The First Anniversary of El Seminario Episcopal Anglicano of El Salvador

By the Rev. Miguel A. Hernandez

January 11, 2018


It has been already a year since El Seminario Episcopal Anglicano of El

Salvador was born. Who would have thought that my incursion into theological

education would bring me to teach seminary-level classes in El Salvador? It would have

never crossed my mind, but it became a reality.

Well, this past December 2017, Leonor Molina-Hernandez, my wife, and I

traveled to El Salvador to witness the conclusion of the first year of classes at El

Seminario. After concluding my last class for the semester in San Salvador, we had a

special ceremony in which the seminarians, the teachers as well as the administration

were recognized for their labor of love. At the celebration, we had the opportunity to

share with an Anglican Youth Group from Guatemala who were traveling throughout

Central America, and El Salvador was their first stop before Christmas as they visited

Anglican Churches in every country. After the celebration, we visited a popular tourist

place named Los Planes de Renderos where we enjoyed some delicious pupusas (staffed

tortillas) while being serenated with mariachi music. Food with music is the right thing

to do in a Salvadoran gathering. It sounds like a sacrament, and it is!


There were six students, consisting of four women and two men, who completed

the first two ciclos (semesters) for the first year of classes. I had the opportunity to teach

Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), and New Testament in Spanish. The classes were offered

via Facebook. At first, it was a challenge to get the technology to work, and afterwards,

we were able to have the end-to-end video classes with minor issues. I would say that

the desire to learn is one of the most observable characteristics of the students. For any

on-line courses, the support of the Seminary is crucial, and I can say that the persons

assisting with the technology and the materials were the best a teacher can ask for.

Where there is a will there is away, indeed!


This was a mission trip that also included visiting other places like El Maizal in

Sonsonate. I was invited to address the clergy at the Diocese of El Salvador with the

theme: the Leadership of Jesus. This is an important topic since we tend to forget that

Jesus’ message was to serve those in our communities. As part of the talk, we had the

opportunity to delve into the New Testament passages in which Jesus talk about “who is greater among you” (Luke 9:46), and we also talk about what was expected of those

of us who call ourselves Christians (Mark 8:34-38). These are difficult texts for those who

want to climb the ladder of success in the church, or in any other organization, to

achieve a position of power and prestige. We need to read those texts regularly so that

we can be the church of Christ (of love), and not the church of the empire (of power).

During the presentation, we had the opportunity to dialogue about the current situation

in El Salvador, and how to bring change in a society that is broken as a result of injustice

and unmet expectations from the political parties that have had a detrimental effect on

the poor due to unemployment, lack of educational opportunities, scarcity of drinking

water in some places, and most of all for the constant migration of young people to the

USA looking for opportunities that they cannot find in El Salvador. The challenges are

great, and the church must be prayerfully involved in accompanying those in need to

overcome some basic human needs. Recently, we have heard of the sad news of the

cancelation of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans by the Trump

administration. This issue by itself will compound the suffering of the people in El

Salvador and in the USA.


Another mission opportunity took place as we visited the Anglican Episcopal

communities of El Carmen and San Juan de Letrán in Usulután. These two communities

are located in a remote and hard-to-get place in the country side were one have to wait

for hours after a storm in order to cross a river since there is no bridge. Life is hard in

this area. One of the residents was explaining to me how these communities were

established after El Salvador Peace Accords were signed in México in 1992. He said,

“we came here with our things, and we slept under the trees. There was nothing here.

We had just grass and trees, and we opened the way to start the community.” I

thought about the images in the foundation of Macondo depicted in the magical novel

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Now, these two

communities enjoy a local clinic that a doctor visits regularly, a school that offers classes

up to the third grade, and running water that the church has secured using Cuban

technology. In these communities, a group of six women and a man are learning to saw so

that they can improve their chances of getting a job, and perhaps in the future to start a

cooperative where they can employ themselves when the harvest of corn and other

vegetables have concluded.

These are some of the opportunities that the seminarians at El Seminario

Episcopal Anglicano of El Salvador will have as they become involved in their

communities around the country. The field is ripe! The question is always: are you

willing to respond to the call?


The Rev. Miguel A. Hernandez is the Priest-in-Charge at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in West Orange, NJ. He is an Adjunct Faculty at the Newark School of Theology, General Theological Seminary, and El Seminario Episcopal Anglicano of El Salvador. Rev. Hernandez is completing his Doctor of Ministry degree at New York Theological Seminary.