Archbishop of Canterbury visits Panama


Archbishop Justin leads a service of Eucharist at Christ Church by the Sea in Colon in Panama Neil Turner

The Archbishop of Canterbury has completed his first official visit to Panama. He met with political and religious leaders and joined with Anglican congregations and other Christian communities from across the country. 

Archbishop Justin preached and presided at two Eucharist services over the course of his visit, at Christ Church by the Sea in Colon, the first Anglican Church in Panama, and the Cathedral of St Luke in Panama City (Sermon transcripts- here and here). And with an emphasis on fostering ecumenical relationships, he listened to local church leaders at a gathering chaired by The Most Reverend Julio Murray, the Diocesan Bishop of Panama.

The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury during the Eucharist at Christ Church by the Sea in Colon in Panama. The visit of The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury to Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama and Costa Rica. 7th June 2024. Credit: Neil Turner for Lambeth Palace. Neil Turner

The Archbishop and Mrs Welby met staff and young people at ‘Hogar de Ninas de la Capital’, a home giving shelter and support to hundreds of girls at risk of social exclusion. Archbishop Justin also met young people from across the diocese and spent some time answering questions they had about faith.

Drawing attention to the impact of climate change and migration in the region, the Archbishop visited the Panama Canal and attempted a visit to the Darien Gap, which was thwarted by bad weather conditions. The Darien is a large area of jungle which links Panama and Colombia, with more than 500,000 migrants attempting to make the dangerous journey every year. The Archbishop met with those who had made that journey, listening to their experiences.

Archbishop Justin, the Bishop of El Salvador, and Archbishop of Central America on board a helicopter in an attempt to visit the migrant centre in Darien, Panama. Neil Turner

During his visit, Archbishop Justin also had several political meetings. He met with the current Foreign Minister, Janaina Tewaney, the incoming Foreign Minister, Javier Martinez Acha, and the Deputy Minister, Yill Otero. A number of issues were raised, including the Darien Gap, migration, conflict, climate change and the need for greater global cooperation. 

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