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New archbishop for Central America: The Church of England Newspaper, April 23, 2010 p 6. May 1, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America.
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Archbishop Armando Guerra of Central America

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America (IARCA)—the Anglican church in Central America—elected a new primate last week at its April 15-17 synod in Panama City.

The Bishop of Guatemala, the Rt. Rev. Armando Guerra was elected to a four year term of office as primate and will succeed Bishop Martín Barahona of El Salvador, who has served as primate for the past eight years. Archbishop Guerra will be installed on June 12 at the cathedral in Guatemala City.

Bishop Guerra’s election was welcomed by members of the Global South coalition meeting in Singapore, seeing in the Bishop of Guatemala a kindred spirit on the theological and doctrinal issues dividing the Communion. One bishop told The Church of England Newspaper the new archbishop was a “humble” and prayerful leader who would pursue the mission of building up the church across Central America.

“Thank you for this support. It is an extremely difficult task, beginning a new era in a new place,” Archbishop-elect Guerra told the synod, according to a press statement released by the province.

Elected Bishop of Guatemala in 1982, Archbishop Guerra (60) has overseen a rapid expansion of his diocese and is presently assisted by two suffragan bishops, Virgilio Arreaza and Enrique Lanfiesta, in overseeing the diocese.

The Panama City synod also elected Bishop Julio Murray of Panama vice president of the House of Bishops and elected Bishop Héctor Monterroso of Costa Rica as provincial secretary.

In 2004 Bishop Guerra and the Diocese of Guatemala standing committee denounced the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, and chastised Archbishop Barahona for taking part in his consecration.

The Diocese of Guatemala stated it “hereby disassociates herself from the action of the Primate of IARCA, specifically in his participation in the consecration of Gene Robinson, recognizing that such a wanton act willfully causes a certain degree of impairment within IARCA.”

However, the diocese would agree to disagree with its primate and would “uphold the ecclesiastic unity” of the province.

El Salvador archbishop survives assassination attempt: The Church of England Newspaper, March 26, 2010 p 8. April 7, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America, Persecution, Politics.
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Archbishop Martin Barahona of El Salvador

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Central America has survived an assassination attempt, the Diocese of El Salvador reports. The attack on Archbishop Martin Barahona comes as preparations are underway to mark the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

According to Salvadorian press reports, the attack took place on the evening of March 17 in the Colonia Santa Mónica, a gated community in the town of Santa Tecla, some 10 miles outside of the capital San Salvador.

Archbishop Barahona had dropped off a church musician at his home at approximately 8:30 pm, when a man approached the car, which was parked across from a police station. The unidentified gunman fired a pistol at the car, wounding the chauffer but missing the archbishop. He then fled on foot. The police did not respond to the shooting.

Diocesan spokesman Susan Barrera said the bishop was in “shock, traumatized and saddened by this assassination attempt against him.”

Speculation in the Salvadorian press that the attack was a botched assassination and not merely a failed robbery centers on the location of the attack; in a walled community across from a police station; the inexplicable failure of the police to respond to the shooting; and because no robbery was attempted.

El Salvador is in the midst of gang and narcotics fueled crime spree. Over the previous weekend of March 13/14 police reported 46 murders in the country.

However, the attack on Archbishop Barahona has political overtones as it comes amidst preparations marking the 30th anniversary of the murder of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Salvador, Msgr. Oscar Romero, by gunmen linked to a right-wing paramilitary group.

On March 18 the archbishop met with the attorney general of El Salvador, Oscar Luna. Speaking to the press after his meeting, the archbishop said he asked the attorney general to “supervise” the investigation of the “attempted assassination.”

Attorney General Luna denounced the attack, telling La Prensa Grafica that while violence was plaguing the country, this attacking has a “particular connotation” as the victim as a churchman and “because we are celebrating 30 years of martyrdom of Archbishop Romero.”

The attorney general pledged to “monitor” the investigation and vowed to work closely with the police to bring the gunman to justice.

Episcopal Church summit discusses mission: CEN 3.01.09 March 1, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America, La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, The Episcopal Church.
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Delegates from the Anglican Churches of North and South America are meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica, this week for a five-day conference on Mutual Responsibility and Mission. An initiative of The Episcopal Church, the conference seeks to build closer links for mission between the eight provinces in the Americas.

Conference keynote speaker, the Rev John Kafwanka, a staffer on the Mission and Evangelism desk of the Anglican Consultative Council, told the Episcopal News Service “this week we have come to discuss and we have come to consider something that is really not new and yet sounds new at the same time” — the interdependence of the Communion across the world.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Episcopal Church summit discusses mission

New Global Centre Pleads for Doctrinal Latitude in Church: CEN 6.08.07 p 6. June 7, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Communion, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America, La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico.
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A coalition of bishops from Brazil, Mexico, Central America and the Spanish-speaking dioceses of the Caribbean have released a statement calling for doctrinal latitude within the Anglican Communion, arguing that a respectful diversity of opinion could be an engine of renewal and growth for the Church.

In a letter released following a May 18-22 meeting in San José, Costa Rica the Bishops, who call themselves the Centro Global, [Global Center], distanced themselves from the hardline approach taken by the American Church and its allies amongst the “Global North” and the opposing “Global South” coalition of dioceses in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

This growing “polarization” between the “non reconcilable” truth claims of the “Global North and Global South” had placed the “unity of the Communion at risk” they said, noting “in the midst of this painful controversy, we do not identify with either side, because they don’t fully represent the spirit of our thoughts.”

Among the signatories to the letter were supporters of the progressive agenda including two of the consecrating bishops for Gene Robinson, El Salvador Bishop Martin Barahona and Central Ecuador Bishop Wilfredo Ramos, along with American bishops who strongly opposed his consecration: Colombian Bishop Francisco Duque and Honduran Bishop Lloyd Allen.

The Centro Global bishops acknowledged that within their ranks were those who “hold different positions on the themes that are presently discussed in the Communion.” However this “plurality and diversity” had been a “rich source for growth, rather than a cause for controversy and division.”

Echoing the call of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams the Centro Global bishops affirmed their intention to maintain Eucharistic fellowship across doctrinal and party boundaries and invited the bishops of the Anglican Communion “to join together and work for an effective reconciliation, interdependence and unity in the diversity of our family of faith and so preserve the valuable legacy of which we are guardians.”

Their meeting in San José left the Centro Global bishops with the firm “conviction that, [the Anglican Communion] will make it with God’s blessings. Of this, we are sure and now we return to our dioceses comforted and full of joy and hope.”

Bishop’s earthquake plea: CEN 2.23.01 February 23, 2001

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Disaster Relief, La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America.
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For the third time in five weeks, an earthquake has ravaged the Central American republic of El Salvador. Measuring a magnitude of 5.3 on the Richter scale, the earthquake on Saturday February 17 sent thousands into the streets in fear of collapsing buildings and mudslides.

Speaking to the American television network, CNN, Dennis McClean of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stated: “Preliminary information indicated that [the earthquake] is quite severe. Our people tell us that there was a fall of ash from a volcano on the edge of San Salvador, which indicates it was a very severe earthquake indeed.”

Relief teams are at work day and night helping the thousands now homeless. Many whose homes are still intact are afraid to return home due to the fear of further aftershocks. More than 2,000 aftershocks have occurred since the January 13 earthquake, and frightened residents are worried that another major tremor may strike during the night.

The combination of tremors, volcanic eruptions, and mud slides since the January earthquake has frayed nerves and provoked despair. The first earthquake of a magnitude 7.6 on the Richter scale killed at least 900 people and destroyed an estimated 250,000 homes. One month later on February 13 a second quake struck leaving a further 400 dead and destroying 45,000 homes, reports the American Red Cross.

The hardest hit area of the country was the suburban neighborhood of Las Colinas in Santa Tecla, seven miles west of San Salvador. Half of the nation ‘s death toll from the earthquake occurred when the side of a mountain dislodged causing an avalanche to cover the village with 20 feet of rock and mud.

An American missionary, Bert Sheffer, one of the first on the scene reported: “I saw a woman with a pick in her hand digging at the earth,” he said. “She was crying and saying over and over, ‘My children, my children’.”

The woman left her home to run an errand and when she returned her house had disappeared under the mountain. Digging alongside the distraught woman, Sheffer soon realized that the house was gone. Sheffer said he will always remember the woman’s plaintive cries weeping for her lost children, pleading for them to be returned to her.

The Rt Rev Martin Barahona, Anglican Bishop of El Salvador, has appealed for help. “I am making a new call to all of the Episcopal and Anglican Church of the world. for help. We need the solidarity of all of you to aid those that have been damaged.”

Speaking by telephone from El Salvador Bishop Barahona stated that following the first earthquake the Episcopal Church of El Salvador provided more than 26,000 prepared meals, blankets, plastic sheeting,and tents for the homeless. The Church’s resources are very limited, however, and foreign aid is needed to carry out the work of the Church amidst the devastation.

Some aid has begun to arrive from the Churches of England, Taiwan, Japan, Central American and the United States. Many within the international relief community are worried, however, that the El Salvador disaster, following so quickly after the Gujarat earthquake may cause “donor fatigue” and a lessening of assistance from the West to those in need in the less developed world.