Who We Are
The South has received a lot of bad things from the
North so seeing you with different ideas is the grace of God. I believe you
have been chosen by God to erase distances….You took initiative to see us
and learn about our basic needs. It makes us feel we have value. We feel we
can give something to you also. Together we can make a better world."
Sister Guadelupe of Guarjila, El Salvador to the WUMC first
is Sister Parish?
Sister Parish is an ecumenical, non-profit organization. Its goal is to
foster mutual understanding and commitment to peace and justice among people
in North and Latin America in order to build and celebrate together the
reign of God. This goal is achieved by linking congregations from the North
with congregations in the South so that each may experience the realities of
the other's lives and cultures on a religious, political, social, and
economic level. Key to the program is the concept of mutuality and
Parish currently has established more than thirty linkages between
congregations throughout the US with those in Guatemala, El Salvador,
Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Texas-Mexico border region. These
relationships involve a range of denominations, including Luteran, Catholic,
Methodist, and Presbyterian.
Why did WUMC become involved?
We believe that a sister relationship offers a tremendous opportunity to
WUMC to live out its commitment to peace with justice in a hands-on manner.
We believe that the relationship will strengthen us by adding a global
dimension to the work of our community. We also believe that a sister church
- Offer us an opportunity to learn about and
respond to the economic and social realities of the world in the context
of a faith-based relationship.
- Offer us and the youth of our community an
opportunity to reach beyond the boundaries of class, race, ethnicity, and
- Offer our community an opportunity to give AND
- Transform us in challenging, faith-deepening,
and life-giving ways that we cannot yet foresee.
What is our commitment?
We have committed to develop, build and nurture a sister relationship for a
minimum of three years.
Have we established a relationship with a
Yes. The first delegation of eleven people who were representative of our
community visited Guarjila, El Salvador in the spring of 2000 and a second
delegation of eleven people visited in the spring of 2001. In 2003, a
delegation of visitors from Guarjila to Seattle were unable to get visas to
travel to the US, but in the spring we welcomed three members of
the community to Seattle. On our fourth delegation, we sent three youth and
three adults to Guarjila to focus on youth issues there. This group traveled
from Dec. 26, 2003-Jan 3, 2004.
When we got back from Guarjila and started talking about what it was that
we most wanted to share with you, we seemed to agree on several things:
number one, how much fun the youth from our two communities had together;
number two, how amazing the people of Guarjila are in general; and number
three, how disconcerting it was to hear about the present and potential
future economic situation that our friends in Guarjila face. The youth we
met in Guarjila are wise, they are incredibly strong, and they are eloquent
in their analysis of what’s going on in their country. We realized that
perhaps we should just let their own words form the basis of the sermon.
How could we say it any better? We have each, therefore, taken on the voice
of a person whose words particularly inspired us. Click
to read the full text of the sermon that we delivered at WUMC on February 2,
2003. You can also see some of our pictures in the "photos"
section of this web site.
What kind of community is Guarjila?
Guarjila is a community with great faith, inspiring spirit, and many
challenges. The citizens of Guarjila, mostly poor subsistence farmers,
escaped from their homelands during the torture and destruction of the Civil
War in the 1980's. They lived in Honduran refugee camps for seven years,
until the oppression there became so great that in 1987 they sought to
return to their homeland. The Civil War still ravaged until the Peace
Accords of 1992. They have sought to create a town where all people have
housing, water, food, and medical care and where all children can go to
How do I get involved?
You can participate on many levels, including education, support,
fundraising, or preparing to be a part of a delegation. Contact