Bishop Gooden Receives Award from Panamanian Government

Diocesan Press Service. July 20, 1972 [72089]

The Rev. John H. Townsend

PANAMA CITY (DPS) -- The Rt. Rev. R. Heber Gooden, D.D., S.T.D., until recently Bishop of the Missionary Diocese of Panama & the Canal Zone, resigned after 26 years for strategic reasons, in order to permit that jurisdiction with the people com- posing it opportunity to elect their own Bishop.

He is now assisting Bishop Noland of Louisiana in the northern portion of that Diocese with residence in Shreveport.

The Star of Panama (founded in 1853) in its Spanish language edition of June 22, 1972 records the bestowal upon Bishop Gooden of the Grand Cross of Vasco Nunez de Balboa by Licentiate Camilo Levy Salcedo, Director of Ceremonials, in the name of President Basilio Lakas of Panama.

The solemn act took place in St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Panama with the Rt. Rev. Lemuel B. Shirley, the new Bishop, officiating, assisted by the Rector, the Rev. Anselmo Carral in an ecumenical office. Also taking part were Archbishop Marcos McGrath & Bishop Carlos Lewis of the Roman Catholic Church & the Rev. Walter Reitz of the Methodist Church.

In thanking the Government of Panama for this signal honour & the crowd of friends & Church people who took part also, Bishop Gooden said in part: "If I have been able to do anything in Panama in the field of social action & welfare, anything to fortify the bonds of understanding & friendship between persons of various nations, cultures & religious communities & the spreading of the Holy Gospel of our Lord, it is because I have been able to count on your cooperation & recognise, as do you, that we are all children of God, worthy of respect & love. I love my country where I was born, but although my blood may be Anglo Saxon my heart is Latino. We only left Panama in the belief that the time had come for the clergy & laity of our Anglican Community here to elect my successor in the interests of autonomy & self determination. They have wisely chosen, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, a very competent & able Panamanian. My mission at home, as abroad, is the same: to strengthen ties of friendship between people & nations. My wife and I owe eternal gratitude to Panama & you all. You will always be in our prayers and our hearts.