Archbishop Julio Murray urged his province to “embrace the project” of the kingdom of God as he was installed at the sixth primate of the Anglican Church of Central America on Aug. 11.

He was elected by the provincial synod in April. Hundreds of people packed into St. Luke’s Cathedral in Panama City for a vibrant service that reflected elements from the five nations of the province: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama.

During the Gospel procession, dancers wore hats topped with flaming candles.

In a passionate address, Archbishop Julio touched on the themes of justice, hope, intentional discipleship, empowering women and young people, and celebrating cultural diversity. On mission, he said it was time for the church to stop navel-gazing.

“It is time to take the mission of the church outward,” he said. “Embrace the project of the kingdom because it is bigger than the church.”

He said the laity must be involved and cannot leave the work to the primate, bishops, or other clergy.

“We are in this together,” he said. “And don’t say, ‘Oh, I am retired.’ … There are no retirees in the mission of God.”

Murray called for the church stand against corruption and violence against women.

“In the past as a province we held back … but the time of accommodating is over,” he said.

In an interview with ACNS after the service, Archbishop Julio spoke of his joy.

“Today is a wonderful day,” he said. “It is a day of tremendous celebration and thanksgiving, not only for the province but also for the Anglican Communion. There is a great sense of excitement.

“I am grateful to God,” he said. “I am looking forward to working together as we collaborate in the construction of the kingdom. This is kingdom business, and we are in it for the long haul.”

Adapted from ACNS

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Photo gallery of the service

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