Julio Murray - keynote speaker

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In Latin America, Christian followers expect CLAI (the Latin American Council of Churches) to be a signal of hope and empowerment to the humble and excluded giving witness through the diversity in the region.

That is why it is highly appropriate to have the man who has recently completed six years as CLAI president, the Rt Rev. Julio Murray, Bishop of the Episcopal (Anglican) Church of Panama, as the keynote speaker at the Conference of European Churches 14 Assembly in Budapest on July 4.

As two active ecumenical regional players CEC and CLAI have forged closer ties over recent years, showing how such church bodies can play an important role in representing regional Christian values in an overall global scheme.

Bishop Julio became a member of the board of directors of the Latin American Council of Churches in January 2001 and in February 2007 became the first black president of CLAI in a tightly contested election a post he held until May 2103.

CEC believes Bishop Julio's presence in Budapest will be an opportune one to  celebrate and affirm the CEC-CLAI partnership and the strong collaboration the two regional church organizations have had especially in the past few years since the Lyon Assembly of July 2009.

CLAI like CEC has faced the challenges of the current economic climate and how to position itself as a voice for the churches in its region.

The Latin American church grouping was founded in 1982 and has its headquarters in the Ecuadorian city of Quito. It currently brings together 188 Protestant churches and denominations from 20 countries. Its main function is for consultation and coordination of pastoral work.

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