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

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Documentary film will feature Ruth and Alex

Jamie Moffett, Philadelphia filmmaker and friend of the El Salvador Partners, is making great progress on "Return to El Salvador," his upcoming documentary. Jamie and his crew, including CBC members Ron and Betsy Morgan, will be traveling to El Salvador for another round of interviews and filming in July. Their plan is to meet up with Alex and Ruth, who will provide personal stories and commentary about the war and post-war context in El Salvador. Jamie's first visit to El Salvador for filming was in March 2009, when he and Julia Shields were part of the SHARE Election Observers with CBC's delegation.

Here's an excerpt from the Return to El Salvador Blog about the documentary project, where you can also find more information.

The atrocities of the Salvadoran civil war inspired many international human rights groups and faith communities to advocate for justice and peace in El Salvador. Two of the many Americans who became involved in the movement for peace are Dr. Betsy Morgan, a university professor who went on to write a documentary about Salvadoran refugees, and her husband, Ron Morgan, who has volunteered in relief efforts and election monitoring. The Morgans, along with many of their students and their church community (Central Baptist Church in Wayne, PA), have become outspoken advocates for peace and justice in El Salvador both during and after the civil war.

Jamie Moffett, this filmʼs director, was one of those students who heard the stories of El Salvador and was compelled to act. Moffett decided to make a film in which he would travel with Betsy and Ron to reconnect with their friends in El Salvador, and hear and document stories of what happened during the war and what life is like now. He and his crew are traveling to a place teeming with past and current struggle, both to share the stories of pain and suffering that have been kept silent for too long, but also to document the stories of hope. They are going with the desire to understand and communicate the aftermath of war.

Moffett believes that everyday Americans are unaware of the profound impact of their tax dollars and decisions of their elected representatives upon the lives of innocent people. He believes this precisely because, until recently, he himself was ignorant of the particulars of American involvement in El Salvador. He says, “There was just so much that I didn’t know until I started to research. Now that I know, I’m disappointed, upset, and I want to make sure that other Americans are given the opportunity to know the facts.”

With this film, Moffett goes beyond simply educating his fellow citizens on the facts of history. This project is a call to action, urging Americans to become involved in not only knowing the past, but in building a more just and peaceful future.

For more about the documentary and to pre-order a copy of the film, visit the website

Here's a brief trailer introducing the documentary.Return to El Salvador trailer on YouTube

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Celebrations at Shekina - reports and photos

The past month has been a full and busy one for our friends at Shekina in Santa Ana. A special service on May 3rd marking the congregation's 17th anniversary was attended by representatives of many Baptist congregations. On June 7th, Shekina celebrated the completion of the walls and gates for Shekina's Christian Social Center by symbolically presenting a key to the property to one of the children of the congregation.

Bernhard, a member of Shekina, sends these photos and descriptions of the celebrations. For more images and videos, click on the links below.

17th Anniversary photos It was a family festivity: of the congregation, of the Baptist churches of El Salvador sending delegations from all over the country and of the international Shekina family with many messages (and donations!) from Holland, Sweden, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico as well as from different parts in the US.

Shekina's Christian Social Center photos The reason for these photos and videos (with sound!) is the international implication in this (regular) Shekina church service on Sunday at 9:00. We have friends in Sweden, Holland, Costa Rica, Switzerland and different parts of the United States, who dream with us of the Shekina Christian Social Center. June 7th 2009 was the end of the construction of the walls (necessary for security) and the entrance through a sliding door from the church. The youngsters (and their parents) mentioned already, that campments away are no more necessary as all can be done now on church grounds and helps to save costs... Before the turning over the key of the porton (gateway) there were acknowledgments to God indeed and also the different contributers CBC Wayne PA, Madison IND and Portland OR, our main sister churches (with their active contributions).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

El Salvador Presidential Inauguration

Submitted by Doug Norton

Perhaps it is no coincidence that as red banners were flying in our Central Baptist Church worship commons this past Sunday for Pentecost, winds of change were blowing through the waves of red FMLN banners and shirts as throngs of Salvadorans celebrated the return of their government to the people.

In the first peaceful transfer of power from one party to another since the long civil war ended in 1992, Mauricio Funes of the FMLN was sworn in as president of El Salvador on June 1. Funes visited the grave of Archbishop Oscar Romero on the morning of his inauguration and invoked the memory of Romero as both his teacher and the spiritual guide of the nation in his inaugural address. He struck a note of contrast with the governments of the past decades, promising an administration that recognizes people because of their talents and honesty rather than their connections or their surname, saving special consideration for the poorest, the vulnerable, and the excluded. Funes held up “the strong examples” of U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva “as proof that progressive leaders, instead of being a threat, can be a new, safe alternative for their people.” Funes promised to renew and expand relations with the United States, with which “historically, we are bound by many ties, in particular by the presence of millions of our compatriots who live there, work there and build their dreams there.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the inauguration. Funes praised Clinton in his address as a “woman who honors America” and said in a joint news conference with Clinton after the ceremonies that the FMLN was ready to “turn the page” on its troubled past with the United States.

“We need to reinvent the country. We need to carry out a peaceful, democratic and ethical revolution; the change is starting today,” said Funes. A survey carried out by the University Institute of Public Opinion at the Central American University (UCA) in late May showed support of Funes by 82 percent of the Salvadoran people. This support was reflected in huge celebrations across the country on the days before and after the inauguration. This sense of strong support by the people was felt by the members of CBC who served as
election observers in San Salvador in March.