Another Presiding Bishop Speaks

The Most Reverend Francisco de Assis da Silva, Primate of Brazil, addressed a joint meeting of the House of Bishops and Deputies today. He gave me a copy of his address, which I happily share, to help us remember some of the bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion. In my limited experience with the Church in Brazil, I’ve found this part of the Communion to be a visionary, faithful community of leaders, working in solidarity with people who are poor and oppressed, promoting care for creation, and seeking justice for all.

Dear Presiding Bishop Katharine, Dear President of the House of Deputies,

I bring with me the warmest greetings from the whole Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil.

My deepest feelings of gratitude for this singular moment that I have the honor to address this General Convention. The Church of Brazil is deeply grateful to this church because there are 125 years ago Kinsolving and Morris left Virginia Seminary to start our Church for Brazilians in the South of our country. The dreams of these young people have become a living reality and now we celebrate three weeks ago our 125 years as a church, 50 years of autonomy as a Province of the Anglican Communion, 30 years of women ordination, and we launched as a gift to the entire Communion our new Book of Common Prayer (in Brazilian Portuguese).

During 75 years you (The Episcopal Church) were our mother. You nurtured us. And now we are two sister churches with common challenges. We face the same way the pain of schisms in the last decade, and in this way we face common commitments. We had walked in the middle of political, theological, and structural challenges. We experienced in the last decade many difficulties, when theology became a field of discussion and not communion. Just as women were together at the foot of the cross, we experience in common our pains. But also like these women we experienced the joy of the resurrection.

My prayers for this Convention are that the new leadership of your Church will continue to strengthen the fellowship between our Provinces in all forms, and for that, we have an important instrument – the Bilateral Committee composed of representatives of both churches. We have differences of language, after all we are the only Portuguese-speaking Province – but we have the same baptismal commitment and we have the same feeling that our mission is to reveal Christ and his Kingdom to the world. Yes, we speak Portuguese, but our heart beats to the same rhythm of love and service to our Lord. Recently we hosted the II Anglican Lusophone meeting (Portuguese speakers) and we are supporting the creation of an Anglican Lusophone Network that could be an opportunity to help your church in leading pastorally with many Brazilians and Portuguese speaking people in this country. Our both churches will follow together, holding hands like two sisters, to cry our sorrows every time we are at the feet of so many crosses that we face in the way of mission. But also we continue hand in hand to thank the heavens every time we watch a tear replaced by a smile, every time a person realizes being heard and respected in the world of God. In a world where the logic of profit and injustice are before us, we need to be together to proclaim with courage the truth, justice, and peace of God to our fellow. God call us to walk together without fear in the fight against injustice, violence, and inequality. To achieve our common commitment we need you and you need us. May the Holy Spirit strengthen us and make us accomplices in our pain, our love, and our dreams of God. Muito obrigado!