Recife: Reformation, Revival and Realignment

“During the last few weeks, you may have missed a wonderful sermon, and it wasn’t delivered at the royal wedding. In fact, unless you were present for this sermon, you probably missed it entirely. I was blessed to be there to hear it but there were no TV networks, newspaper reporters or social media ‘stars’ there.

So, may I share with you from this sermon and from its preacher, the humble servant leader of the new Anglican Church in Brazil, Archbishop Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti. …”

Encouragement from Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council.

Photo: Archbishop Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti.

Appeals Court returns Recife church property to diocese

Diocese of Recife, Brazil“The Pernambuco Court of Appeal … has stayed a lower court decision giving ownership of church properties in the state to the minority faction loyal to the national Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB). The effect of last week’s decision is to return custody of the church properties to the Diocese of Recife and its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchôa, while the court conducts a de novo review of the dispute.”

– Story from George Conger at Anglican Ink. (Earlier stories on Recife here.)

Diocese of Recife membership doubles

Bishop Robinson CavalcantiEncouraging news from the Diocese of Recife

“Recent statistics show that the Diocese of Recife, under the Primatial Authority of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America, continues to grow. The number of confirmed members and regular communicants has more than doubled since its traumatic axing from the liberal Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) five years ago.  Read more

Archbishop Greg Venables visits Recife

Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti and Archbishop Greg VenablesBetween March 27 and April 1, Archbishop of the Southern Cone, Greg Venables, visited the Diocese of Recife in Brazil.

You may recall that the Diocese sought episcopal oversight from Archbishop Venables after moves to depose the bishop by the TEC-friendly Primate of Brazil. (See, for example, this item from 2004.)

The Diocese of Recife has now posted some photos of the visit on its website.

Brazil’s Anglican Church changes its canons to permit same-sex marriage

“The General Synod of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil – (IEAB) has approved changes to its canons to permit same-sex marriages. Civil same-sex marriages have been legal in Brazil since 2012. In a statement, the Province said that the move would not require liturgical changes, because gender neutral language had already been introduced into its service for the solemnization of marriage in the 2015 Book of Common Prayer.

The move was overwhelmingly carried by the Synod members with 57 voting in favour and three against. There were two abstentions. …”

– Report from the Anglican Communion News Service.

By contrast: The Anglican Church in Brazil and the Anglican Communion – Dr. Peter Jensen:

“The basic reason why there is a division amongst the Anglicans of Brazil is because the Episcopal Church of Brazil has departed from the teaching of Scripture, and hence from Anglican teaching, concerning sex and marriage. The division is not over a matter of church politics or personal ambition. It is a matter of the fundamentals of the faith, of what makes a true church, of the authority of God’s word.

In 2005, the Diocese of Recife withdrew from the existing Church body over this issue. In so doing it was being true to Scripture and to the overwhelming majority view of the Communion’s Bishops as expressed in Lambeth 1.10 of 1998. …”

The Anglican Church in Brazil and the Anglican Communion

GAFCON General Secretary, Dr. Peter Jensen, has responded to a claim that the new Anglican Church in Brazil is not authentically a part of the Anglican Communion:

Of course the new Anglican Church in Brazil is an authentic part of the Anglican Communion.”

Why say that? Read his full statement below, dated 25 May 2018 –

“In the London Church Times (18th May 2018), Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council claimed that Gafcon had been ‘inaccurate’ in describing the newly formed Anglican Church in Brazil as part of the Anglican Communion and claimed that “To be part of the Anglican Communion requires being in communion with the see of Canterbury, which this Church is not.”

Here lies the difference between mere institutionalism and spiritual reality.

The basic reason why there is a division amongst the Anglicans of Brazil is because the Episcopal Church of Brazil has departed from the teaching of Scripture, and hence from Anglican teaching, concerning sex and marriage. The division is not over a matter of church politics or personal ambition. It is a matter of the fundamentals of the faith, of what makes a true church, of the authority of God’s word.

In 2005, the Diocese of Recife withdrew from the existing Church body over this issue. In so doing it was being true to Scripture and to the overwhelming majority view of the Communion’s Bishops as expressed in Lambeth 1.10 of 1998. In 2016, after court cases, it had to surrender much of its property. And yet, under God, the Diocese continues, grows and is now in a position to become a Province, with several Dioceses.

Throughout this period, orthodox Bishops (such as Archbishop Greg Venables of South America) upheld the Diocese and supported it and ministered within it. Because this was an issue of basic theology, the Gafcon movement recognised the Diocese and arranged for the consecration of the present Archbishop. Gafcon held on to faithful Anglican Christians whose ‘fault’ was merely that they were accepting biblical and Anglican teaching. Gafcon holds the Communion together while we wait to see if other instruments of the Communion will do what is right.

The Gafcon Primates Council was not mistaken in recognising the Anglican Church in Brazil as a Province of the Anglican Communion. This step has also been supported by leaders of the Anglican Global South. This also is a recognition of spiritual reality.

Communion with the see of Canterbury used to be a welcome, useful and easily understood way of describing the Anglican Communion. But with leadership comes responsibility. So far, the recent Archbishops of Canterbury have not used the power of their office either to discipline those who have created disorder and threatened the basis of our faith, or to reach out the right hand of fellowship to those who have stood firm.

The institution has triumphed while faithful Anglicans are disaffiliated and deprived.

It was this failure that our 2008 Jerusalem Statement and Declaration faced when it was affirmed that ‘While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury.’ The only justification for the continued pre-eminence of the see of Canterbury would be if it serves the apostolic gospel. At present it is not doing so effectively. Again, the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration brings the problem into focus when it claimed ‘We can only come to the devastating conclusion that we are a global Communion with a colonial structure’.

Of course the new Anglican Church in Brazil is an authentic part of the Anglican Communion. It is not a matter of recognition by Canterbury. But, like the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the Brazilians invite Canterbury to recognise spiritual reality, and to use its influence to help align the old instrument of the Anglican Communion with the spiritual reality and new growth of the Communion. Will this happen?”

– Source: GAFCON. (Emphasis added in the pull-quote at top.)

Rooted in a Glorious Past, Living the Reality of the Present and Looking Forward to the Future

“We want to be the brave ones who see an opportunity in the future, and we believe that we are living a new time with the gospel of eternity.

“The future has many names
For the weak, it is the unattainable
For fearful ones, the unknown
For the Brave, it is the opportunity

Victor Hugo

… All of us, without exception, experience a past, exist in a present and live in the expectation of a future. Likewise, the church also exists in this tripartite reality and this very clearly becomes imperative, because its master and Lord, according to the Holy Scriptures, has come, lived and will return. (John 1:11, 1 Corinthians 15, Mark 13:26).

In these days, perhaps more than ever, we have been led to reflect on this reality, especially at this time when we established a New Anglican Province in Brazil and, along with it, the formation of the Anglican Church in Brazil.

First of all, however, a brief explanation may be necessary …”

– Archbishop Miguel Uchoa, Primate of the newly formed Anglican Church in Brazil, explains how he and his Church have come to this point.

Read via Google automatic translation (which is good but not perfect), or the original post in Portuguese, on his website.

Archival photo featured on Archbishop Uchoa’s website: Miguel Uchoa (at right) with two dearly missed Christian leaders, Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti and John Stott.

GAFCON Installs Primate of Anglican Church in Brazil

On Saturday, 12 May 2018, Brazilians packed the Paróquia Anglicana do Espírito Santo (Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit) to celebrate the launch of the Anglican Church in Brazil and the installation of The Most Rev. Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti as their first Archbishop and Primate.

In 2005, the Bishop of Recife, The Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti, and ninety percent of the clergy of the diocese were excommunicated by the liberal Episcopal Church of Brazil. Though they lost some of their buildings, the Diocese carried on with a robust program of social action, evangelism, church planting, and discipleship. From 2005 to 2009, the Diocese doubled in size. In succeeding years, despite the tragic murder of Bishop Robinson, the Diocese continued to grow, and their leaders worked with the Gafcon Primates to organize the election of a new Bishop. On December 8, 2012, The Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchoa was consecrated as Diocesan Bishop.

Over the next years, the regions of the Diocese of Recife developed into Dioceses. This has led to the formation of a new Biblically orthodox Province which has been recognized by the Gafcon Primates Council not only as part of Gafcon, but also as a Province of the Anglican Communion.  The Anglican Church in Brazil is the 41st Province of the Anglican Communion.

“We thank God for our relationship with the leaders and member Provinces of Gafcon,” said Archbishop Uchoa. “Through our struggles, Gafcon has been a wonderful support, helping us through the tragic death of our Bishop, and helping us organize first as a Diocese, then as additional Dioceses, and now as a Province. We are deeply grateful to be able to be a part of such a great movement that is committed to Biblical authority and historic Anglican teaching and practice.”

In numerous countries around the world, the institutional structures of the Anglican Communion have been unable to bring discipline when liberal Provinces have adopted unbiblical teaching and practices. Gafcon has encouraged those who remain Biblically faithful in areas where the Gospel has been compromised.

Many greetings were shared from all around the world, including a video from Archbishop Greg Venables, Primate of South America.

Speaking of the launch of the new Province, The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria and Gafcon Chairman said:

“We commend your courage to stand and be counted for Jesus at a time when many are in a state of self- inflicted confusion. We are loyal Anglicans, loyal to the faith once for all delivered to the Saints. We’re ready to march forward with those who embrace, or refuse to redefine, the apostolic faith. We, as others, are redeemed sinners, but must not canonize sins in order to fill space in churches. Hearty congratulations. The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Dt33:27) 

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Primate of Uganda and Gafcon Vice-Chairman said:

On behalf of the Province of the Church of Uganda and on my own behalf, I wish to congratulate you upon your installation as the new Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Brazil. May God who has called you uphold, guide and bless you in your ministry in your Province. We welcome you to the Gafcon family.

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach, Primate of North America said:

“With the Anglican Establishment not only tolerating, but now embracing revisionist theology and non-Biblical morality, it is quite refreshing to see Anglicans on fire with the Jesus of the Bible and taking seriously his commission to go make disciples!”

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Anis, Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa and Chairman of the Global South said,

“On behalf of Primates of the Global South of the Anglican Communion, we offer our hearty congratulations to Your Grace on your election as the 1st Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Brazil. We very much look forward to working with you to advance the Kingdom of God. May the Lord bless you!”

– GAFCON press release.

Image via the Anglican Church in Brazil.

On the road in Brazil: Canon Phil Ashey

The American Anglican Council’s Phil Ashey shares his observations from Recife in eastern Brazil.

For some background on the Anglican Church in Recife, and why they left the TEC-aligned Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, see Canon Charles Raven’s brief interview with Bishop Miguel Uchoa:

The Story of the Diocese of Recife and Caminemos Juntos – video from GAFCON.

See also:

The New Birth of a Church The Anglican Church-Diocese of Recife – Bishop Miguel Uchoa.

And Caminemos Juntos church planting movement.

(Earlier stories on Recife here, and still earlier ones on our old website.)

Anglican renewal in Brazil

“Most Christians in the UK probably have only the haziest idea of what Anglicanism looks like in South America.

The Edinburgh Missionary Conference of 1910 inhibited Protestant and Anglican missionary work in the continent at a time when the English language was (and still is) marginal. This is unlike most other areas of the Anglican Communion where the British influence was much stronger.

And yet, out of the continuing crisis in the world wide Anglican Communion, and in spite of official persecution in the area, a reinvigorated and missionary church is emerging in South America.

In fact, the pattern of North America is being repeated – just as a new GAFCON recognised Province, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), arose out of the aggressive and assertive revisionism of the American Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada, so in South America a new orthodox Province is coming into being as the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) and various TEC satellite provinces in central and northern South America follow the lead of their North American counterparts.

This new emerging Province is based on the Anglican Diocese of Recife …”

– Charles Raven with more encouraging news about GAFCON.

Photo, left to right:

Canon Charles Raven, GAFCON Membership Development Secretary;
Canon Dan Alger, ACNA;
Bishop Flavio Adair Torres Soares, Anglican Diocese of Recife;
Canon Alan Hawkins, ACNA
 meeting in Sheffield in January 2017.

Brazilian Anglicans ask for prayer support

Members of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil have written to the ACL and other Anglican groups asking for prayer.

“We are a group of clergy of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, we are being persecuted for defending a biblical position of marriage and asking that the Anglican episcopal church of Brazil maintain its unity with the Anglican communion, which in turn, in voice through the chamber of the bishops want to approve this position by imposition.”

They include these links –

1. Creation of the alliance movement. (Select the English Version tab.)

2. Response of the Bishops – Original PortugueseEnglish translation

3. Letter from Bishop Sebastião (Emeritus Bishop in the Diocese of Recife) to the Bishops – Original PortugueseEnglish translation

4. Letter of Covenant to Bishops.

Related:

Earlier posts on happening in the Diocese of Recife.

Report from Virtueonline.

GAFCON Chairman’s Letter for Advent 2016

abp-nicholas-okoh-gafcon-photoI thank God that Archbishop Greg Venables will be re-joining the GAFCON Primates Council now that he has been elected to serve again as the Primate of the Anglican Province of South America in succession to our greatly esteemed colleague Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala. His ministry demonstrates that courage which is so central to the GAFCON story. In his previous term as Primate, despite much opposition, Archbishop Venables bravely supported orthodox Anglicans in North America and stood with the Diocese of Recife in Brazil after it had to withdraw from the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil.

We are now seeing similar courage in England as GAFCON UK, led by Canon Andy Lines, endures hostility simply for speaking the truth about the increasing breakdown of church discipline in the Church of England.  There are now clergy and bishops who openly take pride in their rejection of biblical preaching and have even launched a website to encourage the violation of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10 on human sexuality.

But more disturbing is the response of the Church of England at its highest level. …”

– Read Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s full pastoral letter here.

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