Photographs from Divine Service and rededication on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Balboa, Panama City, Panama (Iglesia Luterana del Redentor de Balboa, Panama). LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford

Disaster Response

Church Renovation in Panama

Redeemer Lutheran Church in Balboa, Panama, which was once devastated by a series of catastrophic events, welcomed worshipers back to its beautifully restored sanctuary in 2024.

Redeemer Lutheran Church in Balboa (Panama City), Panama — the mother church of the Lutherans in the country — had taken a pounding from hurricanes, floods and termites. In 2020, workers were in the process of putting a new roof on its parochial hall when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the government told them all to go home, leaving the hall exposed during the rainy season.

“There was flooding. Then a tree fell on the sanctuary and caused a gaping hole. … The damage was so severe,” recalled the Rev. Dr. Arthur Rickman, an LCMS missionary to Panama.

In an effort to halt further damage and start to rebuild, LCMS missionaries utilized the FORO model (foro means “forum” in Spanish), which the LCMS Latin America and the Caribbean region uses in 13 countries, to bring together a group of dedicated partners to assist the church. Among those who first stepped up was LCMS Disaster Response, which gave nearly $250,000 toward this effort.

Thanks to this assistance, and with the help of a number of short-term volunteer teams from the United States, the building has undergone an amazing transformation. The sanctuary’s roof and underlayment were replaced, the walls were treated for mold and given a fresh coat of paint, the windows were replaced, and the original pasta tile floor was restored to its former beauty. In addition, the whole second floor of the parochial hall has been outfitted with new plumbing and electrical systems.

On Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, nearly 200 people from all walks of life — including Panamanians, expats, LCMS missionaries and partner church leaders — gathered at Redeemer to celebrate the dedication of its newly renovated sanctuary.

“I want to express gratitude for the partnership of the LCMS and of Disaster Response. We know there were a lot of people who gave sacrificially [to support this project],” Rickman said. “This is not only the preservation of a historic building. The church is more than just the building; it is the people. With the restoration work completed, we have the opportunity to revitalize the congregation, renew our presence in the Balboa area and serve as an example of God’s faithfulness to all our congregations in Panama.”

LCMS Disaster Response is an important part of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s efforts to bring the love and mercy of Christ to those in need. LCMS Disaster Response is funded through the generosity of contributors who give specifically to this work.

Learn More

You may also like
Top ↑