WASHINGTON — Edgar Palacios, a Salvadoran who serves as associate pastor for Christian education at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, is the 2012 recipient of the Baptist World Alliance’s Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award.
The announcement was made March 7 during a regular meeting of the BWA executive committee in Falls Church, Va., according to a BWA press release.
Palacios is cofounder of the Lutheran University of El Salvador and former coordinator and executive director of the Permanent Committee of the National Debate for Peace in El Salvador.
Palacios is being recognized for his role in helping to negotiate peace in El Salvador during its 1980-92 civil war. During the conflict, Palacios’s life, along with those of other pastors and church leaders, was at constant risk. In 1989, he took refuge in the German Embassy and a United Nations safe house in San Salvador, the country’s capital, after being informed that he and several other clergy members and social leaders were on a government hit list. Six Jesuit priests were assassinated during the government’s repressive campaign.
Palacios played key roles in the Permanent Committee, leading the organization through one of the most turbulent periods in El Salvador’s modern history. He testified various times before the U.S. Congress and the United Nations on the situation in El Salvador and in 1990 was co-president of a peace conference relating to El Salvador in the Netherlands.
Ordained to the Christian ministry in 1985, Palacios served several Baptist congregations in El Salvador and Mexico City before assuming his current position at Calvary Baptist Church. In addition to his associate pastor duties at Calvary, he serves as missionary pastor for the church’s Latino community.
Palacios is a cofounder and a former executive secretary of the National Council of Churches of El Salvador . He has taught at several universities, colleges and seminaries in Latin America, as well as at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Falls Church.
He is the recipient of several other awards, including the merit awards for peace from the Salvadoran Civil Society and the Baptist Association of El Salvador. In addition, he has been recognized for his work for peace and justice by the National Council of Churches of El Salvador, the Lutheran Church of El Salvador, the Community of Marginalized People, the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington and the Austrian Foundation.
The 2012 BWA Human Rights Award, named after the BWA’s immediate past general secretary and his wife, will be presented in July during the BWA General Council meeting in Santiago, Chile.
Robert Dilday (firstname.lastname@example.org) is managing editor of the Religious Herald. This story is based on reporting by Eron Henry, the Baptist World Alliance's associate director of communications.