IARCA elects next primate; is TEC losing a supporter?

Friday saw a synod in Panama of the Iglesia Anglicana de la Región Central de América (Anglican Church in the Region of Central America, or IARCA). The meeting’s biggest news was the election of The Rt. Rev. Armando Guerra of Guatemala to a four-year term of office as Primate. (He’ll be installed in June.)

Alas, things are never as cut-and-dried as all that. Guerra replaces Martín de Jesus Barahona (bishop of El Salvador), who’s served the past eight years as IARCA Primate, and who has been a friend of The Episcopal Church, even attending the consecration of Gene Robinson. That was an act that left a number of Diocese of Guatemala figures (including Bishop Guerra) rather cold. They repudiated Barahona’s visit to Durham in fairly strong terms:


It was a truly disagreeable surprise for the Episcopal Church of Guatemala to learn … that the Primate of IARCA, the Most Revd Martin Barahona, participated in the ceremony of consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson, thus fixing the position of the Province concerning matters that have not been properly meditated, discussed and approved by the Central American Region of which Guatemala forms a part. We consider that this action does not reflect a complete opinion of the Anglican Church in Central America and in particular, the Episcopal Church of Guatemala.


Therefore, by virtue of the previously mentioned facts, the Episcopal Church of Guatemala respectfully, but firmly and solemnly declares that:

She maintains the fervent conviction to uphold the ecclesiastic unity of the Iglesia Anglicana de la Región Central de América The Episcopal Church of Guatemala 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 There exists among the Bishops, Provincial Council and the Anglican Church de la Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America in general, necessity to pronounce authoritatively on the subject, (the participation and its implications) and to take the corresponding corrective measures…

It’s useless, of course, to speculate about how chummy Barahona and Guerra may have been between 2004 and now. (Perhaps chummy isn’t the word, but at least on Friday – as far as any photos would attest – they did seem to get along for the sake of process.) The bigger question is whether and how IARCA will address future conflict within the Communion generally and with respect to TEC in specific.

Meanwhile, as grateful as we are for elections we trust to have been steeped in due process and prayer, we’re also compelled to say that we’ll miss Barahona’s presence and support among the international figures.

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