WASHINGTON — The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, members from Washington National Cathedral’s LGBT group, and the Human Rights Campaign are among those joining an international pilgrimage to El Salvador this coming July. Organized in partnership with Foundation Cristosal, a faith-based human rights and community development NGO based in San Salvador, LGBT participants from across North America will travel to El Salvador for a weeklong field course to engage with members of the LGBT community there while also examining the unique role of the Anglican-Episcopal Church within the local LGBT community.

“This is a very special opportunity for those of us traveling to San Salvador this July as LGBT North Americans who are also people of faith. The Anglican-Episcopal Church of El Salvador has become known as one of the few fully LGBT-affirming churches in all of Central America,” said Richard M. Weinberg, associate director of programs at the Cathedral. “Most importantly, though, I think the opportunity to engage with an LGBT community in a different context will help break down the social and cultural barriers that separate us as a global community striving for worldwide equality while uniting as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

As part of the week’s itinerary, which includes meetings with local LGBT community activists, human rights experts, and government representatives, the short documentary, “Before God, We Are All Family” will be screened for the San Salvador community, marking the second time the Human Right Campaign Foundation’s “A La Familia” program travels to Central America.

“The guiding principle of HRC’s A La Familia program is that as LGBT people we should not be forced to choose between whom we love, what we believe, and where we practice our faith,” said Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, manager of HRC’s faith outreach to Latin American communities. “It is a privilege for us to be part of the progress that the LGBT community is already making in El Salvador. Global equality will be achieved when we learn to respect and support each other and combat hatred and intolerance regardless of borders and with respect to self-determination.”

The course runs July 7–14, 2014, and is open to anyone interested in joining. The $785 tuition includes accommodations, meals, and all local activities and transportation. Registration deadline is May 30. Contact Richard Weinberg at [email protected] for more information.

SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral