Foundation Cristosal summer field course to focus on LGBT rights in El Salvador
Welcome guest blogger Ernesto Zelayandía, Global School Coordinator for Foundation Cristosal.
Foundation Cristosal summer field course: LGBT Rights & Sexual Diversity Ministry in The Episcopal Church
Frequently as LGBT individuals we are encourage to fight and stand for our rights, but rarely are we told to stand for our faith – that we are worthy of a space within our communions where we can be accepted exactly the way we are. Instead, we are told either to step away and go and look for a new “more progressive” space or to resign altogether the opportunity to share our faith in community.
Since 2009, the Sexual Diversity Ministry of the Anglican-Episcopal Church of El Salvador has become a point of encounter – almost like a safe haven for those whose churches have turn their backs on them and are yet seeking to keep a close relationship to God. (Read the related ENS article, The making of an LGBT ministry in El Salvador.)
The Ministry constantly receives people from a variety of religious denominations – Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals – and it has become a place of ecumenical inclusion since you don’t have to belong to the Anglican Communion to be received with open arms.
Perhaps the most important lesson that participants learn in this space is accepting themselves as a child of God and as part of the plan of creation.
This next July, Foundation Cristosal will facilitate their first field course around the subject of LGBT rights in the context of El Salvador with a focus on the role of the church as a light post of inclusion and work towards the recognition of everyone’s humanity and equal dignity.
Titled, LGBT Rights & Sexual Diversity Ministry in The Episcopal Church, the course will run July 7-14, 2014 at Cristosal Global School, El Salvador.
Together with some of the members of the sexual diversity ministry participants will learn about the historical context of El Salvador. They will also learn about the current situation and realities of the LGBTIQ population, the progress made in the U.S.and the steps that are still needed. They will also hear stories of hard struggles and great joy. And they will share different life stories form different contexts that somehow connect us all in the same community.
What makes Cristosal’s field courses unique is that they give participants the opportunity to learn about realities outside of their own and become witness of the work that amazing individuals are doing to fight for and vindicate their basic human rights. At the end of the course each participants find themselves charged with new knowledge, energy and skills to fight social injustice and create powerful communities.
We are not looking to solve the problems of El Salvador in one week, but rather to raise awareness around critical social issues that impact all of us. We are looking to plant a small seed in each of our participants in the hope that one day it blossoms, and when that day comes they will have the necessary tools to work towards social justice with a rights-based approach in mind, seeking to solve the needs of the world using their own individual gifts.
Join us this summer from July 7th -14th in El Salvador and be a part of this transformative experience. For more information please contact me at [email protected].