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"Anglican Family" or Anglican Communion? A brief overview of Brazilian Anglicanism. -- Part 2

"Anglican Family" or Anglican Communion? A brief overview of Brazilian Anglicanism. -- Part 2

What was, that's what there is; and what was done is done; so nothing new under the sun--- Ecclesiastes 1: 9

By the Rev. Rogerio de Assis
November 3, 2019


In my last article published here on Virtue Online, I made a brief analysis of what I understand to be the future of Anglicanism worldwide, where I briefly pointed out some of the main controversies experienced in the Anglican Communion, especially regarding homosexuality, according to Lambeth resolution 1.10, and I briefly pointed out what I consider to be the "two models" of the Anglican Communion in force, namely Canterbury and GAFCON, the former being a "liberal model" (although not all Anglicans of " Canterbury Communion "are liberal), and the second conservative / Orthodox. Well, it didn't take long, and, behold, I read the article titled: "ROWAN WILLIAMS: Anglican Communion is no more, we are now an Anglican Family."

This article met my convictions about Anglicanism and, in the words of Archbishop Emeritus Dr. Rowan Williams, they gain a very special weight, obviously, after all, we all know of their theological potential and their importance in world Anglicanism.

However, there are some points that I think should be better clarified about Latin American Anglicanism that were mentioned in the above article and, especially, about Brazilian Anglicanism, which in my view is not evangelical, or rather, not only evangelical, it is for the most part, but not in its entirety. Pointing this out, as well as commenting on Dr. Rowan Williams' statement, are objectives of the present reflection.


Speaking of Anglicanism in general is not an easy task, both worldwide and locally, that is, I refer to the Latin American scenario where I am, and being more specific, to Brazil, where I have always lived.

Going straight to the point, we have in Brazil several expressions of Anglicanism and I mention a few:

a) Evangelical or evangelical Anglicanism (linked to GAFCON) through the Province of Archbishop Miguel Uchoa;
b) The Anglicanism that some call Anglo-Catholicism, but which in my view is more of a Roman Catholicism rather than a genuine Anglo-Catholicism, according to what I know about the real Anglo-Catholicism present in North America and Europe. ;
c) Continuing Anglicanism (succession Chambers of the United States of America);
d) Anglicanism of convergence;
e) Liberal Anglicanism, represented by the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (which asserts itself as the only true representative of the Anglican Communion or according to my last article "Canterbury Communion"). From this branch, ie IEAB, several new churches have emerged due to the numerous schisms that have occurred over the years;
f) There is also a second model of evangelical Anglicanism, represented by the Reformed Anglican Church of Brazil, today a Diocese of the Free Church of England.
g) Charismatic Anglicanism (mostly, one might say, a copy of the charismatic movement known here on Brazilian soil as a movement of the Roman Apostolic Catholic Church).
h) There are also independent Anglicans, that is, who are organized as diocese, but are not yet linked to any officially recognized international group within the "Anglican Communion".

Let's just keep these few divisions pointed out, however, it is known there are others in Brazilian soil, some with more, others with less or almost no expression.

We read in (AQUINO, 2019):

In summary, until 2003 there were only four churches of Anglican hue in Brazil: the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, the Reformed Episcopal Church, some communities of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (in Belo Horizonte and Recife), and the Charismatic Episcopal Church (in Recife). Soon after came the Independent Anglican World Communion, and with it, bishops, who consecrated three Brazilian bishops who, in just one year, were separated. Thus, four new churches emerged: the Full Gospel Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Brazil, the Traditional Anglican Church of Brazil, and the Diocese of Japi. After these came the Anglican Movement in Brazil, the Diocese of Votorantim, the Anglican Province of Brazil - linked to the GAFCON, and the Diocese Potiguar. That is, in just over 15 years, Brazilian Anglicanism has multiplied in a scandalous way in a number of autonomous provinces that only reveal the degree of dialogical difficulty between them or, perhaps, the latent pride and desire for power that rock their soul. Available at: . Accessed on: Oct 8 2019.

After this brief factual cut, an easy task is to find out that there really is a huge variety of models of Anglicanism on Brazilian soil, including, and it must be mentioned, there is also here what I have understood as a "Pentecostal Anglicanism", which In my view there is little of Anglicanism, precisely because they have in their theological praxis what looks more like copies of Pentecostal mass churches, appealing to healings and miracles, among other practices during their services.

In fact, as you can see, the menu is quite vast. Just look for this or that church model that will be found easily. What I think is even healthy given the beautiful Anglican motto of 'unity in diversity'.

The key issue for me, speaking of the Brazilian reality, and it seems to me that this is also the key issue on the world scene of Anglicanism, is that the motto "unity in diversity" unfortunately is nothing but beautiful words loose in the wind, that is, all these ways of being church are isolated ways, they do not communicate, on the contrary, they become even belligerent, and this is definitely, in my view, bad, besides being an open wound in the body of Christ.

Given this, that is, the lack of "unity in diversity", I think we should ask ourselves in the light of the reflection of Archbishop Dr. Rowan Williams if we only realize that we are no longer an Anglican Communion, but an "Anglican family" as if that solves anything on the local and world Anglican scene. I think the answer is very simple. It definitely does not solve anything. It is true that the members of a family fight and do not even talk, but I do not think this is the family model that Christ dreamed for his Church. I respect you reader who think differently from me, obviously, because I am Anglican.

Yes, Brazilian and world Anglicanism is experiencing a great crisis these days, I would say that this crisis even includes the issue of identity. I mention this in light of the many models of Anglicanism mentioned above. It seems to me that we no longer know what we are and, above all, what we are here for in the world. And forget equally, that all divisions are scandalous to the Body of Christ and to God's people who still have faith. Yes, yet, as we know many are leaving the church, precisely because of the scandals provoked by those who should never promote them, or by so many other factors than objects of this reflection.

Returning to the words of Archbishop Dr. Rowan Williams, quoting that "we are no longer a communion but an Anglican family", it is up to us to reflect that changing the definition of the term means nothing, after all, to say who we are or what we are. are. We are not is the easiest task from my simple point of view. The big challenge, however, would have been to change the way we are throughout history. In other words, the essence of who we are, how we witness to Christ in the world to believe.

Unfortunately, it is clear that this goal has not been achieved. And because he was not hit is that "we are fractured", what a pity. And this fracture we also find in the Brazilian Anglican scenario, absolutely and unfortunately. Yes, as shown briefly, here we are also fractured, and more fractures are coming, let's see.


As we tried to present, we reflect on the scenario of Brazilian and local Anglicanism in the light of the words of Archbishop Emeritus Dr. Rowan Williams. We have seen that just saying who we are or what we are, no longer is the easiest task, it is just a factual finding. Difficult and challenging task is to change the way we are, the way we witness to Christ in the world. It is necessary to change the essential, not the secondary. We also briefly saw the various existing models of Anglicanism on Brazilian soil, which makes it clear that the "fracture" cited by Archbishop Williams is also present in Brazil.

Finally, I think that if such an essential change had taken place over the years in the Anglican Communion all these divisions would not have been happening. Perhaps the present moment is the moment of essential change, which will be through repentance and conversion. God knows it.

Let us pray for Lambeth 2020, let us pray for GAFCON 2020. Let us pray for the unity of the "Anglican Family". Finally, let us reflect: who are the members of this "Anglican family"? Does this family have a father, leadership? Is this leadership willing to promote reconciliation between its sons and daughters so that the "Anglican family" lives harmoniously? May God have mercy on your church.

Available at: . Accessed on: Oct 8 2019.
Available at: . Accessed on: Oct 8 2019.
Available at: . Accessed on: Oct 8 2019.

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