Our Sister Parish
Historical Calendar
Historical Calendar
2001 - 2009

August, 2001: The first youth delegation visited the Parish in Berlin, with two youths from Heartland Presbyterian Church and two youths from Trinity Presbyterian Church, and with adult representatives from each of those churches.

August, 2001: Tomas Antonio Ventura from El Tablon and Jose Luis "Chepe" Guerreo from Berlin, visited the Des Moines Presbytery to make presentations to several congregations and special events.

September, 2001: Milagro del Carmen Rodriguez Lopez visited the Des Moines Presbytery to make presentations to several congregations and to participate in the Commissioning Service for Reverend Robert Cook that designated him as Des Moines Presbytery's Missionary to El Salvador.

October 19, 2001: Reverend Robert Cook moved to El Salvador, as Des Moines Presbytery's designated missionary to El Salvador and to live and work as a member of the Parish Pastoral Team at the Parish of Saint Joseph.

October, 2001: An eight-person delegation from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa, visited the canton of San Francisco in the Parish of Saint Joseph to investigate possibilities for that church's participation in the relationship.

November, 2001: Drilling of a well begins in El Tablon. It is a collaborative effort between Des Moines Presbytery and CIS (Center for International Solidarity) from San Salvador. Aguaviva, a non-profit drilling company, was hired to do the work.

November, 2001: Plans for the construction of the sewing/health/community meeting house in El Tablon are drawn and ground-breaking is planned for December, 2001 or January, 2002.

January 2002: Don and Carmen Hampton, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Indianola, arrive in Berlin to spend two months teaching English classes and to assist Reverend Robert Cook.

February 2002: Reverend Robert Cook returns to Iowa to receive the Bishop Dingman Peace Award from Catholic Peace Ministry, Des Moines, Iowa.

March 2002: Karen and Wayne Martens, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Indianola, join Don and Carmen Hampton in Berlin. The Hamptons and Martens travel to the cantons. It is determined that San Isidro will be the canton with which Trinity establishes a partnership.

A group of fourteen people from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Clarinda, IA, (Missouri River Valley Presbytery) visit Berlin and the cantons. The delegation was en route to La Concepcion, Nicaragua, where Missouri River Valley Presbytery has a partner relationship with a group of churches.

Heartland Presbyterian Church, Clive, Iowa, sends a six-member delegation to El Salvador. Lisa Bock, delegation member, trains a group of Berlin residents to make custom, patchwork bags.

April 2002: Lisa Bock returns to Berlin to deliver three new sewing machines and to complete the sewing lessons.

May 2002: A delegation from Westminster Presbyterian Church, Des Moines, travels to Berlin. They celebrate the installation of the solar panel with the canton San Franciso and visit the canton San Filipe.

August 2002: Bill Fischer, Heartland Presbyterian Church, Clive, visits Berlin and El Tablon to finalize plans for the Community Center. He presented a "Document of Understanding" to the Directiva and the community of El Tablon outlining the goals and responsibilities for the project. He received support from the Directiva, Codeco, the school teachers and other community leaders to proceed with the project as planned.

September 2002: Four members from Trinity United Presbyterian Church traveled in El Salvador September 14 - 21. They spent two days and an overnight in their sister parish, San Isidro. While there, they distributed personal care packets to each home in the village. The packets were donated by Trinity members. They also met with the San Isidro parish team, the Directiva and the sewing academy. They visited the school and met with one of the teachers.

October 2002: Linda Leedberg and Stan Caldwell, Westminster Presbyterian,traveled to Berlin October 11 through 19. They visited the residents of San Francisco, Westminster'ssister parish,onseveral occasions and delivered donated musical instruments.

January 2003: Lisa Bock, Chicago, IL, returned to Berlin to train additional residents how to sew Blanchard Court Bags, an economic development project. Don and Carmen Hampton, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Indianola, IA, arrived in Berlin to assist in English classes at the high school for both teachers and students. They also spent a day in San Isidro, Trinity's sister parish.

February 2003: An eight-member delegation from Heartland Presbyterian traveled to Berlin and to El Tablon, their sister parish. Heartland has partnered with El Tablon to help build four community buildings. The delegation saw three completed buildings and the start of the fourth. Borrowing a project idea from Trinity, the delegation delivered personal care packages door-to-door to "from all the families of Heartland to all the families of El Tablon."

March 2003: A seven-member delegation from Ankeny Presbyterian Church, Ankeny, Iowa traveled to El Salvador March 14 through 21. The first-time delegation experienced Berlin during the national and local elections. The delegation delivered educational supplies to two marginalized schools in Berlin, visited the coffee finca where Our Sister Parish coffee is grown and meeting with the residents of Corozal to explore a partnership of working together to make improvements in their community.

First Presbyterian Church and Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Newton, spent March 22-30. The education team delivered 600 pounds of school supplies and visited local schools. A medical team held four clinic days with 150 adults and children seen per day. The construction team finished seventy-five percent of the 1000 square foot hospitality house which is now Reverend Cook's home. Cash donations totaling $17,300 were made to a variety of projects during the delegation's visit.

May 2003: Westminster, Des Moines, sent a three-person delegation from May 20-27. The three women walked to and photographed all 94 homes in San Francisco, their sister parish. They met with the Directiva of San Francisco to hear about the canton's efforts to raise enough money to have a solar panel installed in every home in the canton. They planted a tree near the church to symbolize the long-term nature of this commitment between San Francisco and Westminster. The delegation also presented them with a banner bearing signatures and best wishes from other Westminster members.

August 2003: Heartland lead a trip with 10 first-time visitors to El Salvador. The group joined residents of El Tablon for a day-long celebration of the completed health clinic, sewing center, bathrooms and kitchen for their community center. They helped feed more than 325 people on this day. The delegation also visited the cantons of Virginia, Munosis, San Felipe, San Isidro and San Francisco.

October 2004:The Westminster delegation completed thetask begun by the previous May delegation who had spent two- and-a-half days walking to every household in San Francisco to take a picture of each of the 94 families that reside throughout the sprawling canton. This delegation shared in a Celebration of the Word with a congregation that spilled out of the packed church in San Francisco. The following day, 92 of the 94 families joined the delegation in another celebration us to receive their photos and a small packet of items they could use in their household.

November 2004: Nancy Lister-Settle and Rev. Kate Stangl accompanied six first timers from West Des Moines Covenant, Corning, Atlantic and Dallas Center churches to El Salvador. The purpose of the first timers' delegation is to introduce Iowans to the history and reality of our Salvadoran partners. They learned about the causes and horrors of the long civil war; they visited memorials and museums; they got to know the Pastoral Team in Berlín and went to see water, building and coffee projects in the parish; they enjoyed a beautiful day at the beach; and they celebrated Thanksgiving and the First Sunday in Advent with Salvadoran brothers and sisters.

December 2004: Lois Crilly, Kent Newman, Meredith Bruns and Erick Davidson visited Berlin and the cantons.

January 2004: University of Iowa Wesley Foundation Delegation

February 2004: A 16-member delegation from Heartland visited Berlin from February 11 through 18. There were 11 first- timers including three teenagers and three members from Wakonda Christian Church. The group delivered kitchen supplies for the Parish Team, special boots, gloves, pants and raingear for the Berlin sanitation workers and two computers -- one for the puppeteer and one for the on-site psychologist. These were all gifts from other church friends. They also delivered school books, cash donations and many other items. The group visited historical sites, met with the Mayor, visited the women’s prison and spent time in El Tablón meeting with the community leaders and spending time with the residents.

May 2004: Saint Catherine of Sienna, Des Moines.

May 2004:First Presbyterian, United Presbyterian, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Newton medical delegation.

June 2004:Saint Boniface Catholic Church, Waukee, IA, visits.

July 2004: Kansas churches visit.

July 2004: A seven-member delegation from Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Indianola visited from July 17 to July 24. They visited San Isidro and their new sister parish, Casa de Zinc.

August 2004: Gary and Diane Badgett and Amy Bickford, from Corning, Iowa, members of Corning Presbyterian Church, brought three portable machines from the church that use salt to make chlorine to purify water.

September 2004: Heartland Presbyterian Church sent an eight-member delegation to El Salvador. They visited the canton Las Talpetates and their sister canton, El Tablon.

September/October 2004: A Westminster, Des Moines, delegation visited and delivered Bibles to their sister canton San Francisco.

November 2004: Des Moines First sent their first delegation. They participated in a march to commemorate the anniversary of the killings of the six Jesuit professors and two women at the University of Central America on November 16, 1989.

December 2004: Lois Crilly, Des Moines, went Berlin to visit Claudia, the young woman she is helping and to celebrate Claudia's birthday!

January 2005: Don Hampton, Trinity United, Indianola, traveled to Berlin to assist Rev. Cook with the delegations visiting this month and with additional scheduling and computer assistance.

The University of Iowa Wesley Foundation and School of Social Work sent a delegation to Berlin. They presented a bust of Oscar Romero to the Pastoral Team for the Casa Pastoral Chapel.

Lewis Randa, the director of the Peace Abby near Boston, MA, presented a mold to the Divina Providencia where Monsignor Romero lived and was martyred, one to the University of Central America where there is a Monsignor Romero Center, and one to the Casa Pastoral. The moldwill be used for making a plate of Monsignor Romero for the 25th anniversary of his martyrdom, which will be the 24th of March, 2005.

A First Timers' Delegation from the Des Moines' Presbytery arrived mid-month for a visit. There were many highlights of the trip including visits to several schools, Virginia (the sister canton of Dallas Center First), and visits to El Mozote and Perquin.

January/Feburary 2005: A delegation of 14 visited Berlin between Jan. 28th and Feb. 4th 2005. The highlight of a Heartland trip is always their visit to El Tablón. This year was even more special because Bill Fisher and Joie Hand chose to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary with their friends and ‘family’ in El Tablón. The Pastoral Team went above and beyond to make this celebration a reality!

Feburary 2005:Tim Maxa, moderator of the Des Moines Presbytery and Jennifer Hines, administrative assistant in the presbytery office, visited Berlin.

March 2005: Newton First Presbyterian and Sacred Heart Catholic Church visited El Salvador during the 25th anniversary celebration of Oscar Romero's death. The delegation also had clinic days in Berlin, El Tablon (2), and San Felipe Abajo and saw just under 1000 patients. Dr. Ron Charles, an orthopedic surgeon traveling with the group, performed a surgical procedure in the hospital at Santiago de Maria, opening new possibilities for future trips.

The group hand-carried 1600 pounds of medical and school supplies. They provided school resources to four primary schools in the Berlin area identified by the Pastoral Team.

The Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Drake students' delegation, painted a home and purchased a stove and refrigerator for a family in Berlin.

Ankeny visited their sister canton, El Corozal. In addition to meetings, the group visited every home in the canton. The canton presented the group with a handmade cross for the Ankeny church.

April 2005 :The delegation from St. Boniface saw the distribution and use of the “Four Barrel” water collection systems. With the rainy season beginning soon, these systems will be put to full use quickly. The visit to every home in El Recreo was a giant step in establishing their relationship with the community of El Recreo.

June 2005: A delegation of six from Dallas Center visited El Salvador from June 3-11, 2005. The week included pilgrimages to the martyr sites in San Salvador and El Mozote, a day at the beach, and visits to schools and the women’s prison in Berlín. The group spent two days in their partner cantón of Virginia, where they went house to house and left a gift with each family along with a photograph of one of our Dallas Center families.

June 2005: A 12-member delegation from Wakonda Christian visited to El Salvador at the end of June. Among other highlights, they traveled to Las Delicias to celebrate the new water tank which they financed for the canton. They visited the marginalized schools in Berlin and delivered Beanie Baby dolls for the children. The last night we listened to medical personnel from Provida located in Berlin.

July 2005: Kathy Mahler, coffee coordinator, traveled to El Salvador as a solo delegate. She, along with her son Paul who was a summer intern, spent time teaching English in the schools and immersing herself in the culture and language and every day life of the Pastoral Team.

July 2005: Topeka, Kansas delegation

August 2005: Westminster sent a delegation to Berlin. In addition to visiting their sister canton, San Francisco, Sue Hotovec visited several of the locations where sewing machines had been donated and were in use.

August 2005: Heartland visits El Salvador and their sister canton, El Tablon.

October 2005: St. Boniface Catholic Church went on their third trip to El Salvador and their sister Canton of El Recreo. Twenty-five different members have now made the trip.

January 2006: The University of Iowa Wesley Foundation

January 2006: During their trip the Compañeros delegation met with the Pastoral Team to discuss the coffee project, the Just Light candles, Blanca’s Bags, and the designated missionary job description. Each of the meetings was productive and great opportunity for the respective volunteer teams to discuss the mission face-to-face and heart to heart.

January 2006: Newton and Sacred Heart Medical delegation.

March 2006: Drake student delegation from St. Catherine of Siena.

April 2006: St. Boniface, Waukee, delegation visited their sister canton, El Recreo

June 2006: St. Henry's, Marshalltown, delegation.

June 2006: Kathy Mahler, Don Justo Coffee Coordinator, spends nine days in Berlin working with the Pastoral Team and coffee matters.

August 2006: Heartland, Clive, delegation delegation visited their sister canton El Tablon.

January 2007: Heartland travels to visit El Tablon.

January 2007: St. Boniface delegation.

February 2007: Des Moines Westminster delegation.

March 2007: Newton and Sacred Heart Medical delegation

March 2007: Ankeny delegation

April 2007: Newton First delegation

May 2007: Wakonda Christian delegation

June 2007: Heartland delegation

August 2007: St. Boniface delegation

October 2007: St. Catherine's delegation

January 2008: St. Catherine's delegation

January 2008: Compañeros delegation

February 2008: St. Boniface delegation

March: Mount Vernon

March 2008: Newton Medical delegation

April: 2008 Westminster delegation

June 2008: Des Moines Central delegation

July2008: Heartland delegation

September 2008: St. Boniface

January 2009: St. Catherine's and Wesley

February 2009: Trinity United, Indianola

February 2009: Heartland, Clive

March 2009: Ankeny

Late March 2009: Newton Medical

May 2009: Dallas Center

June 2009: St. Boniface, Waukee

July 2009: Heartland, Clive

September 2009: Westminster, Des Moines

November 2009: First Presbyterian Church, Newton

November 2009: Des Moines Central Academy Environmental Science Class

January 2010: St. Catherine's, Des Moines

January 2010: St. Boniface, Waukee

January 2010: Heartland, Clive

[remainder of 2010]

January 2011: St. Catherine's, Des Moines

January 2011: St. Boniface, Waukee

February 2011: Trinity United, Indianola

February 2011: First Presbyterian, Newto

February 2011: Heartland Presbyterian, Clive

[remainder of 2011]

February 2012: Heartland Presbyterian, Clive

March 2012: First Presbyterian, Newton

April 2012: Ankeny Presbyterian

June 2012: Trinity United Presbyterian, Indianola

August 2012: Heartland Presbyterian, Clive

August 2012: Joining Hands-El Salvador medical group

September 2012: Covenant Presbyterian Church - West Des Moines

February 4-11-13: Heartland Presbyterian, Clive

February 6-March 1-13: Short Term Volunteers Warren & Linda Erickson


June 9-16-13: Ankeny Presbyterian Church

June 20-27-13: First Presbyterian, Dallas Center


July 17-25-13: Heartland Presbyterian, Clive

August 4-11-13: Dental Health group, New York

August 14-21-13: Trinity Larger Parish, Lenox & Sharpsburg

August 28-September 4-13: Covenant Presbyterian, West Des Moines

September 10-18-13: Compañeros Delegation

September 30-October 8-13: Wakonda Christian, Des Moines


November 6-13: Westminster Presbyterian, Des Moines