El Salvador

Our Partnership

In 2017 Holy Communion committed to partnership with the Anglican-founded non-governmental organization Cristosal.

We approach this relationship as a “partnership for mission.”

We often hear stories about the abuse that is possible when a church from the developed world engages in work in the developing world. The history of missionary work has both beautiful and tragic dimensions. While the instinct behind a service project is laudable, we won’t be swinging many hammers in El Salvador. Instead, we will learn together with Salvadorans through Cristosal’s “Global School.”  These seminars include reading, dialogue and a week-long intensive learning experience in El Salvador. The seminar process generates new ideas, proposals, and actions by engaging individuals from different cultures and backgrounds in dialogue, shared learning, and capacity-building to address universal human rights issues. The Global School equips people who feel compelled to act for justice locally and globally with powerful tools for action. We will focus on building skills for building justice in St. Louis, and we will learn from El Salvador.

El Salvador as a site for pilgrimage.

In addition to our time with the Global School, as a church group we travel to El Salvador as pilgrims every other year. Pilgrimage is traditionally understood as a journey to a place where God has acted. Throughout the Salvadoran Civil War the church in El Salvador was engaged. The Anglican Cathedral in San Salvador served as a refugee camp for those displaced by conflict. Archbishop Oscar Romero stood with the persecuted poor of his country, and was assassinated in 1979. His death set off the war. He is remembered as a saint in The Episcopal Church along with a group of Salvadoran nuns and Jesuit theologians who martyred during the war. We will pray in places associated with these historic acts of faith on our journey.

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Cristosal is a nongovernmental organization based in El Salvador advancing human rights in Central America through rights-based programming, research, and learning.

They take a human rights-based approach to community development and poverty reduction that recognizes at its core the inherent dignity, equality and inalienable rights of every human being. This principle repositions the poor in the development enterprise from beneficiaries of charity to citizen partners, architects and owners of their own development process.

Recent History

Noah Bullock, the Executive Director of Cristosal preached and presented a Symposium at Holy Communion on October 8 and 9, 2016.

The next step was a pilgrimage to El Salvador.

The rector and a group of 13 parishioners travelled to El Salvador as pilgrims from May 26-June 2. Pilgrimage is traditionally understood as a journey to a place where God has acted. Throughout the Salvadoran Civil War the church in El Salvador was engaged. The Anglican Cathedral in San Salvador served as a refugee camp for those displaced by conflict. Archbishop Oscar Romero stood with the persecuted poor of his country, and was assassinated in 1979. His death set off the war. He is remembered as a saint in The Episcopal Church along with a group of Salvadoran nuns and Jesuit theologians who martyred during the war. We prayed in places associated with these historic acts of faith on our journey.

We also participated, with Cristosal in a conference on State Violence, and Human Rights based community organizing. We learned alongside Salvadorans, also participating in the conference, and we contemplated together how we might work for justice through faith.

After the trip, the pilgrims reported back to the congregation on June 11 at a special forum. We are recommending that the Vestry enter into a longterm partnership with Cristosal.

Photo of the forum:

Our El Salvador pilgrims reported to the congregation, and recommend that we enter a longterm partnership with @fundacioncristosal

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A few photos from our trip:

(click on any of them to see more on our Instagram)

What a phenomenal group of participants in the Global School this week. Grateful for our new Salvadoran friends! Thanks to @fundacioncristosal for a great course. #derechoshumanos #organizing #mission

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The wall of “truth and memory” with the names of 30,000 lost or disappeared during the war.

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Mike celebrated the service in Spanish Sunday at San Juan, at the invitation of the rector. #anglicanos

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We are all connected. #youth #organizing #jovenes

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Zach tried his hand at the pottery wheel at Shicali, a cooperative run by people with disabilities. #elsalvador #derechoshumanos (photo by Bob Lowes)

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To learn more about our partnerships in El Salvador, contact the rector.