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, February 12, 2009

El Salvador Partners to join international observers for elections in El Salvador

We are excited to announce that Andy Smith, John Thayer, Doug Norton, Caroline Cargo, and Bernie Peterson will travel to El Salvador with the SHARE Foundation's 150-person delegation that is part of an international consortium of observers calling for free and fair democratic process in El Salvador's presidential elections on March 15th. Nora Pullen is also participating in the SHARE delegation with a group of American University students.

The work of the election observers delegation members actually begins well before arriving in El Salvador. Already we have received a 30-page election observers training manual to review, and SHARE is providing frequent updates and analysis of the political campaigns. When we arrive in San Salvador on March 10th, we will have a busy schedule, including instruction in specific roles for election observation teams, explanation of our official data keeping and report writing tasks, visits to the Legislative Assembly, accreditation by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, and press conferences. After the elections, we are expected to prepare final reports that we will deliver to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and to the U.S. Embassy, as well.

Although the mission of this delegation is clearly focused on supporting the presidential elections process rather than visiting with our sister church communities, we are hoping that we will have an informal opportunity to connect with some of our friends from Shekina and Shalom since SHARE is likely to send a team of observers to the voting sites in Santa Ana. Also, Caroline Cargo will be arriving early in El Salvador in order to spend several days with Ruth and Alex Orantes and other members of Shekina prior to the official start of the SHARE delegation.

We look forward to reporting back about our experience! We have tentative plans for a CBC luncheon in April. Doug Norton is coordinating a presentation to Villanova University's Center for Peace and Justice Education, which provided some financial support for the delegation. And we plan to share written reflections with the Baptist Peace Fellowship and the Alliance of Baptists, both of which organizations have endorsed and promoted this election observers delegation as an official Baptist witness and presence in El Salvador .