LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Video of the day thumbnail An absolute classic from the comedy legends sees the Derby Council XV take on the All Blacks in sensational Monty Python style. The combination of the Lord Mayor (lineout) and Lady Mayoress puts the All Blacks on the back foot! Hilarious…and followed by a football match that has to be seen to be believed!
Monthly Archive: June 2021
Dan Carter deserves to be the first £1 Million playerWhen Dan Carter signed for Racing Metro he became the first £1million player in the history of rugby. Many will argue that the 2005-2008 version of Dan Carter was more worthy of a £1million price tag than the current Carter, and in all honesty, they’re spot on. Dan Carter is past his peak (but what a peak it was), the injuries are mounting and his game time is dwindling. Yet despite this he still deserves to be the highest paid player in the world. Carter is more than a role model; he is the role models’ role model. Even Jonny Wilkinson has to doff his cap to Carter.DC hasn’t just dominated his sport for over a decade, he has done so without even the slightest blemish – a high tackle on Martin Roberts in 2009 probably being the nearest that he has come to a misdemeanour. The likes of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods have all lost their shine at one point or another. Even the angelic Roger Federer has been known to smash a few racquets. Not Carter. His off-field performances have always been matched by his on-field genius and once retired is certain to become a Knight in New Zealand’s Order of Merit. Bit of advice though, Dan. If you are trumpeted for a Knighthood don’t mention it on Twitter unless you’re 100% sure…National Dual Contracts are workingAs with all things in Welsh rugby there is little agreement on any subject, let alone something as vital to the future of Welsh rugby as National Dual Contracts (NDC) – the process by which both the WRU and a Welsh region splits the funding of an individual player 60%/40%. December saw the announcement that Dan Lydiate, Hallam Amos, Tyler Morgan and Rhodri Jones have joined Sam Warburton in signing a Dual Contract, and just today, Jake Ball signed on the dotted line. The signing of players who have not yet nailed a place in the Welsh team has raised a few eyebrows, particularly the signing of Rhodri Jones who is as yet to have commandeered a starting role at his regions let alone Wales.Sign on the dotted line: Jake Ball is the latest player to sign a National Dual ContractHowever, despite misgivings towards NDC they are already working. Eighteen months ago the Welsh media was full of rugby administrators, coaches and pundits wearing black shrouds, wailing on their knees, and bemoaning the death of Welsh rugby. That is no longer the case. Players arent fleeing in their droves as Wales now has the ability to retain them. Warren Gatland has already contracted two senior internationals and I understand that after another simple discussion, another three or four players will follow. NDC’s may not be a perfect option, but they are a damn sight better than no option at all.‘Crocodile Rolls’ need addressing.Alligator Rolls/Gator Rolls, whatever you want to call them; the process of twisting/ rolling a player off his feet at the ruck, is a serious issue for rugby. It’s understandable why this new manoeuvre has become so prevalent. Trying to shift 17-plus stone of muscle once it is in a low, stable body position is nigh on impossible.However the ‘Gator Roll’ often involves rolling the player with one arm around the upper chest and neck. The taking of the ‘neck’ is a particularly effective tool as once a players head is forced to move, the rest of the body has little choice but to follow. But it does seem strange that this taking of the neck is allowed by referees. Particularly when you consider how tip-tackles and high-tackles are rightly refereed with such vigour. The constant flux of rugby union means there is always an area of the game that requires immediate attention – the ‘Croc-Roll’ should be next. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Worth the money: Dan Carter may not be in his pomp but he’s a bonafide superstar In a monthly wrap, RW discusses the salary cap, the million pound man – Dan Carter, dual contracts and the crocodile rolls Nonu is a riskMa’a Nonu is obviously a massive signing for Toulon; quite literally in fact, his potential partnership with Mathieu Bastareaud could trigger a Tsunami every time they play at the Stade Mayol. He is arguably the best 12 in the world and no-one combines his ability to crash the 12/ 13 channel and zip a 20-foot spiral pass off both hands – no-one. However, whilst Nonu is the best 12 at test level many, particularly in New Zealand, would question his form at club level.Risky business: There is no guarantee Ma’a Nonu will be a success at ToulonNonu has a mixed record in Super Rugby and has played for three of the five franchises. The last time that the NZRU had to find Nonu a new franchise there was a genuine reluctance from all parties to take a risk on him. His relationship with the former Hurricanes, and now Cardiff Blues coach, Mark Hammett brought a level of iciness not seen since Elsa, Princess of Arendelle, last lost her rag. There is no doubt that Nonu’s signing has stolen the transfer headlines for Toulon – but let’s hope that the headlines remain positive throughout his contract.Salary Cap Suicide.December saw Saracens release a statement saying there was widespread support – well, seven clubs, who are yet to go public – calling for a scrapping of the salary cap which currently exists in the Aviva Premiership. Whilst there are clear benefits to increasing the cap slightly, in order to compete with the French, scrapping it altogether would be suicide for the English top flight. Removal of the salary cap would simply increase salary inflation year-on-year and lead to the unsustainable mess that many football clubs find themselves in.Sarries divide: There has been a tepid reaction to Ed Griffiths’ call for a scrap to the salary capFor example in 2012/13 The English Premiership had a wages-to-revenue figure of 71% – it was just 44% during the Premier League’s first season in 1991-1992. The net result of wage inflation would be an increase in the already widening gulf between those with wealthy benefactors and those without. It is a very serious issue that wouldn’t just affect the club game in England, but potentially across the world.
LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS After nine years hard labour in the D2, Pau have thrust themselves back to the top table, and with Conrad Smith incoming, head coach Simon Mannix is optimistic Green army: Pau’s legion of fans will taste the riches of the Top 14 for the first time in nine years Rarely has one team dominated their rivals the way Pau have this season in ProD2. Crowned champions of France’s second division a month before the end of the regular season, Pau are 16 points clear of second-place Perpignan and now preparing for a return to the Top 14 after nine years out of the top-flight. Rugby World caught up with their head coach, former All Black Simon Mannix who, after spells as backs’ coach at Racing Metro and Munster, has guided Pau back to the promised land.Rugby World: What’s been the key to Pau’s success this season?Simon Mannix: I was fortunate to have a staff here who wanted to change and who followed everything I implemented very well. The players were very receptive, too, and that allowed us to get off to a good start in winning eight out of eight. The challenge was then maintaining that start and fortunately our work was good and we were able to keep the momentum going.RW: Surprised by the extent of Pau’s domination?SM: The foundations were outstanding before I arrived but when you set the bar high with guys who haven’t been exposed to the highest level I was a little concerned. But generally speaking I had 80 percent of squad who were very receptive and reacted quickly, and so we could carry it on to the end.Well-travelled: Simon Mannix has already coached at Racing Metro and Munster after a distinguished playing careerRW: Describe Pau as a club?SM: Pau has always been a very solid rugby base with a strong rugby culture. I knew if we could harness that then we could create something that would really gain momentum. It was also important that the players identified back with the town, that we played in a style that everyone would appreciate and carried ourselves off the field in a way that would make the town proud.RW: What’s been the influence of veterans such as Damien Traille and James Coughlan?SM: Damien Traille was an absolute leader in everything he did, on and off the field. Didn’t see a lot of him on the field because he had a few injuries but his presence and what it gives to players around him, you cannot underestimate that. James was an unknown coming over here, and possibly you could say he was an unsung hero in Irish rugby but his performances have been nothing short of outstanding, as have those of Jean Bouilhou, another of our experienced guys.RW: Describe Pau’s recruitment policy?SM: For me, first and foremost, it’s the off-field aspect, the human element. The fit has to be right. What environment has the player come from? What have they been exposed to in their careers? I’ve been trying to model the team with guys I can fully trust and guys who are prepared to run through the wall for you. To do that, you need to sit down with the players and get into their minds to see if they’re going to be the right fit. Guiding hand: 86-cap French centre Damien Traille has gone back to his home town to assistRW: All Blacks Colin Slade and Conrad Smith have signed, any other big names in the offing?SM: I’ve seen the CV of just about rugby player in the world! As has every director of rugby in the Top 14, I’m sure. The French market is very lively and it’s a tough sell at times, trying to sell players the future rather than what’s gone on in the past.RW: What about the rumour that Francois Steyn might be playing for Pau next season?SM: Francois Steyn is attracting the attention of everybody worldwide with his undoubted talent. I had a close working relationship with Francois at Racing and so people try and put two and two together, but often in the rumour market two and two can come out as five! We’ll wait and see what happens.RW: What about the Pau pack, will they be able to cope with the Top 14 physicality?SM: Yes, I’m more than confident that they will and remember that another of our big signings is Julien Pierre [the France & Clermont lock]. But I’m confident we have the players who can stand up to it physically. The big thing for me is that we must also show the rugby intelligence and the technique. That’s the big challenge, to improve as all-round rugby players and not just as physical monsters, because there must be a balance between technique and physicality. Pass master: Conrad Smith will bring some star quality to Pau for next seasonRW: You had a spell at Munster, how does the Pro12 compare to French rugby?SM: It’s difficult to compare championships because of the constraints in France. In Ireland there’s now qualification for Europe but you’re still not playing with a gun to your head every week as some clubs do in France because of the economic fallout that results from relegation to the ProD2. That pressure makes for a huge difference in the type of rugby played because the stakes are so high. The style will be different because the pressures are different.RW: What is your ambition for next season?SM: I want us to be competitive in every single game we play. It will be down to our ability to improve each week, to learn quickly and to adapt to what – for a lot of players – will be a new style of rugby because it’s a new level of rugby they’re being to exposed to. It’s going to be a huge challenge but this club has had nine years of waiting to get back to the top level and I’m sure the supporters are going to be putting in as much effort to support us as we are to show them this is a level in which we can exist.
Sam Burgess, of Bath and England, talks Speedos, spiders and superpowers All smiles: Sam Burgess gives Rugby World an insight into his team-mates. Photo: Getty Images LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS If you could be any team-mate, who would it be?George Ford for his money… Actually I’d be Faz (Owen Farrell) as he’s got a bit more banter and is in the same category for pay!Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?Other than Russell Crowe – I have to say him – I’d say The Rock. I find him fascinating. Big dude, good personality. Although, do other people know what’s going on in the lift? You could pick someone else…If you could have one superpower, what would it be?To know what people are thinking. It’s a dangerous game, yeah, but it’s good too.Dinner date: Rihanna could be an entertaining guest. Photo: Getty ImagesWho would be your dream dinner party guests?Denzel Washington because he is a legend. I’d love a yarn with David Beckham. Then I would always say Rihanna, as I reckon she’d be good fun – I’d just send a few wines over.What would you like to achieve outside rugby?I’d like a beautiful family. That’s it really. Three kids, four at a push. A nice quiet life Down Under. Bit of golf. Lovely.How would you like to be remembered?As a good bloke who his team-mates enjoyed playing with.This article appeared in the August 2015 issue of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers, click here or find out how to download the digital edition here. Do you have any superstitions?I’ve got one. I like to play in my budgie smugglers – always wear Speedos.What are your bugbears?It actually takes quite a lot to p*** me off. Loud eaters get me and if you want an example, I’d say George Ford!Who’s your funniest team-mate?Jonny May. Legend. He is a little bit strange but I like his strangeness. I roomed with him on my first night of the England camp and his theories on life are fantastic. He’s one of those guys you could sit in a room with and talk to all day long.Did he make the tea?Oh yeah, he is very courteous! He helped me fill out a few forms. He’s a good little roomie.What do you enjoy most about playing union?When I first came I didn’t have much game knowledge, but now breaking down a game and seeing why you do certain things is great. When I first came I questioned things. As for playing, I look forward to carrying the ball. And defending – I like making front-up tackles.League of his own: George Burgess in action for the Rabbitohs. Photo: Getty ImagesYour brother George is a player on the rise in league – would he ever take up union?It’s down to George eventually, but I don’t know where he’d play for now. He’d obviously be playing in the forwards. He’s up there in league at the moment but he’d have to start again in union. Never say never but at the moment he’s enjoying where he’s at.What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever bought?I bought a little Vespa while I was in Australia. I thought I’d use it loads but only managed to ride it about three times before I ended up giving it away to a young lad I played with.Do you have any phobias?Snakes and spiders. But moving to Australia, I could take the snakes and spiders for the beaches and weather. The worst thing I did was tell people there I didn’t like snakes as every time we went somewhere, someone would go and find one, then put it near me.
This piece first featured in Rugby world during the Six Nations. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. THE RISE of flanker Aaron Wainwright has been meteoric. Having only got into rugby in Year 11 of school, in a few short years he has gone from soccer academies to uni rugby to Six Nations star and now a Rugby World Cup star. The Dragons flank has even being compared to Sam Warburton over the last year of Test rugby.We let the man himself tell his own story…I can still go to the shops! (During the Six Nations) I went out for food and it was normal. I do get double takes – you get that eye contact – but I go about things as normal.Football started for me at seven or eight. I got picked up by Cardiff City for their development team and I played to 16s. I was a central defensive midfielder, protecting things in front of the back four. I moulded my game on Patrick Vieira and Claude Makélélé.Vieira coached me when he was in Wales for his coaching badges. He was a role model for me, so that was a great experience. I was really nervous, a bit starstruck. I was young, around 14, so I was just trying to take everything in.Newport Country took me in when Cardiff released me. After five months I was offered a scholarship. I’d have had to move school and didn’t want to. I wanted to stick where I was, to do my A Levels and be with my friends. That’s when I got into rugby.Regan Poole is the big name at Newport. He went to Manchester United and was loaned back. They had a great cup run this season; after they beat Middlesborough, I sent a congratulations message.Instant hit: with the Dragons in December 2017 (Getty Images)My three sisters are all sporty. They did gymnastics and athletics. We’re competitive – board games start nice and end in arguments! That’s the competitive nature.I went to the odd rugby session when I was younger, but didn’t play until Year 11. Football was coming to an end for me, the boys at school played and the teacher said, “Come down for a game.” The boys at school also played for Whiteheads so I went down there.My dad, Adrian, played back in the day. For Caerphilly and Wales U21. He went from playing prop to back-row. After a game, if he says I’ve played well, I’ve played well. If he says I haven’t, I’ll know. But he’ll see different little things.I did a bit at the Dragons Academy. They wanted to keep me on but I wanted to go to uni, so it was easier at the Cardiff Met system. After the first year I think the plan was to play for Newport RFC. So you were going from youth rugby to playing against big blokes who are trying to hurt you. And the university league is fast, like an English style of playing rugby. At uni I was totally dependent on my student loan! I didn’t have time for a job. I was a paper boy at school and I’d be up before 6am every day. I also worked in a call centre and then in retail. My people skills aren’t the best but we had a script for the call centre!I kind of got to where I am through the misfortunes of others. Some people at the Dragons got injured and I came in and took my chance. The same happened on the summer tour for Wales. It’s a case of making the jersey your own when you get a chance.Conquering Rome: During the recent Six Nation (Getty Images)My Wales debut in San Juan was incredible. My father flew out to Argentina to see it (in June 2018). I was very nervous. I played about 30 minutes, thoroughly enjoyed it and the whole trip was a brilliant experience. International rugby is a big step up from regional rugby. My lungs and legs were going.The daily routine is a similarity between football and rugby. The biggest difference is that rugby is more team-oriented. In football you can get a lot of individuals and people trying to do their own thing. In rugby you need your mate there beside you.Most of my rugby for Wales has been at six. For the Dragons I’ll play seven. I see myself more as a six because my ability over the ball is not as good as some of the other back-rows. I’m working on that. All the back-rows do extras after training, jackling.A lot of senior boys help me with calls if I’m not grasping them right away. I’m getting better. There’s a lot of analysis after training, which is good. At uni I tried to get my work in on time but there were a lot of late nights to get assignments in!I coach at Whiteheads. My university course was sports science, which had a coaching side to it. I enjoyed that and loved youth rugby, so why not help out? It’s been really good so far. The former footballer and now Dragons flanker has exploded onto the Test scene LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Ready to rock: Aaron Wainwright poses for a portrait (Getty Images)
Find out where the tourists will play in South Africa A Springboks toy at Loftus Versfeld Stadium (Getty Images) British & Irish Lions 2021 VenuesThe British & Irish Lions 2021 squad will play matches at five different venues.Their first match is at ‘home’ against Japan on Saturday 26 June at BT Murrayfield in Scotland, then they will play at four different stadiums in South Africa. It would have been more, like a traditional tour, but travel has been reduced to minimise the risks around Covid-19.Related: New British & Irish 2021 Schedule ConfirmedHere is the lowdown on all the stadiums staging Lions matches in 2021, although the matches in South Africa are expected to be played behind closed doors because of the pandemic.British & Irish Lions 2021 VenuesBT MurrayfieldSituated in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, Murrayfield has a capacity of 67,000 and is where the Scottish national team play their home matches.BT Murrayfield in the Edinburgh sunshine (Sportsfile/Getty Images)It was built in 1925, although it had only one stand then. Other stands have been added and redeveloped over the past century.Due to Covid restrictions, a crowd of 16,500 will be permitted for the Lions’ match against Japan in June.Emirates Airline ParkThe Lions will play their first two tour matches at this 62,000-seater stadium in Johannesburg. They open against Johannesburg-based franchise the Lions – not to be confused with the British & Irish tourists! – on 3 July and then play the Sharks, of Natal, on 7 July.A general view of Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg (Sportsfile/Getty Images)Known as Ellis Park before the naming rights were put up for sale, this stadium hosted five matches at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, including South Africa’s victory over New Zealand in the final. It was also a venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.Loftus Versfeld Stadium LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This is the venue for the third match of the tour, against the Bulls on Saturday 10 July.Situated in Pretoria, it has a capacity of nearly 52,000. The stadium is named after Robert Loftus Owen Versfeld, who founded organised sports in the city.The second Test between the Springboks and Lions in 2009 at Loftus (Getty Images)Like Ellis Park, Loftus Versfeld Stadium was a venue for both the 1995 Rugby World Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup, and also hosted the famous second Test between the 2009 Lions and Springboks.LIONS 2021 LATEST NEWSCape Town StadiumThe newest of all the venues, Cape Town Stadium was built specifically for the FIFA World Cup in 2010.It replaced an older ground, Green Point Stadium, and is located on the city’s waterfront, close to the Atlantic Ocean. It can seat 55,000 spectators.Cape Town Stadium will host three Lions matches – more than any other venue. On 14 July, the tourists will take on South Africa A and then it’s local franchise the Stormers on 17 July. Cape Town is also the venue for the first of the three Tests, on 24 July.It is also the venue for the next Sevens World Cup, which will take place in September 2022.FNB StadiumAlso known as Soccer City, the First National Bank Stadium will stage the second and third Tests between Warren Gatland’s Lions and Jacques Nienaber’s South Africa.FNB Stadium is hosting the second and third Lions Tests (AFP/Getty Images)The stadium first opened in 1989 and was upgraded to increase capacity 20 years later in time for the Football World Cup in 2010, when it hosted the final. It can now house nearly 95,000 people seated, making it one of the largest sports stadiums in the world.
Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Associate Rector Columbus, GA Submit a Press Release Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Featured Events Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Rector Tampa, FL In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Submit an Event Listing Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Rector Shreveport, LA Curate Diocese of Nebraska AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Rector Smithfield, NC Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Featured Jobs & Calls New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Cathedral Dean Boise, ID This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Connections help us serve Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Rector Martinsville, VA By Michael KreutzerPosted Mar 8, 2012 Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Director of Music Morristown, NJ Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA The Rev. Mike Kreutzer works with children at Kemp Elementary School in Dayton as part of a school-church partnership.[Diocese of Southern Ohio] It is a few minutes after 9 a.m. on a Thursday. The children at Kemp Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio, have just finished their breakfast and are on the way to their classrooms. School staff members are in the hallways making sure that those who get sidetracked, either talking with friends or just playing around, remember where they are supposed to be. Latecomers are lining up in the office, signing in and getting passes from the secretary.I am signing in at the office as well. This is my 10th year of tutoring children as part of the Kemp School Community Partnership, which brings together members of five neighborhood churches, along with several additional volunteers, to serve the needs of our children. It is our year-after-year service together that has made our partnership an important part of the school’s program. At the same time, it has enabled us to build relationships among our churches, connections that make us more effective in serving those around us in the name of Christ.Over the years, I have worked with students of all ages, up through the eighth grade. This year, I am assisting an intervention specialist in helping our youngest group: those in kindergarten through second grade who need special assistance. Halfway through the school year, some can now read basic “sight words,” while others still have trouble distinguishing between different letters of the alphabet. Each one, it seems, faces different challenges to his or her learning.As I make my way down the hallway, I meet teachers, staff members and students whom I have come to know.Over the course of the morning, I will see Janet, from my church, St. Mark’s; Hank and Irene, members of Corinth Presbyterian Church; Maryellen, from St. Helen’s Catholic Church; Deb, from Community United Methodist Church; and Steve, pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. They are just some of the team of volunteers who come to Kemp each week to work directly with the students. Over the years, we have formed connections with each other, connections that bind us together in service to the children of our community, connections that open doors for other forms of cooperative ministry as well.The tutors form the core of our ministry at Kemp, but many more people are connected to our work as well. Members of all our partner churches come together each August, for example, to host a free cookout at the school on the Friday before classes begin. It brings together faculty, staff, students and teachers and forms the basis for better communications among all of them during the year. Most of our cookout volunteers have been with us for several years and greet each other as old friends. Connections.Other members of our churches who do not work in the school itself are connected to our ministry as well. Many provide school supplies for students who cannot afford to buy them. Some have purchased hats, gloves and coats for children who do not have them. Many have helped as well with contributions to Episcopal Community Services Foundation, which has provided us with a series of grants, enabling the school to buy and give appropriate books to students, some of whom have never had a book of their own. They, too, are connected to our ministry.Over the course of any year, special needs arise, and our connections with one another help us to address them. Recently, for example, the school’s principal, Renaldo O’Neal, stopped me in the hallway to ask if we could help with a special request. The school keeps a washer and dryer in the elementary area, both to launder school uniforms donated for students in need and to take care of accidents that our younger children have from time to time. The dryer had broken and could not be repaired, and there was no money in the school’s or district’s budget to replace it. I told him that I would see what I could do.When I returned to my office, I sent an e-mail to our main contact at each of our member churches, describing the need and asking who could help. Neither the Lutherans nor the Methodists had a dryer available. The Presbyterians did, but it used natural gas, and the school has only an electrical hookup. The pastoral associate at the Catholic church replied that they had an electric dryer to donate but had no way to get it there. I called a parishioner who has a truck, and we picked it up at an old convent and delivered it to the school. Problem solved. Need addressed. Children served.Our connections in ministry are not limited to just one school and to our shared ministry there. While ours is the only cooperative School-Church Partnership (SCP) of its kind in our area, there are nearly 100 other local churches that are involved, in one way or another, with many other local schools. We are all connected with one another by a regional SCP Board, based at Dayton’s Westminster Presbyterian Church. I and the other six members of the board meet quarterly to find ways of encouraging the formation of other partnerships and of supporting those involved in this ministry.Our connections with others continue to grow. We have managed to get the good news of our ministries out to many others via our church websites and by personal connections with others far from the Greater Dayton area. Currently, schools and churches in California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Minnesota are connected with our local School-Church Partnership community. We also have been contacted by others in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Tennessee and Texas, and in the Canadian province of Alberta, asking about our local work and hoping to use our experiences to form or enhance programs of their own.All too often, when we develop ministries to address the needs of God’s people, we tend to isolate ourselves, at least psychologically, from other churches, Episcopal as well as those of other traditions. And we limit our scope to include only those whom our parish decides to serve. That seems like a curious approach to take in a church tradition that celebrates our place within a worldwide communion of churches, united with one another in one Lord, one faith, one baptism.For many years, those dedicated to the environmental movement have encouraged people to “Think globally and act locally.” That is not a bad model for us to use in other forms of service as well: working in our local communities but forming connections with others who are engaged in, or want to become engaged in, similar ministries. Together, we can make important contributions, not only in our own neighborhoods but also in places far beyond the reach of our individual churches.If we are willing to reach out to others in creative partnerships, to make connections with others who are committed to serving the same needs, we might just find that our work together is much more effective than the work we could have done as one parish alone. Our network of connections might just continue to grow, enabling fellow believers, both within our local communities and far away, to form connections of their own. All those various collaborative approaches to ministry can enable the wider church to be more faithful in serving God’s people in the name of the one who came to serve us all.— The Rev. Mike Kreutzer is rector of St. Mark’s, Dayton, and dean of the Dayton Deanery in the Diocese of Southern Ohio. Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Rector Belleville, IL Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Rector Pittsburgh, PA Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector Washington, DC Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Rector Bath, NC Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Youth Minister Lorton, VA Press Release Service The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Rector Collierville, TN Rector Knoxville, TN Submit a Job Listing Rector Albany, NY Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET Rector Hopkinsville, KY Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS
Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Rector Collierville, TN [Diocese of London] Visitors to the 2012 Olympics will be able to escape one of the busiest periods the capital has ever seen by exploring its rich Christian heritage. The Diocese of London has published a guide to walking tours of the city’s places of tranquillity, prayer and historic interest. All over London, churches will open their doors to visitors throughout the Games.Available both as a free download and as a full colour booklet available free of charge from participating churches, ‘Faith Walks’ comprise six trails starting out from Olympic venues. More than 40 churches are participating and will be open to the public all day throughout the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.Some of them are famous London sights in tourist hotspots, such as St Martin-in-the-Fields and St James, Piccadilly. Others are hidden jewels that have never been open regularly before; they will surprise and delight even Londoners who think they know their city well.Spanning every period in English architecture, all of them are a proud testament to the capital’s astonishing heritage and the fascinating, ongoing story of its diverse communities.Some of London’s most venerable buildings will be sporting QR codes: on two of the walks, visitors will be able to use them to download information from the Bible Society revealing how Christianity has helped to shape the city and its history.The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, welcomed the launch of the guide, saying:“Visitors and Londoners, this summer the capital’s huge variety of churches stand ready to make you welcome. All of them are lively places of worship but they are at the same time community hubs treasure houses of memory. This booklet is an aperitif. I hope you will go and enjoy the main course.”‘Faith Walks’ is available to download.Among the sites highlighted in Faith Walks are:St Leonard, Shoreditch: a Georgian gem with superb rococo carving, used to film the BBC TV series ‘Rev.’St Dunstan, Stepney: one of the most ancient churches in London, located in the middle of the Cockney heartlandsAll Souls, Langham Place: the BBC church, right next door to Broadcasting House and known the world over thanks to the services that have been transmitted from thereThe Grosvenor Chapel: the Grosvenor estate church where General Eisenhower was a regular during World War II and ‘Love, Actually’ was filmed.St Clement Danes: designed by Sir Christopher Wren and famous from the nursery rhyme ‘Oranges and Lemons’, since reconstruction after devastation in World War II the RAF churchSt Patrick, Soho Square: a Victorian-era Italian-style Catholic church, recently magnificently restored and ministering to the most vibrant part of the West End. Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Featured Events This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Posted Jul 16, 2012 Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Youth Minister Lorton, VA Submit a Job Listing Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Rector Shreveport, LA Submit an Event Listing Rector Albany, NY Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books London’s churches throw open doors to welcome Olympics Rector Pittsburgh, PA Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Anglican Communion Rector Belleville, IL In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Submit a Press Release Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Rector Tampa, FL Tags Associate Rector Columbus, GA TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Featured Jobs & Calls Rector Bath, NC Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Press Release Service Rector Knoxville, TN Rector Washington, DC Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Director of Music Morristown, NJ Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Curate Diocese of Nebraska Rector Hopkinsville, KY Rector Smithfield, NC Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Rector Martinsville, VA Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL
The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Submit a Press Release In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 Press Release Service Rector Martinsville, VA Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Rector Collierville, TN Course Director Jerusalem, Israel El Papa es argentino La Democracia es brasileña Associate Rector Columbus, GA Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Curate Diocese of Nebraska Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Rector Hopkinsville, KY An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Director of Music Morristown, NJ Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Rector Tampa, FL Rector Belleville, IL Submit a Job Listing Featured Events TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Submit an Event Listing Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Rector Albany, NY Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME Todos conocemos y nos reímos a menudo de esta inveterada y aparente rivalidad entre argentinos y brasileños, catalizada en el futbol, la religión, los estilos y lo que a uno se le pueda ocurrir.Es por eso que elegí esas palabras para enmarcar unas simples líneas de reflexión sobre los eventos que se están dando en Brasil y el lugar de la iglesia en este proceso. Y porque creo que Brasil no solo exporta futbolistas, carnaval y música, sino también sólida democracia.Los Paulistanos salieron hace apenas unas semanas, a las calles para manifestar en contra de un aumento del 7% en el transporte publico. Lo que parecía una protesta totalmente local, se replico en otras ciudades y lo que parecía un tema puntal, se transformo en la punta de un iceberg de la situación del pueblo brasileño. De inmediato todo esto se transformo en noticia internacional que es y sigue estando cubierto por muchos medios y redes sociales. Profundicemos un poco mas en este iceberg.Lo que estas manifestaciones hacen evidente es que hay un descontento generalizado sobre la narrativa que se ha construido en los últimos 10 años en Brasil. Una narrativa de una economía competitiva que ha hecho que el país se convierta en miembro de BRIC, en la 5 economía del mundo, adoptara políticas de inclusión que se materializarían con los 40 millones de personas que se “sumaron” a la clase media, políticas de afirmación, la inclusión de afrodescendientes e indígenas. Es claro que esta narrativa se desacelero y hasta podríamos decir se paro.Y se suma también que Brasil será la anfitriona de dos mega eventos, el Mundial de Futbol en 2014 y las Olimpiadas en 2016, sin contar con algo menos mega pero que igualmente incurrirá en enorme gastos como la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud, en un mes, terminamos teniendo una combinación de variables que hace que el pueblo brasileño exprese su insatisfacción frente a lo que no pareciera tan evidente: las dos Brasil que conviven y que son consecuencia de esta narrativa.Las formas de democracia participativa, otra narrativa en la que tanto trabajo y esfuerzo de articulación ha puesto el pueblo brasileño desde hace 20 años, también se ven en peligro, al encontrarse cooptadas por megaproyectos e infraestructuras inverosímiles. El racismo continua presente de modo encubierto y se visibiliza con la culpabilización de los lideres indígenas como obstáculos para el “progreso” y quizás la muestra mas indudable del desmantelamiento de este logro del pueblo brasileño, es que la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, no parece abocarse a la defensa y protección de derechos y libertades que sufren muchísimos hijos de la tierra en nombre de la incontrolable producción de soja y los agrocombustibles y la cría de ganado que son los motores y sostenedores de esta economía competitiva y feroz. Hoy la Comisión de Derechos Humanos esta en manos de un pastor que esta obsesionado con la “cura gay”. Que mas añadir?Es indiscutible que como Iglesia, como pueblo de Dios peregrino en Brasil estamos invitados a volver a nuestra vocación profética. Esta realidad nos cuestiona y nos obliga a tomar partido, porque Dios toma partido, porque Jesús toma partido.Esta vocación profética es un llamado a testimoniar con nuestras vidas la Alianza entre Dios y su pueblo. Una Alianza que establece una nueva economía, una economía (administración de la casa) que tiene como eje la ley de la fraternidad y la sororidad.Hoy estamos invitados como Iglesia, como bautizados, como creyentes, a participar activamente en demostraciones populares que tienen lugar en las distintas ciudades, a salir a las calles de Sao Paolo, Recife, Rio, Curitiba, Joao Pessoa. Estamos invitados predicar desde nuestros pulpitos que creemos en la Resurrección de Cristo, que la Resurrección trajo un nuevo orden de justicia, que la Resurrección no es darle vida a un cadáver sino justicia a las victimas. Y así, luchar porque todos tengan acceso a la salud, a la educación, a una retribución justa por un trabajo cumplido, a luchar para que el Reino se instaure aquí y ahora.Hoy estamos invitados también a seguir caminando los estrechos corredores de los asentamientos mas pobres de nuestras ciudades, en Goaina, Las Palmas, Rio, Santa María, las polvorientas y calurosas calles de Porto Velho, Belem, Campo Grande, Linea 40 en la Amazonia, a seguir visitando, compartiendo las alegrías y las tristezas, los anhelos y esperanzas de la gente, sirviendo y poniendo la mesa para nuestros hermanos mas pobres que ven desde lejos esta bonanza no estén mas esperando de las migajas que caen del banquete.Hoy mas que nunca estamos invitados a construir esa economía del reino, economía a partir de los pobres y excluidos, que se construye desde el grito y el canto de nuestro pueblo, una economía de compasión solidaria con los que están al costado del camino, de indignación profética y de presencia amorosa que abraza y consuela.Hoy mas que nunca estamos invitados a proclamar con nuestras voces, pero también con nuestros pies y nuestras manos, con nuestros corazones que Dios camina junto a su pueblo pobre, que tiene memoria del mas pequeño de su pueblo y que ha puesto su morada entre nosotros. — Monica Vega es una misionera en la Iglesia Episcopal. Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Rector Smithfield, NC Youth Minister Lorton, VA Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Featured Jobs & Calls Por Monica VegaPosted Jun 24, 2013 Rector Bath, NC Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Rector Washington, DC Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Rector Knoxville, TN Rector Shreveport, LA Rector Pittsburgh, PA Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK
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Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News ServiceEditor’s note: On March 16, El Salvador’s electoral tribunal proclaimed Salvador Sánchez Cerén as the winner of the presidential elections. Sánchez Cerén, of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), received 50.1 percent of the votes, while his opponent Norman Quijano, of the Nationalist Republican Alliance, or ARENA, received 49.9 percent. For ENS video interviews with El Salvador election observers, click here.[Episcopal News Service – San Salvador, El Salvador] By 5 a.m. on Feb. 2, international and national election observers began arriving at voting stations, two hours before the start of El Salvador’s presidential elections.Their job was to keep watch: to attend the unpacking and cataloging of the election packets and the setup of the voting stations; impartially to observe voters casting ballots throughout the day, vigilant for signs of irregularity, evidence of fraud or misconduct, or citizens being denied their vote.Votantes esperan de pie ante la puerta del centro de votación de San Martín después de las 7:00 A.M. hora en que comenzaban las elecciones.At 7:35 a.m., as the National Police held voters outside the gate at San Martin, a municipality located a 25-minute drive east of San Salvador, David James, an Anglican observer from Canada, and Carlos Duran Flores, a national observer, called in the first of three reports they were required to file throughout the 14-plus-hour day. The report included the fact that one of the center’s nine voting stations hadn’t received its election packet until after 6:30 a.m., delaying the opening of the polls — a common observation across voting centers countrywide.Besides the late start, a bit of confusion and an overall sense that some election workers were ill-trained, “things seemed to be going reasonably well,” said James, speaking just after 7 a.m. from his post in San Martin.To win in the first round of elections, the president and vice president needed 50 percent of the vote, plus one vote. As of Feb. 3 in the evening, the two major parties, the left-leaning Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, or FMLN, and the right-leaning Nationalist Republican Alliance, or ARENA, had received 48.93 and 38.95 percent of the vote, respectively. El Salvador’s electoral tribunal plans to release official figures on Feb. 5. A runoff likely will occur on March 9. The next five-year presidential term begins on June 1.El Salvador’s electorate votes for a party by paper ballot. At the close of the polls, election workers representing the ARENA, FMLN and UNIDAD parties, counted the ballots. Each individual voting station handled up to 500 voters. At 7 p.m., when observers filed their third report, some stations still were counting.Three vigilantes, or “watchmen,” representing each of three major political parties served at each individual voting station, in addition to the election workers. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News ServiceIncluded among some 3,000 international and national election observers, 26 Anglicans from Canada arrived in El Salvador on Jan. 29. They came in advance of the election to gain a better understanding of the country’s electoral process by participating in a Foundation Cristosal Global School course providing historical context and perspective on the building of democracy in a post-conflict society, and to learn about their observer responsibilities. Foundation Cristosal is a San Salvador-based human rights and community development organization.“I think it’s been going really, really well so far. I’m glad to be part of a group that is behaving professionally and taking the task very seriously,” said Olivia Amadon, global school coordinator, after the polls closed and final reports were filed.This year, the local ecumenical chapter of the Latin America Council of Churches, or FECLAI, which has 20 years of election observer experience in El Salvador, and Cristosal participated in a National Observation Network. It is using statistical data about election observations to create a report tracking anomalies and to provide a statistically accurate sample of the voting-station counts that can be compared alongside official electoral tribunal accounts to verify accuracy.“That’s something that is really important because, for instance, I was in Honduras recently, and we saw a lot of anomalies in the elections there,” Amadon said. “We saw a lot of vote-buying, voter intimidation, acts of violence, people getting kidnapped so they couldn’t join the voting tables … but in the end, the biggest fraud actually happened on the part of the electoral tribunal.”A delegation of Anglican-Episcopal election observers from Canada and the United States traveled to El Salvador to help ensure the transparency and legitimacy of the Feb. 2 presidential elections. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News ServiceIn Honduras, the electoral tribunal’s vote count didn’t match the election workers’ count. Both major candidates claimed victory. The country swore in conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez as president on Jan. 27.“I think that speaks to the importance of election observation: verifying and legitimizing election results because these institutions are still very young and have their own weaknesses,” Amadon added. “Democracy in El Salvador has only been around for 20 years; it’s still very young, and after what I’ve seen today, it’s probably one of the most successful election processes that I’ve ever seen.”A woman dips her finger in paint after casting her vote in El Salvador’s Feb. 2 presidential elections. Sears offered a 20 percent discount for voters with paint-stained fingers on Feb. 2 Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News ServiceFraud, corruption and voter irregularity often have gone hand-in-hand with elections in Latin America. But in the immediate aftermath of the Feb. 2 elections, both the observers and the media described the El Salvador voting as “tranquil” and “ordered.”Civil warFrom 1980-1992, El Salvador suffered a brutal civil war fought between its U.S.-backed, military led-government and a coalition of guerrilla groups, organized as the FMLN, which later became a political party. The war was fueled mostly by the gross inequalities that existed between a small group of wealthy elites who controlled the government and the economy and the majority of the population that lived in extreme poverty.“The church went with the people because it can’t serve two masters,” said Diocese of El Salvador Bishop Martín Barahona during a Jan. 30 welcoming of the observer delegation.“The U.S. government supported the government and the military, but the people in the United States supported the people, as did the Episcopal Church.”The revolution that began in El Salvador in 1980 as an armed struggle continues today as civic society and human rights and social justice organizations work to build, educate and empower the country’s citizenry, according to civic and human rights organizations.When the war started, the church decided to join the revolution; the bishop is the bishop of the people, Barahona said. That is why it’s important to keep working for a functioning democracy, “and that is why you are here as observers,” he said. “Because we ask people to testify to what is working and what isn’t … no human model is perfect, but we have to keep working at it.”The solidarity movement in El Salvador had its beginnings in the Second Vatican Council. During the civil war, Roman Catholic and historic Protestant churches played a major role in exposing human rights violations including mass murders and forced disappearances.“The churches’ effort in bringing these violations to light is what prevented an escalation of violence in El Salvador,” said Noah Bullock, Foundation Cristosal executive director. “So those relationships of solidarity mattered, and they continue to matter today as the country continues to struggle as a democracy.”Angela Smith, right, and six other election observers from the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago traveled to El Salvador for the Feb. 2 presidential elections. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News ServiceThe day before the elections, observers, including the group from the Anglican Church of Canada and seven Episcopalians from the Diocese of Chicago, gathered at San Juan Evangelista, an Anglican-Episcopal Church in San Salvador that during the war served as a camp for internally displaced people. There, they learned about the country’s electoral context, past and present, and their role as observers, with respect to the law, nonintervention, neutrality, objectivity and impartiality. The training was coordinated by FECLAI and the ISD (the Social Initiative for Democracy).The National Observation Network was composed of more than 20 churches and civil society organizations encompassing more than 1,100 international and national observers, half of the total. The partner organizations shared resources that allowed the network to conduct a systematic observation including reports and a statistical representation of total votes cast, a media campaign to inform the electorate and legal resources to make formal denouncements of any illegal activities.El Salvador has held six “democratic and free” post-military-controlled elections, said Eduardo Escobar, who led the observer training on behalf of ISD.“We’re still in the process of letting the dust settle and understanding democracy,” Escobar said. “Sometimes we take one step forward and two steps back, and sometimes we take a step to the side and stay the same.”In 1931, the people of El Salvador elected by popular majority President Arturo Aranjo, who began implementing social programs. A year later, during a coup d’état, General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez became president. From 1932 to 1979, a military regime governed El Salvador – the president was a military figure serving a five- to-six-year term – in the fashion typical of Latin America’s hardline, rightist military governments aligned with the U.S. Government in its Cold War fight against communism.Unlike in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, where a single president governed, sometimes for decades, regular “elections” in El Salvador gave the impression of democracy, though fraud persisted throughout the 1970s and in the elections held during the civil war.Noah Bullock, executive director of Foundation Cristosal, and Saul Geller, an 84-year-old observer from Vancouver, British Columbia, go over one of three reports observers were expected to file at various stages of the election process. It was the second time Geller had traveled to El Salvador to observe elections. The first time was in 2009 for municipal elections. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News ServiceRecent elections have been characterized as imperfect but substantially improved, said Bullock.The FMLN won the presidency for the first time in 2009, and there has been a lot of speculation in the media surrounding what a second win for the FMLN would mean; speculation that has included fear-mongering both locally and internationally.“A victory and second consecutive administration for the FMLN would be an affirmation of the left’s social programs and policy agenda and would be an opportunity to deepen that agenda with a greater mandate from the electorate,” said Bullock. “Because the election is likely to go into a second round, the addition of a third contender in the UNIDAD party signifies that in order to govern either the FMLN or ARENA will have to negotiate alliances.“In theory, this type of check is good for democratic governance. In reality, the quality of the political offering is not much improved by UNIDAD. The campaign has been more of competition between populist promises than a serious policy debate.”Out of a field of five candidates, three dominated the presidential race: current Vice President Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the FMLN; San Salvador Mayor Norman Quijano of ARENA; and former ARENA President Antonio Saca, representing a coalition under the umbrella of UNIDAD. (El Salvador’s constitution prohibits presidents from serving consecutive terms; this election marked the first time a former president stood for election with a different party.)Chris Pilon, a seminarian at the Anglican seminary at Huron College in London, Ontario, oversees the final election paperwork at a voting center in an elementary school in Ilopango. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News ServiceSecurity and economic development top concernsSecurity in a country that has been terrorized by gang violence related to global narcotics trafficking and crippled economic expansion were the topics of a Jan. 31 presidential forum attended by the election observers and the vice-presidential candidates at the Sheraton Hotel. The vice-presidential candidates representing the three major parties clarified their party platforms related to these issues in five-minute presentations, then answered three, identical questions related to security and economic development before taking questions from the audience.Although election observers were to remain neutral and impartial, attending the forum allowed them to get a better understanding of the country’s everyday realities. Though it has dropped in the last year, the homicide rate in El Salvador is among the world’s highest. Most of the working population is unemployed, underemployed or working in the informal economy, and one in four families relies on remittances from relatives working abroad to pay monthly expenses. A majority of the estimated 2 million Salvadorans abroad live in the United States. Two of three Salvadorans who have gotten jobs in the last 30 years found them in the United States, according to the United Nations 2013 Development Report.El Salvador is in its third year of a five-year U.S.-supported effort to enhance democracy, safety and economic growth through a Partnership for Growth Joint Country Action Plan that was signed in 2011, two years into the current Salvadoran administration.Concerned that the United States might influence the elections, human rights and social justice groups joined forces in writing a series of letters to Secretary of State John Kerry and held press conferences asking the United States to take a neutral position. On Dec. 16, U.S. Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte said the United States “would not be an actor” in the Feb. 2 elections.Elliott Abrams, a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration and assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs in the Ronald Reagan administration, weighed in in the Washington Post in support of El Salvador’s conservatives. The New York Times published an op-ed by William G. Walker, a retired career diplomat, who served as the United States ambassador to El Salvador from 1988 to 1992, in response to Abrams suggesting the left was not to be feared.Changes to the voting systemThere are 6.3 million Salvadorans living in 14 departments, or states, in a country the size of Massachusetts. As in the United States and Canada, voters must be at least 18 years old. And in El Salvador, they must present a valid photo ID, and the photo must match the photo alongside their name on the voter registration manifest posted at their designated voting station.Volunteers work the phones at the headquarters of the Social Initiative for Democracy, taking calls from election observers filing reports and information for the rapid count that followed the close of the polls. Photo: Lynette Wilson/Episcopal News ServiceMajor changes in the electoral system took place in advance of the Feb. 2 elections. A residential voting system was implemented, whereby the country’s 4.8 million registered voters vote in their communities, rather than travel to regional voting centers organized alphabetically. This increased the number of voting centers from 460 to 1,591, with some 10,000 individual voting stations. And members of the Salvadoran diaspora, the majority living in the United States and Canada, were eligible to vote.At a voting center in a soccer field in Soyapango, one of the most densely populated and dangerous municipalities in the country, observers said that despite a “general suspicion of the parties” the voting took on a festive air and that it was obvious that the people wanted transparency in the election process and their voices to be heard.“They really believe their vote makes a difference; in Canada, we don’t see our vote as counting anymore,” said observer Anne Kessler, 21, a member of St. Mary’s Kerrisdale in Vancouver, British Columbia. “Maybe they are building a better democracy than we are.”The day following the elections, in a press conference, FECLAI and the National Observation Network presented the results of the previous day’s work. Based on their data collection and observation, the leadership declared electoral fraud in El Salvador a thing of the past.— Lynette Wilson is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. She served as an election observer among the Anglican-Episcopal delegation. 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