Salvadoran Lutheran Synod
Who is the Salvadoran Lutheran Church in El Salvador and what are its ministries?
Children at the Lutheran School in St. Jorge welcome visitors
The Salvadoran Lutheran Church (Iglesia Luterana Salvadoreña - ILS
) is a member of the Lutheran World Federation
and the Communion of Central American Lutheran Churches (CILCA). The ILS is the largest Lutheran church in Central America with 15,000 active members in 60+ congregations. Its holistic approach to ministry emphasizes ongoing pastoral-theological education for its more than 80 pastors, evangelists and catechists, and community-based programs for the care of creation, disaster prevention & mitigation, holistic health care, HIV & AIDS awareness, human rights and advocacy.
How do the Salvadoran Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
My Good Jesus Lutheran Church in Usulutan
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards a church-to-church relationship with the SLS. This relationship is deepened and extended by its relationships, through the ELCA Companion Synods program, with the ELCA Greater Milwaukee, Sierra Pacific, and Metro Washington, D.C. synods.
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the ILS including pastoral-theological formation, contextual evangelism and HIV and AIDS awareness.
The ELCA also funds signficant work through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a global communion of 140 churches (including the ELCA) and 68 million people that is grounded in a common Lutheran faith. The LWF provides space for Lutherans from around the world to share joys, challenges, and expertise as they seek the healing of the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help support the Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF’s relief and development arm, and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), which focuses on holistic ministries through which the church participates in God’s mission to all creation. ELCA World Hunger
funds help support the LWF Department of World Service in El Salvador
. This regional program works in the western area of Sonsonate and helps to strengthen social, peasant and indigenous organizations in their efforts to:
- Define agrarian and food policies that lead to sustainable development and greater food security
- develop local capacities for disaster prevention and the setting up of risk management systems
- Defend and protect the environment including water, soil and the air.
The ELCA also works in El Salvador through Lutheran World Relief (LWR). A ministry of the ELCA, LWR is a U.S.- based agency that works with community-based partners in 50 countries. ELCA World Hunger funds help to support the work that focuses on:
- Helping farmers reactivate their agricultural programs
- Improving social and environmental conditions for rural communities
- Training families in sustainable gardening practices
- Working with communities to identify hazards and engage in risk management
- Supporting organic and sustainable coffee production
El Salvador: The context in which the SLS serves
A typical view in El Salvador
El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. For much of the 20th century, national economic life was controlled by an economic oligarchy and its political affairs were controlled by military dictators from 1932 to 84. Growing political and economic unrest erupted in a civil war which lasted from 1980-92 and claimed the lives of more than 75,000 people. Peace accords signed in January 1992 ended the war, brought the Salvadoran military under civilian control and allowed the former FMLN guerillas to form a political party and participate in elections.
In the post-war period, political freedom has increased. All elections held since 1994 have included the participation of a broad range of political parties. However, only limited progress has been made in addressing the economic poverty and inequality, compounded even further by a national climate of violent crime, insecurity and impunity. Lacking economic opportunities in their own country, an estimated 300-700 Salvadorans leave El Salvador each day and emigrate to the North. The remittances they send back to their relatives in El Salvador are the single most important source of foreign income for the Salvadoran economy, equaling all other sources of export income combined.
By virtue of its location on the earthquake-prone Ring of Fire and at latitudes which place the country in the path of hurricanes, El Salvador frequently suffers the effects of natural disasters. The human and material costs of these recurring natural phenomena place additional burdens on the national economy and further add to the numbers of poor, homeless and jobless people in the country.
For up-to-date information on El Salvador, type “El Salvador” into an online search engine or visit: