Monday, August 07, 2006


In front of the Kinder class, Bishop of San Diego, The Rt. Rev. James Mathes, and his wife Terri, visit with Amy and a contingency from the Anglican Church of Canada. Left to right with backpacks are Enid Eckstein(St. Martin's, Calgary), Chris Longson ( Christ Church, Calgary), and Lloyd Wilson(Christ Church, Calgary).

We have been blessed with a number of visitors since our arrival to El Salvador. Family, friends, members of companion parishes and dioceses from the US and Canada, North American youth groups, ERD volunteers, and fellow missionaries have all come to share in the experience of the life of the church here in El Salvador. For us it has given us a chance to share our knowledge and experience of El Salvador, in particular of Amatepec and other places where the Anglican church is active, describing the social problems and difficulties, relating the stories and experiences of the people to those that come to visit, since many times because of the language barrier, such vital knowledge may be missed. We also are able to listen to those who are visiting, and help them, if they need it, as they work through their experience here, which can often be an overwhelming one.

El Salvador is an intense place and as one learns about its history and experiences the challenges to one's own Christian faith brought about by hearing about the lives of the Salvadoran martyrs and seeing their relics, encountering the extreme poverty and violence, learning about the destructive and unjust involvement of the U.S. government throughout El Salvador's history and during its Civil War, and meeting fellow Christians who survived the US funded massacres or lost family members to them--in this encounter, with many visitors, a "choque" as they say here, a collision, can happen inside of their psyche involving their faith and their perceptions of their own country and of the world around them. It is a blessed event. Challenges may arise to one's lifestyle and as to who one is in the world. Questions arise: How did I come to my way of life? At whose expense? As they learn about Romero, the UCA Jesuit Priests and their deaths, they may begin to ask, "How is a Christian truly supposed to live? Like an average American? ...or differently? Is the American way of life "just" in the eyes of God? Does it oppress people in other parts of the world? Is the poverty I am witnessing in part a consequence of US intervention and policy? Some become overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness. The American adage of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps becomes irrelevant-- for many here the means to significantly prosper don't exist or are kept out of reach. El Salvador strips away the lie that we are completely self-made people, and maybe as a consequence there is a closeness to God here, especially among the poor. So the American can-do spirit takes a relentless pounding and for those that accept this blessing, they find God moving and doing something amid the violence and poverty that can bring a resurrection within them. In this, a realization can break open that it is not the poor so much who need salvation and a renewel of spirit as it is "those who have much."
It often seems to depend on how open an individual is to God's movement through the experience of El Salvador and how willing they are to let themselves be changed amongst the collision. Changed more to what Christ has called us to be, unified with the poor, fighting the injustices that oppress people, letting people know that Christ shares in, is vibrantly alive in, life in the streets and campos, and hard to find in the houses of the wealthy and satisfied.

Youth from the Diocese of New Jersey and San Andrés Apostól talk about what life is like where they live.

Youth and staff from Rock Point School Vermont
and the Diocese of El Salvador

The Rev. Hannah Atkins, St. John's Lafayette Square, Washington D.C. and formerly rector of Santísima Trinidad, San Martín, El Salvador welcomes Amy to the order of priests.

Contingent from one of our companion dioceses, the Diocese of Central New York,
join in singing at the San Andrés Apostól youth dinner

Hanging out in El Salvador with friend and fellow Californian
Rev. Rob Fisher

No comments: