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‘Forgotten’ Anglicans in Central America welcome Archbishop Welby

03 June 2024

Neil Turner

Congregation members film Archbishop Welby in Guatemala

Congregation members film Archbishop Welby in Guatemala

INDIGENOUS Anglicans in Central America have welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to the region, at the start of a 12-day tour of Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, and Costa Rica.

On Sunday, in Santa Cruz Balanyá in Guatemala, Archbishop Welby took part in a service which incorporated one of the indigenous languages spoken in the country. An ordinand in the Anglican Church in Central America, Cristobal Armando, said it was a “great blessing to have the Archbishop here, because we feel forgotten.

“His visit gives us strength to continue in our pastoral work because we are few indigenous priests. My longing is to integrate elements of the Mayan vision into our Anglican liturgy so that the Church can grow,” he said, in an interview on Premier Christian Radio.

“The Anglican Communion around the world is doing a lot with indigenous people,” Archbishop Welby told Premier, citing the work of the Anglican Indigenous Network.

In the Americas, colonisers had often treated indigenous peoples as sub-human. “There’s a lot to make up for, for the Church”, he said.

At a service on Sunday at the Anglican cathedral in Guatemala City, Archbishop Welby spoke about the fortitude and resilience required of Christians, and the importance of putting trust in God.

He referred to a recent reported increase in weekly attendance at C of E services (News, 20 May), saying that he and the Archbishop of York had “concluded it was simply God’s grace; it was not our purpose”.

On Saturday, Archbishop Welby met with the president of Guatemala, Bernardo Arévalo. According to a Lambeth Palace social-media post, they discussed the impact of climate change on poorer communities, as well as reconciliation and sustainability.

On Monday, Archbishop Welby was due to travel to El Salvador, where he will visit an Anglican Communion Forest project and the site of St Oscar Romero’s matrydom.

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