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Brazilian Anglicanism, the result of missionary or British (19th century) and American (20th century) colonial expansionism?

Brazilian Anglicanism, the result of missionary or British (19th century) and American (20th century) colonial expansionism?

By Rev Leandro Campos
Special to Virtueonline
December 7, 2020

From 1810 to 1890, the Anglican presence in Brazil took place mainly through chaplains who accompanied the crews of English ships, businessmen, and diplomats and their respective families.

In the beginning, prayers were held in the homes of the Portuguese who were sympathetic to the British and gave up space for prayer meetings and Bible studies. The chaplains essentially took care of funerals, weddings and baptisms for the British colony (Bahia, Belem, SP, RJ, and Santos).

In 1819 the first Anglican temple was built in Rio de Janeiro with the authorization of King D. João VI, it was consecrated to co-patrons S. Jorge and S. João Batista, in honor of the kings of Portugal and England. The chaplaincies did not have the mission of evangelizing Brazilians on the contrary, if there was proselytism the penalty would be expulsion from Brazil.

In fact, these first 80 years of the Anglican presence took place in two movements. The first freely as the British settled in the Brazilian province with commercial interests in favor of the British crown, and secondly with the sending of the Church of England and its mission agencies SAMS, Society for the Evangelization of South America and SPCK, Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, evangelical and Anglo-Catholic orientation respectively.

During the 20th century and with the arrival in 1890 of the American episcopal missionaries, an expansion of Anglican Christianity arises, starting from the south of the country (RS) to the southeastern states and later the center and northeast. The installation of a national seminar for the formation of a Brazilian clergy, and catechists to lead the growing classes of Sunday school that in this period arrived according to the statistics of the time at its peak.

The two "Anglican jurisdictions" coexisted between 1890 and 1970, developing parallel works with little interference on each other, but with an ever-increasing mutual collaboration. Meetings of the Anglican bishop of South America and the Brazilian bishops' bishops began to suggest a possible merger in the near future.

In fact, after World War II, the British were called to return to their homeland and assist in the reconstruction of the Allied countries, which significantly reduced the number of Anglicans in Brazil. Causing the Archbishop of England and the Archbishop of the USA to transfer episcopal supervision of the works of both churches to the newly formed 19th Province of Anglican Communion - Brazilian Episcopal Church.

The merger took several years, and met with some resistance among them the question of the possessions of the properties of the English colonies - never resolved; but little by little the episcopal supervision of both communities started to be carried out by the Brazilian episcopal bishops (ordinances, confirmations and pastoral visits).

At the end of the 20th century, with the ordination of women and the blessing of homosexual couples and the ordination of homosexual candidates, a wave of schisms took over the Anglican world agenda culminating in the formation of the block of bishops and provinces that rejected "inclusiveness" as essential to identity. Angola, the GAFCON (organization that brings together 8 of the 39 provinces of the Anglican Communion, and 2 independent provinces ACNA, and Brazil).

As we see spirits stir up around human ethics and sexuality, we turn to the joint statement between Pope Francis and His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury who says:

"We received the Good News of Jesus Christ through the holy lives of men and women, who preached the Gospel in words and deeds, and we were entrusted, and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, to be witnesses of Christ" to the ends of the world "( At 1.8) We are united in the conviction that "the ends of the earth" today represent not only a geographical expression, but a call to carry the saving message of the Gospel, in particular to those who are on the margins and on the periphery of our companies. "

We can say that the Anglican presence is based on two diametrically opposed projects. On the one hand, Anglo-American political and economic colonialism, and on the other hand, of Anglican agencies and clergy who invested their lives, efforts and resources for evangelization across the border.

Peace & Good!

Leandro Antunes Campos
CRESS-SP 30.265 9 ° R.

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