Seventy-two leaders from El Salvador and Guatemala participated in a three day retreat in San Salvador in January 2013. The theme of the training was “Power is in the Relationship”, offering COFOA leaders an opportunity to reflect on their public ministry, consider how to build intentional public relationships, and learn a set of practical tools and principles that guide their faith-based organizing.
The leaders had a unique opportunity to meet and talk with each other, and they represented a remarkable cross-section of Central Americans who share a desire to empower people to improve their communities. Alberto Velazquez, COFOA Director, staff, clergy and leaders all led training sessions. Guest presenters were John Baumann, SJ, PICO National Network, who gave a history of PICO and overview of the PICO model; Juan Pablo Duran, former legislator of the La Paz Department, who gave an overview of the importance of democracy and civic engagement; Ernesto Lopez, TV talk show host on Chanel 21, who gave an inspirational presentation on the importance of media in our work; and Teresa Flores from CCISCO/California who described her organizing with PICO in the US.