EL SALVADOR: IARCA primate, two others survive gunfire

March 17, 2010

he Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador March 18 publicly denounced the attempted murder of Bishop Martín Barahona and two others, according to a news release issued by the church.

The incident happened in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, on March 17 when an unknown man approached and fired upon Barahona, a church musician and Francis Martínez, the bishop's driver, according to news reports. Barahona was unharmed, but Martinez was hit in the stomach and his arm was broken by one of the gunshots. He is in "grave but stable condition," said the Rev. Lee Alison Crawford, rector of Trinity Church in Rutland, Vermont, and a member of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, in a telephone interview with ENS.

"At this point we don't know if there was a particular motivation or whether this was random, which is symptomatic of the pervasive violence that affects all sectors of daily life in El Salvador," she said.

Crawford, who is the canon missioner of the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador, said she had been in touch with church members in El Salvador after receiving word of the shooting.

The ongoing violence in the country, she said, comes from a "complex combination" of factors, including gang and other criminal activity, a "profusion of arms floating around the country" since the end of the civil war in the early 1990s and the country's economic stresses.

Barahona, 67, became bishop of the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador in 1992, and is the primate of the Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America (IARCA). Barahona is scheduled to participate in a service commemorating the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Salvadoran Roman Catholic Archbishop Óscar Romero to be held March 27 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

The province, formed in 1998, consists of the dioceses of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. The Episcopal Church has been in a "covenant partnership" with IARCA since its creation. More information about the history of the relationship between the province and the Episcopal Church and the covenant partnership is here.

The Salvadoran church was scheduled to hold a news conference about the shooting on the evening of March 18.