Cristosal Connects Salvadoran Families with Hope during Advent
By Todd McKee
Longing. Waiting. Expectation. Journey. Hope. These Advent themes also describe the stories of people from El Salvador who are fleeing violence. The connection the Episcopal Church in Vermont shares with Cristosal is a source of hope for these families now and in the year ahead. To nourish that hope, all congregations are asked to remember Cristosal and El Salvador in the Prayers of the People this Sunday, December 18, and to consider making a financial contribution. Additionally, members and friends of the church are encouraged to learn more about the stories of Salvadorans affected by violence.
One such story is that of Adilene and her family, featured in this five minute video by the Guardian. Sharing her story from a shelter in Mexico, Adilene describes how the gangs stole her business, beat her, sexually assaulted her—leaving her pregnant—and then told her, “Be grateful that we didn’t kill you. Leave, and if you ever come back, we’ll kill you.”
This Advent, members and friends of the Episcopal Church in Vermont have a unique opportunity to make a difference for families like Adilene’s by contributing to Cristosal through parish outreach funds or individual contributions. Donations can be made online or check by mail to Cristosal, 401 W. Division Street #9641, Syracuse, NY 13290.
Thanks in part to readers’ response an article that ran in the previous edition of the Mountain, and with matching funds from the Global Reconciliation Committee, Cristosal has already raised $5,000 of its $6,000 goal in Vermont alone to support its efforts to:
- Help families find emergency protection from threats so they can pursue justice
- Provide lawyers to bring forward cases and lobby organizations like the Salvadoran Public Defender’s Office to create policies and programs to receive and assist families like Adilene’s
- Document families’ experiences forming the largest database on forced displacement in the region used to generate informed solutions
- When necessary, help families who have risked everything in the fight for justice get a fresh start elsewhere in Central America
For 15 years, the Episcopal Church in Vermont has partnered with Cristosal to help families claim and exercise their human rights. As part of this engagement, Bishop Thomas Ely continues to serve on the board of directors. Additionally, Vermont Episcopalians have participated in learning trips in El Salvador, and a group of youth from the Catherdral Church of St. Paul-Burlington will travel to El Salvador in April of next year. To learn more about the difference Cristosal has made in the lives of Central American families over the years, read the Cristosal Impact Reports and Newsletters.