Election of a Bishop for The Episcopal Church of Panama

Panama, 25 May 2000: A new Beginning

The Rev. Canon Julio Murray was elected Diocesan Bishop by the Special Convention as the successor to the Right Rev. Clarence W. Hayes who will be retiring soon.

During the election that took place on Saturday, May 20, 2000, Rev. Murray obtained 17 votes in the Clergy house and 53 votes in the Lay house. Twelve and forty-six votes were needed respectively to elect; this requirement established on February 19, 2000 at the first session of the Special Convention.

Rev. Murray will be leading The Episcopal Church of Panama in 'A New Beginning' as the diocese lives into its recent status as a member of the autonomous Province of the Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America (The Anglican Church of Central America) comprised of the Episcopal Churches of Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. He will be expected to provide an environment of reconciliation and a reaffirmation of the concept of 'Unity in Diversity" which is a characteristic sign of the Anglican Communion.

In his message to the delegates and officials of the special convention Rev. Murray thanked God, his spouse Anna, his family, and friends. He spoke of his vision of the church placing emphasis on four areas: a church which is rooted in the junction of national and international concerns; a church which is growing and drawing people to know and share faith in Jesus Christ; a church which is autonomous but also interdependent with the Anglican Church of the Central Region of America and the larger Anglican Communion; and a church which is mature and does not retreat in times of crisis but faces them with creativity and hope.

The international observers for this election were the Rt. Rev. Armando Guerra (bishop of the Episcopal Church of Guatemala), the Rev. Héctor Monterroso (General Secretary of the Anglican Church of the Central Region of America), the Rev. Ramiro Châvez (from the Episcopal Church of El Salvador) and the Rev. Ricardo Potter (liaison for the Episcopal Church in the USA with the Episcopal Churches of Latin America).

The Episcopal Church of Panama is part of the Anglican Communion which has its see in Canterbury, England and brings together thousands of congregations around the world in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Lay and clergy participation in the decisions of the church is one of the characteristics of the Anglican Confession which is why the election of bishops is a common event.

For more information, contact Tzeitel Allen, Communication Officer for the Episcopal Church of Panama.