Rev. F. Salvador Orellana
|American Baptist Home Mission Societies
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, Pa. 19482-0851
Work Phone: 800.222.3872, x2421
A preacher, teacher, and strong advocate for social justice, the Rev. F. Salvador Orellana is well-equipped for the challenging duties of national coordinator of Intercultural Ministries. One of his goals is to train pastors and leaders to develop new ministries. He says that for the church to touch the lives of all people, it must extend its reach. “Our churches are strong in evangelism and discipleship, but not enough of our ministries relate to the community,” he says. “I want to motivate and encourage churches to begin social justice ministries.”
Arriving in the United States in 1993, Orellana brought with him a lifelong passion for social justice. He has seen much of society’s injustices and has tirelessly worked to change the hearts and minds of those in power. As founder and executive director of an immigration legal services called La Casita (“The Little House”), Trenton, N.J., he witnessed immigrants’ constant struggles. “At this moment, 12 million undocumented people live in the United States. Many of them are being mistreated and taken advantage of. I have heard many stories of their struggles to buy food, to get housing,” he says. “As Christians we must do something.”
Orellana was born in El Salvador, a Central American country approximately the size of Massachusetts. But there was nothing tiny about his family of 10 brothers and two sisters. “We enjoyed being part of a large family,” he says. “It was a good life.” When he was 16, he moved to San Salvador, living first with his brother and later his sister, in preparation for college. At this time he felt the call to ministry and decided to enter seminary. His brother agreed to pay his tuition, and it appeared the younger Orellana’s future was set. Then the unexpected and unthinkable happened: His brother was killed while serving in the Army. But God opened other doors. Far from wealthy, members of the church to which he belonged dug deep into their own pockets and donated enough money for his first year of seminary. By the second year, he had earned a scholarship; he went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. In May 2009 received his master of divinity degree from Palmer Seminary, Wynnewood, Pa.
The father of two, Orellana continues to answer the call he received as a teenager in El Salvador. He sees his position with National Ministries as another phase of his faith journey. “I have dedicated my life to serving people in the name of Christ,” he says, “and this position is a new facet of the same calling.”
- Master of Divinity, Palmer Theological Seminary, Wynnewood, Pa.
- Bachelor’s degree, Professor of Theology, Seminario Teologico Centroamericana, Guatemala
- Pastor, Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Trenton, N.J.
- Executive Director, La Casita, Immigration Legal Services
- Pastor, Mision Bautista Hispana de Westchester, White Plains, N.Y.
- Pastor, Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Plainfield, N.J.
- Joined the staff of American Baptist Home Mission Societies: 2008
- Ordained: 1992
- Birthday: Sept. 17