issue last year.

Both men cast votes in favor of an unsuccessful early June effort to end a filibuster. Later that month, they voted again to end debate on the issue -- but again failed to shut down the filibuster effort, led for the most part by Republican senators.

The ad is set to air in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, all crucial states in November with significant Hispanic voting populations.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

SHARE Foundation launches new blog about El Salvador

The SHARE Foundation has launched a brand new blog "to support those interested in promoting social justice in El Salvador to stay in touch with the Salvadoran community."

The first news report from the field is entitled "Meat, Cheese, and Bicycle Repair" and tells the story of three women in Chalatenango who have used a micro-loan to expand a women's development project there. Interesting reading!

Check out the SHARE blog English version at And for the Spanish version, visit

Saturday, August 23, 2008

FMLN Political Convention Held in El Salvador

The leftist FMLN political party in El Salvador held its national convention in mid-August. FMLN Presidential candidate Mauricio Funes outlined his plans for change in the country, promising to focus on problems of unemployment and underemployment and calling for an end to the "economy of privilege." The FMLN platform was unveiled, including initiatives to expand the social insurance system, improve healthcare institutions, and ensure a universal basic pension for the elderly.

To read more about the FMLN and presidential candidate Mauricio Funes

To read more about the ARENA party and presidential candidate Rodrigo Avila

Polls show FMLN over ARENA for El Salvador President

In recent polls, FMLN candidate Mauricio Funes continues to hold on to a lead over the ARENA candidate Rodrigo Avila. (see statistics below)

Before running as the FMLN candidate, Mauricio Funes was a television journalist. He gained fame for his morning interview program that was generally critical of the Salvadoran government. Funes is the first candidate from the FMLN not to be an ex-guerrilla commander.

His opponent in the March 2009 election for the presidency is the ARENA party's candidate, Rodrigo Avila. During the civil war in El Salvador, Avila was an active member of one of the infamous “Death Squads” or right-wing military groups organized by the military and ARENA. He is also former deputy director of the National Police.

Jul. 2008

Jun. 2008

Apr. 2008

Mauricio Funes (FMLN)




Rodrigo Ávila (ARENA)




Other / Undecided




Data Source: LPG Datos / La Prensa Gráfica
Methodology: Interviews to 1,500 Salvadoran adults, conducted from Jul. 19 to Jul. 22, 2008. Margin of error is 2.6 per cent.

A new experience with accompaniment

On this third anniversary of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, we want to share an article about the spirit of accompaniment and Central Baptist Church's emerging experience as a member of the national "Churches Supporting Churches" network and as a partner congregation with the St. John Baptist Church in New Orleans.

In a thoughtful reflection entitled "Walking Together in New Orleans," CBC member Jan Corbett writes about the impact and influence of the congregation's experiences in El Salvador over a span of more than two decades. The article includes stories about Central Baptist hosting a Salvadoran refugee as a part of the Sanctuary Movement, sending delegations to visit Salvadoran war refugees in camps in Honduras, and walking with refugees returning to their villages after the war, all of which have informed the congregation's current understanding of accompaniment.

As she says, "Being present, sharing stories, walking together, being part of someone else’s solution, transformation, mutuality—these are all a part of the term “accompaniment” as we have come to understand it. ... The term “accompaniment” has taken on a new significance for us as we use it in a new context and we are still discovering the full implications of this. But, for us, it seems to be the best way to respond to [the crisis in New Orleans and] our mission in Churches Supporting Churches."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

March 2009 Election Observer Delegation to El Salvador

Are you interested in joining a delegation to El Salvador? The El Salvador Partners Mission Group is considering a delegation to El Salvador at the time of their presidential elections in 2009. We want to know who might be interested in going.

The dates would be March 10 - 17 for the presidential elections. This might be an observers group going with SHARE or an unofficial "observers" delegation that might be in Atiquizaya with Shalom during the elections.

We have 5 people potentially interested in taking part in the March delegation. Please contact Andy Smith if you are interested.

(Note -- There is also an opportunity
to join a SHARE official observers delegation for the mayoral/legislative elections Jan 12 -19.)

SHARE Delegation Mission: Delegates will join other international elections observers to ensure free and fair participation and reporting of the election results, and will meet with members of SHARE partner communities who are advocating for social and economic justice through women's empowerment, leadership development and citizen participation.

More information about El Salvador's 2009 elections and the SHARE election observer delegations is available on the SHARE website.

September series on CBC's Central America Heritage

Join us for a 4 week Learning Community series at 9:30am on Sundays during the month of September when we will be reflecting on Central Baptist Church's relationships in Central America over more than two decades.

Since the mid 1980s, members of CBC have visited Central America--mainly Nicaragua and El Salvador-- well over 100 times.

Twenty years ago, we were responding to calls from Central Americans to accompany them as they struggled with low intensity conflicts inflicted on them by military forces supported by the United States government.
* We stood with Nicaraguans against the Contras who attacked health and literacy workers and civilian communities in an attempt to undo the advances made as a part of the Sandinista revolutionary triumph.
* We became a Sanctuary congregation, joining with 17 faith communities in the Philadelphia area who sheltered Salvadoran and Guatemalan refuges fleeing from civil wars in their own countries.
* We accompanied Salvadoran refugee communities as they returned from refugees camps spread around Central America to reclaim their lands and communities at the close of the Salvadoran civil war.
* Inspired by the faithfulness of church people to the call for justice, we connected with Baptist churches in El Salvador who are attempting to live out the witness of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the many men and women of faith who died because of their commitment to justice in the face of brutal state sponsored terror.

The idea of these sessions is to hear the personal stories of some of the CBC folk who have been a part of this long connection. We want to hear their stories and reflect together on how these experiences feed into our identity at CBC--to hear where we have been, and to ask ourselves what does this rich history have to say about who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

Ron Morgan will moderate the sessions, which will focus on two or three different personal stories each week.

Monday, August 11, 2008

News from Ruth about Shekina


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Plans for August potluck dinner meeting

Conversations continue at our next meeting on Monday, August 11th, at 6pm for another potluck dinner at Caroline's house. Hope you'll join us!

We'll be following up on our discussions about potential delegations to El Salvador in 2009, plans for various education and awareness events at CBC during the new church year, and more.

Monday, June 30, 2008

July potluck dinner and planning meeting

El Salvador Partners and Friends,

Please join us for a potluck dinner and planning meeting with the pastors!

Where and When -- At Caroline's house on Tuesday, July 8th, at 6pm.

At the last official meeting of the year on Sunday June 8th, a small group of us listed out possible projects/plans for 2008/2009. Since then, a couple of additional ideas have been added. See the list below. You may have other ideas that we need to hear about, too.

There are a lot of directions we could take with our El Salvador relationships this coming year, and all of that needs to be prioritized and discussed in relation to other things going on in other mission groups, CSC, and the wider congregation! So come ready to hear about the possibilities and bring your thoughts about where our energy should be directed.

Brainstorming list of ideas from the June meeting:
  • Nora is interested in getting together a CBC youth delegation to El Salvador next year / summer
  • Tessa is working on a dream to do a high school exchange at the Baptist school in Santa Ana next summer (she has the go ahead from the Kimberton Waldorf School to pursue this)
  • Possiblity for CBC adults and young adults to participate in official election observer delegations in Jan and Mar 2009
  • Ken Sehested's invitation for Ruth to attend the global peace conference in Rome in Feb 2009 and possibility of CBC funding that trip
  • SHARE's new "Seeds of Hope" agricultural micro-lending fund, maybe "Empty Bowls" fundraising event
  • SOA Watch events in Nov 2008, more education and advocacy re: SOA this fall using some of the resources brought back last year from that trip
  • New Sanctuary Movement, film THE VISITOR proposed by Landi, Catholic Worker connections, etc.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Shekina Celebrates 16th Anniversary on May 4th

from Ruth Orantes, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Shekina:

Queridos hermanos y hermanas... solo para compratirles que el próximo domingo 4 de Mayo celebraremos nuestro 16 aniversario de fundación como Iglesia.

Queremos que sepan que aunque lejos físicamente... siempre les sentimos cerca de nosotros. Sabemos que contaremos con sus oraciones y su presencia espiritual en nuestra celebración.

Les amamos, les recordamos siempre y siempre estan en nuestras oraciones.

Cuidense y que dios les bendiga

Por la Iglesia

Ruth Eunice de Orantes

Monday, April 14, 2008

Annual Report for April 07 to March 08

This has been another busy year for the El Salvador Partners Mission Group as we continued to deepen our understanding of economic, political, and social justice issues in El Salvador, and as we continued to nurture our CBC relationships with Shalom Baptist Church in Atiquizaya and Shekina Baptist Church in Santa Ana, our two partner congregations pastored by Alex and Ruth Orantes. The SHARE Foundation has once again supported our El Salvador relationships by providing advocacy resources and issues analysis, and most especially by facilitating our youth delegation and assisting with other "on the ground" networking with people and organizations in El Salvador. We celebrate the news that the Alliance of Baptists increased their mission support for Ruth and Alex Orantes funded through the 2008 "Bridges of Hope" annual mission offering. And financial support from CBC for our El Salvador relationships also continues to be strong, with 2007 Outreach budget providing funds for Shekina's "Open Doors" community outreach program and for Shalom's project for constructing a pastoral center in Atiquizaya. We were honored to receive a Philadelphia Baptist Association Award at the annual PBA Mission Banquet in September '07.

Youth Participation: Looking back on the past year, we are especially pleased with the participation and leadership of youth from both sides of the border who are involved in shaping the visions for our partnerships and who continue to deepen their personal relationships. We regularly have youth participants in our monthly mission group meetings who bring news from their Salvadoran counterparts. Many CBC youth who are high school seniors this year wrote about their experiences in El Salvador in their college application essays. Upon returning from January meetings with youth leaders at Shalom and Shekina in El Salvador, Nora P. inspired the CBC youth group to organize a work-a-thon fundraising event to support the Salvadoran youth group's trip to a sister congregation in Costa Rica. We are excited that Tessa B. is working on a proposal to be a high school exchange student at the Baptist school in Santa Ana. These are all sure signs that CBC's commitment to the people of El Salvador, begun more than 20 years ago, will continue into the future.

Technology: We are making good use of the wonders of computer technology to support our El Salvador connections. Our CBC youth stay in contact on a daily basis with Salvadoran friends through "Hi5," a social networking site similar to Facebook. We have been using Skype for free internet-based phone calls with Ruth and Alex. There are plans to schedule a video conference via Skype with the Shalom pastoral council in Atiquizaya. And our mission group blog provides a central location for telling stories, reporting news, and sharing photos and videos about our El Salvador relationships. For all the latest updates, visit the blog frequently at

Highlights of Activities at CBC: We cooperated with the CBC Peacemakers around awareness regarding the School of the Americas in Georgia and non-violent protests at Ft. Benning and showed a documentary video about the SOA military training program. We worked with the CSC/St John Baptist task force for New Orleans in discussions of the nature of partnership relationships. We provided several educational events for youth and adults at CBC, including a speaker about microcredit and microlending models of economic development in Central America and an opportunity to assemble and decorate wooden crosses to send to the SOA protests in Georgia.

Travels to El Salvador, Georgia, and New Orleans: In addition to the June '07 Youth Delegation to El Salvador, there have been several significant opportunities for travel this year which are all highlighted in more detail below.

  • June '07 -- Youth Delegation to El Salvador: Following months of preparation, a group of seven youth and five adults from CBC spent eight days in El Salvador in June '07. The experience was supported by very generous financial contributions from the CBC congregation responding to the delegation's fundraising activities and the Communion Offering. Youth participants in the delegation were Nora P, Kelsey P, Tessa B, Lucy P, Adam B, Matt S, and Zach T. For Nora, Lucy, and Adam, this was their second CBC youth delegation to El Salvador, and they renewed friendships from their previous experience in 2004. Adults were Jocelyn Emerson, Ron Morgan, Kathleen Bailey, Caroline Cargo, and Bernie Peterson. Alex Orantes and six Salvadoran young people from Shekina Baptist Church and Shalom Baptist Church also traveled with the CBC delegation throughout the week. For the beginning of the trip, the delegation members were hosted by families from Shekina Baptist Church in Santa Ana. Other meetings and events during the week were coordinated by the SHARE Foundation. The itinerary included visits to women's cooperatives, a base Christian community and urban youth program in Mexicanos, various sites in San Salvador, and the community of Nueva Esperanza.

  • November '07 -- School of the Americas Protests in Georgia: In November '07, Kathy Stayton, Gwenyth Lewis, and Caroline Cargo traveled to Ft. Benning in Georgia for the annual School of the Americas protests. The theme of the weekend was "A Convergence of Hope and Resistance" and it provided an excellent opportunity to network with human rights organizations and other groups focused on Central American justice work in a busy schedule of workshops, plenary sessions, and the culminating procession at the gates of Ft. Benning. In preparation for the events, the Salvador Partners showed a documentary video at CBC about the School of the Americas and provided materials for youth and adults to make wooden crosses to carry in the SOA protest procession marked with names sent by Ruth and Alex Orantes of Salvadoran friends and family members who died in the war.

  • January '08 -- Meetings with Shalom and Shekina Pastoral Councils and Youth Leaders in El Salvador: Marcus Pomeroy, Ron Morgan, and Nora P spent several days in Santa Ana in January '08 to meet with members of Shalom and Shekina to discuss dreams and priorities for our partnerships with the two congregations. Nora's presence was especially important for focusing on youth concerns. An on-going goal in our partnerships is to develop better communications directly with the pastoral council leaders as we work together in the future.

  • March '08 -- Meetings in New Orleans with St. John Baptist / CSC and the Alliance of Baptists Convocation: The Salvador Partners coordinated plans to host Ruth Orantes for a trip to New Orleans for a solidarity visit with Rev. Boutte and St. John Baptist and a networking visit with the Alliance of Baptists. We solicited the support of both the Alliance and the Baptist Peace Fellowship in sending letters to the US Embassy in San Salvador to advocate for the approval of Ruth's travel visa. Ruth welcomed the opportunity to be part of the CBC delegation participating in work projects in the Lower Ninth Ward and other Churches Supporting Churches activities. She brought encouragement and a message of hope to the St. John congregation. At the Alliance of Baptists Convocation, Ruth provided leadership at the main plenary session and presented a workshop on Baptist work in El Salvador. On behalf of Salvadoran Baptist leaders, Ruth invited the Alliance to participate in a gathering of Baptists in El Salvador in 2011. We will continue to build on connections made at the Alliance meetings for the future.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shekina Youth Group Trip to Costa Rica

Dear friends
As most of you know, God made last week the dream of SHEKINA become true: to travel to Costa Rica with ALL our jovenes. We were invited from our sister church Iglesia Bautista Santa Tomas. It was wonderful. By clicking on the photowebsite you can take part (a little bit!). A short video is included in the first service picture series.

Shekina Youth Photo Album from Costa Rica


Eglantina y Bernardo
Iglesia Bautista Shekina
Santa Ana, El Salvador

Monday, March 10, 2008

Rutilio Grande anniversary March 12th

This week marks the 31st anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr. Rutilio Grande on March 12, 1977. The assassination of this Jesuit priest who was speaking out against the injustices of an oppressive government was a turning point for El Salvador and a catalytic event in the live of Archbishop Oscar Romero. Read a brief biography and reflection on the legacy of Rutilio Grande on the SHARE Foundation website, including this excerpt from William J. O’Malley, SJ, The Voice of Blood: Five Christian Martyrs of Our Time (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1980):

Increasingly, Grande began to exemplify a new church in El Salvador , committed to awakening in the poor a sense of their dignity and rights as children of God. This was s time when the social contradictions in El Salvador were building to a violent crisis. In this atmosphere, Grande acquired a reputation as a “radical” priest, an enemy of the system. With the bishops facing pressure to “do something” about this troublesome influence, Grande resigned from his position in the seminary and took up an assignment as pastor of Aguilares, a small town near his birthplace. There he established a vigorous pastoral ministry, training lay catechists to insert the gospel message throughout the community. In base communities, peasants studied the word of God and in that light raised critical questions about the sources of their oppression. Grande’s sermons on social justice were infamous among the town’s elite, and once again the pressure mounted on him to have him silenced.

In March 2002, a group from CBC took part in a SHARE delegation to El Salvador for the 25th anniversary commemorations of Fr. Rutilio Grande.

In addition to participating in the march along the road where Rutilio Grande was assassinated and celebration events in the town of Aguilares, we visited with our friends in Santa Ana and Atiquizaya and traveled to the Lower Lempa to learn about a women's shrimp cooperative and other successful rural cooperatives.

Thank you to Andy Smith for sharing these images from the 2002 delegation and the march from El Paisnal to Aguilares. To see more of Andy's images from the 2002 delegation, visit these links:

CBC in El Salvador 2002

Images of El Salvador

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Agenda for meeting on March 9th

Plan to stay for our regular Salvador Partners meeting tomorrow after worship. We have several items to discuss:

* Details for Ruth Orantes' visit in New Orleans, plans for her participation in the Alliance Convocation, decisions about funds for the trip

* Report on Shalom's plans for organizing events for the Romero Anniversary in Atiquizaya

* Potential video conference meeting with the Shalom pastoral council

* Proposal from Alex re: trip to Sweden and the Congo -- Yes, you did read that correctly!

* Updates and Celebrations -- Suchitoto 13, Shekina Youth Bike-a-Thon

* Info about the "New Sanctuary Movement"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Agenda for Salvador Partners Meeting on February 10th

Our regular monthly meeting of the El Salvador Partners Mission Group will be this Sunday, February 10, following worship. Plan to join us for a full meeting! We'll provide a few healthy lunchtime snacks, and you can bring a sandwich if you'll be extra hungry. There are a number of important topics for discussion....

* Ideas and plans for Ruth and/or Alex Orantes to come to New Orleans after Easter to be part of the Alliance of Baptists convocation and to meet Rev. Boutte and folks at St. John Baptist. Be thinking about whether you might want to make the trip to New Orleans, too!

* Proposal for some changes in our financial support for Shekina and Shalom based on the January conversations with their pastoral teams.

* Options for some ways to remember the Romero Anniversary (March 24th) at CBC, including a resource packet from SHARE that highlights Romero's legacy and contemporary issues of environmental stewardship in El Salvador and the world.

Important reminders:

1) Don't forget to take part in the fundraising efforts our CBC youth are doing to support the Shekina and Shalom youth trip to Costa Rica. Thank you to Nora and others for organizing this! See the poster in King Commons to sign up. See more information.

2) If you plan to contribute to the 2008 Orantes Fund, it would be great if you could fill out a pledge form. It will help our planning to know what the level of giving will be. Pick up one of the brochures available in King Commons for more information.

3) SHARE is organizing a young adult delegation to El Salvador -- July 9 to 16. If you are entering your junior or senior year in high school or are enrolled in college, you are eligible to participate in SHARE's 2008 youth delegation. This year's theme is Una Gota de Agua or "one drop of water" and will focus on environmental issues. In keeping with SHARE's philosophy of accompaniment and inter-personal exchange, the youth of El Salvador will be the primary teachers and guides as we explore this subject. Read more at
Una Gota de Agua: 2008 SHARE Youth Delegation Let Caroline know if you want more information.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Photos from CBC Visits with Shekina and Shalom / January 2008

Dates for upcoming Salvador Partners meetings at CBC

These dates have been added to the CBC office calendar. Please add to your calendars at home.

Sun Feb 10th 2nd Sun

Sun Mar 9th 2nd Sun

Sun Ap 20th 3rd Sun

no mtg in May

Sun June 8th 2nd Sun (potential conflict with the church annual picnic, so this may be changed)

Invitation to give input on Sunday, Jan 20th

Last Sunday we had an opportunity at CBC to hear a report from Ron, Nora, and Marcus about their meetings with Shekina and Shalom. Now it's time for some conversations about "next steps." Here's what we envision as a beginning process....

Your input would be welcome as we work towards some specific recommendations! If you are free this Sunday, Jan 20th, after worship, Salvador Partners folks can join Caroline and Ron to help sort through ideas and figure out some starting points for options for future proposals. We'll get together in one of the downstairs classrooms.

Caroline and Ron, plus Katy from Outreach, will meet w/ pastors next week to share those ideas and get their input. We'll circulate more info to the Salvador Partners for further comment after the meeting w/ pastors.

Shekina Youth Bike-A-Thon and Report from Nora

Hola! I'm Nora and I recently got back from a delegation to Santa Ana, El Salvador, to visit Iglesia Bautista Shekina and to continue to develop the relationship between the congregation there and Central Baptist Church in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The youth there asked me if I would send you all, as friends and partners in their ministry, an email to update you on what they're up to these days.

As always, the youth have been actively involved in the inner workings of the church. There are youth representatives on many of the boards, some of whom report on behalf of those boards to the pastoral committee; they also play the music in the service. As far as community efforts go, the youth have been integral in the church's outreach workshops and have held events for the neighborhood children as well.

The main focus of their efforts, though, is a trip to Costa Rica. After unsuccessful attempts to take a delegation to the United States, they've decided to focus their aims more locally. Over Holy Week in mid-March, 25 youth from Shekina are hoping to travel to visit a sister church in Costa Rica. Their friends there are willing to pay any expenses that will be necessary during the trip, such as housing and food, so the youth group is now working towards bus fare to make their dream a reality.

In order to do this, Shekina is holding a bike-a-thon to raise the remaining funds. At $90/person the total needed is $2,250. They have already raised $400 through fruit sales, and one $90 ticket was donated. Through the bike-a-thon they are hoping to raise the remaining $1,760, and hopefully more to cover any fees at the national borders or any unforseen expenses.

The bike-a-thon will be held on February 17th after church. For each dollar donated, a member of Shekina will complete one lap. Though this is an event meant specifically to benefit the youth, all of the members of the church get involved; those who can't bike walk. While we are unsure of the exact length of the laps, I am told it takes about 10 minutes to complete one walking.

If you are interested in sponsoring the youth in their efforts, the information about donating is at the end of this email. I also have a directory of the youth with their current pictures and email addresses for those of you who would like to see the faces of those you are helping or be able to contact them directly. If you have any questions you can email me or José Luis, the newly elected president of the youth group (he speaks English, for those of you who may be a little rusty with your Spanish).

The youth of Shekina want you to know that you are always in their prayers and they thank you for your continued support.

With love from the south,
Nora P. and the youth of Shekina

* For specific details about how to make financial contributions for the Shekina Bike-A-Thon, send an email to

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

January Meetings in El Salvador with Shekina and Shalom

Marcus, Ron, and Nora are traveling to El Salvador from Jan 3 to 7 for meetings with Ruth and Alex Orantes and other members of Shekina and Shalom, our sister congregations in Santa Ana and Atiquizaya. They will be talking about future plans and ways to strengthen our relationships.

Join us to hear the report from their meetings on Sunday, January 13th, following worship. Bring your lunch and we'll gather in a downstairs classroom at 12:15pm.