The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 7

summer ConFerenCe

Salsa & Solidarity:

Reflections from the 2017 Summer Conference
by Beth Jackson-Jordan

F

or me, this year's BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz (Baptists
for Peace) Summer Conference (aka "Peace Camp") was a
deeply renewing experience. In daily Bible Studies, theologian
Dr. Elsa Tamez led us through the book of James, reminding
us that faith without the solidarity of love is not authentic.
In a workshop, I learned about the work of olga Alvarado, a mexican activist who leads an ecumenical outreach to
migrants traveling to or returning from the uS border. She
reflected, "We think at first that we humanize and give them
dignity, but really they humanize us because they help us acknowledge our vulnerability".
In another moving workshop, Dalia Juárez, Eleazar Encino
and Aurelia Jimenez, leaders from the Seminario Intercultural
mayense, (mayan Intercultural Seminary) in the mexican
state of chiapas, described their work providing theological
training and empowerment for Indigenous people still fighting
for dignity and freedom within mexico.
Perhaps my most moving moment happened in a workshop on conflict resolution. A Mexican pastor described her
first few weeks as a new pastor in a community where many
people work to harvest sugar cane. Workers first burn the fields
and then walk through to collect the stalks, which leaves them
covered in ashes and dirt.
In her first service, the
pastor noticed that none
of the sugar cane workers
were in attendance. When
she visited with them the
following week, they told
her that because of their
dirty, ash-covered clothing,
they didn't feel welcomed in
church. the next Sunday, the
pastor showed up for church,
dirty and covered in ashes.

She walked up to the pulpit and led the service, clothed as
one of the sugar cane workers. this act of solidarity had more
impact than any sermon ever could. Word of her surprising
act spread and the next week, the congregation was filled with
sugar cane workers as well as original members who welcomed
them.
Peace Camp was held in Misión Mazahua, a lovely rural
retreat setting near San Felipe del Progreso in the western part
of the State of Mexico. The theme for this year was "Clothing
each other in hope." this theme was beautifully interpreted
in the chorus of a song composed especially for this gathering:
"Tu nos llamas a abrir los brazos, desde rincones sin dignidad,
a arroparnos con esperanza, retazos de amor: solidaridad."
(You are calling us to embrace life, from the corners of dignity, clothing
each other with hope and faith, pieces of love: solidarity.)
this was a historic gathering of Baptists from North, central and South America and the caribbean all committed to
the work of peace and justice in our various contexts as people
of faith. It was a transformative week of living, learning and
worshiping together despite differences of language and culture. the planning and leadership was provided by a talented
Please see "Salsa & Solidarity" on page 11

Right: The last night
of this year's Summer
Conference was capped
off with food and
dancing. Photo by Andy
Smith Photography.

Baptist Peacemaker

Oct-Dec 2017

7



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017

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The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 32
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/38-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-4
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-3
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-2
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-3
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-2
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/35-4
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/35-3
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/35-2
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/35-1
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-4
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-3
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-2
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-1
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com