This declaration can be read in Spanish here
Peace and hope to the Churches of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
We, the Bishops that make up The Anglican Church of the Central American Region (IARCA) gathered in Managua, Nicaragua have made a space for reflection and biblical analysis and shared our individual concerns and experiences of our ministry as pastors and spiritual leaders of our clergy and people. We are convinced that the Holy Spirit has taken over and manifested a presence in this meeting and has guided us on the search for the necessary process that will help us improve our relationship and to identify the guidelines that will support our common ministry.
During this Lenten Season and in preparation to celebrate the resurrection on Easter, we reflected seriously regarding the future of our relationship as bishops and ministers of God. We are united by the common purpose of providing guidance for our people in the midst of difficult times in which we live: violence and incomprehension, disintegration in the family structure and the lack of interest in seeking God’s Kingdom; all of which challenges the systems that shape our destinies as societies.
The reflection has led us to understand that the central emphasis of Lent and of our lives during this season is forgiveness and reconciliation. These two primary values and teachings, which were given to us by Christ, along with his Message, are still relevant and basic for the understanding of the love of God and his justice.
As living testimonies of Christ we should be role models of His actions and message; we wish to give testimony of his love and of his message of reconciliation as we accept as our principal goal the restoring of the good relationship that has been the characteristic with which we began together the project of the Anglican Church in the Central American Region and for which we are and will continue to be united for the development of the mission that God had given to us to serve his people. Moreover we will try to be a channel for reconciliation and forgiveness. We thank our Primate his Grace Martin J. Barahona, for the leadership he has provided during this process.
We have encouraged one another to be one in Christ so that the actions that we take and the decisions that we make on a personal level or in the representation of our churches will not affect the life or development of the mission in the Province, or at the Diocesan level and/or at the personal level. We have established guidelines that will permit us to make decisions in the framework for the consensus of the group.
We take this opportunity to reaffirm the declaration given by us to the Primate and presented to the Primates and other Provinces of the Anglican Communion in relation with the election and consecration of the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson as Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of New Hampshire. In that document we resume and make known our feelings and thoughts on the decision of The Episcopal Church in the United States of America. At this time, this is the stand we take on this matter.
We will also state that in the midst of the ill-feelings and division that we are experiencing in our Anglican Communion, we reaffirm the Love of God toward all humanity and that this love represents the symbol of unity for all human beings that are called to be in union with God and for whom Jesus gave his life. This is the love that moves us and helps us to understand that sin is what separates us from God and does not allow us to have a full relationship with him or with others. This is our task: to fight against sin and proclaim life.
We are committed to give the House of Bishops in IARCA the place that it deserves in the pastoral mission of our church. We have established at least two times in the year to meet as a collegial body, one time during Lent and another during Pentecost, so that we can give some continuity to our lives as bishops and our mission in the Anglican Church of Central America. We will also begin a process of continuing education for ourselves and to keep updated on the most important issues that affect and/or challenge the mission of the Church, directly or indirectly.
We encourage all people and the Clergy to pray fervently without ceasing, and to journey with us in the search for new experiences in the mission of Christ, the mission that he has given to each of us through his passion, but also through his resurrection.
It’s our hope, that by getting to know God better and getting to know each other better, as we begin and maintain a joint process of continued education, of interrelation, of common prayer and of seeking a closer relationship with each other; these efforts will help to restore the unity which has been part of the foundation that gave birth to the conformation of the Anglican Church of the Central American Region.
Given on the sixteenth day of the month of March in the year of Our Lord two thousand four.
The Rt Revd Martin J. Barahona
Episcopal Church of El Salvador, Primate of IARCA
The Rt Revd Julio E. Murray
Episcopal Church of Panama
The Rt Revd Sturdie W. Downs
Episcopal Church of Nicaragua
The Rt Revd Armando R. Guerra
Episcopal Church of Guatemala
The Rt Revd Hector F. Monterroso
Episcopal Church of Costa Rica