For five consecutive years, GNRC Panama has received students from rural schools. Interfaith visits have enabled them to meet religious leaders from different communities of faith, learn about their traditions, and present the Learning to Live Together manual.On April 20, a group of 60 students from the Augustinian Catholic School traveled 4 hours into the capital city. This visit, coordinated by school authorities and GNRC Panama, was part of their ethics and values class.
The children first visited Balboa Union Church Cathedral, and were met by the Reverend Rolan Schnell, George Thomas and Isis Navarro of GNRC. Reverend Schnell spoke of the church’s traditions, rituals and doctrine. Mr. Thomas summed up the history of the church and explained how it began by serving parishioners of different denominations from the United States who lived in the former Canal Zone, and continues to do so to this day.
The second visit was to the Greek Orthodox Church, where Father Georgios Kaleoudis and Mr. Fotios Papadakis explained the orthodox doctrine and the significance of the icons painted on the Cathedral walls. Later, after satisfying the children’s questions, the Helenic community rewarded them with a delicious breakfast.
The third visit was at the Kol Sherith Israel Synagogue where the Rabby Gustavo Kraselnik received them, and aptly captured the children’s attention. They were fascinated by the stories and seeing first hand the sacred scrolls of the Jewish religion.
The fourth visit was held at the Hindu Temple, and the beauty of the architecture was a highpoint of the tour.
The children’s questions to the religious leaders indicated that they paid attention and had a desire to learn about these different religions. Once more, we encourage the children to be replicators of “Learning to Live Together” in their environments.
By Isis Navarro.