Bishop Barahona has drawn flack from conservative U.S. Episcopalians, some in his own province, and some of the other Anglican primates for participating in the consecration of a partnered gay man as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. He's not a person to shy from the disapproval of some in order to serve the wellbeing of the many. A Central American bishop of conscience hardly could be. Apparently he found the shocking Robinson installation a no-brainer. He wrote:
On our walk with the Bishop we stopped by the murals in Balmy Alley that, among other themes, demonstrate how closely the Mission neighborhood has long felt linked to struggles in Central America.
The murals include a chilling angle on El Salvador's Oscar Romero.
Serious conversation followed about how our little parish can help Bishop Martin's efforts. Fr. John Kirkley of St. Johns listened intently. The global economy forces mass migrations of people looking for work to survive. How can those of us who enjoy relative security welcome and assist those set in motion by these impersonal forces?
We were also able to offer Bishop Martin a chance to see the work of St. John's Educational Thresholds Center, a community youth development project operating in the facilities of Marshall School. Once upon a time, years ago, SJETC was a project of the parish. Today it’s a Mission district anchor from thousands of parents and children.
As Ario Salazar explained to the Bishop that they'd been teaching the children the essential Mission District skill of telling the difference between homeless poor people and dangerous drug addicts and predators, one of our party whispered to me: "Maybe they could teach the whole country that distinction?"
We then visited the Mujeres Unidas y Activas in the Women's Building on 18th St. The MUAs help Latina immigrants to support each other to find their feet in a new country and to work for their communities. They had discussions of a possible exchange with Salvadoran women who are working in Bishop Martin's country to help prospective immigrants understand the realities involved in coming to the United States.
Two bishops in the Mission in a threeday span, both in the 'hood out of concern for our immigrants. Must be something good in the air!