jQuery Slider

You are here

The Anglican Church in Brazil and the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Church in Brazil and the Anglican Communion

A Statement by Archbishop Peter Jensen, Gafcon General Secretary
May 27, 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?


GAFCON rebuked for calling the Anglican Church in Brazil a Province of the Anglican Communion

By Madeleine Davies
May 18, 2018

GAFCON is wrong to call the Anglican Church in Brazil a Province of the Anglican Communion, the secretary-general of the Communion, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said this week.

The Anglican Church in Brazil was launched on Saturday at the Paróquia Anglicana do Espírito Santo (Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit), in Recife. The Most Revd Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti was installed as its Primate.

A press release from GAFCON described it as "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".

Dr Idowu-Fearon said on Monday: "It is inaccurate to refer to the Anglican Church in Brazil as being part of the Episcopal Anglican Communion. To be part of the Anglican Communion requires being in communion with the see of Canterbury, which this Church is not."

The Primate of Brazil, the Most Revd Francisco de Assis da Silva, whose Church is in communion with Canterbury, expressed "sadness for that inconsequent attitude that is committed against our Province, acting against the recommendation expressed by the Primates, in their last meeting, that no one will be allowed to practise cross-border.

"This group has been, for over a decade and a half, the source of divisions, misappropriation of Church property, and selfishness for considering themselves authentic guardians of the scripture and orthodoxy. This is another wound in the body of Christ."

The breakaway diocese of Recife was established by the Bishop of Recife, the Rt Revd Robinson Cavalcanti, in 2003, in response to the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson in the Episcopal Church. When Bishop Cavalcanti left, he took 32 clergy and their congregations with him, including several church properties. He was deposed by the Anglican Church of Brazil, on the grounds that he had broken communion, and, in 2013, a judge ruled that all property must be returned to the Anglican diocese of Recife (News, 26 July, 2013).

Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti and his his wife, Miriam, were found murdered in their home in 2012 (News, 2 March 2012). Archbishop Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti, who was then Rector of the Anglican Church of the Holy Spirit, succeeded him as Bishop of the diocese.

Last year, the Membership Development Secretary, Charles Raven, reported that the diocese had more than 60 pastors and 45 congregations, and that it had planted 33 new churches in the past five years.

Primate addresses African council. The Archbishop of Canterbury has advised Anglican bishops in Africa to learn from the mistakes of the Church in the Global North, which include a failure to disciple young people.

Addressing the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa in Kenya last week, Archbishop Welby described the Church on the continent as a "gift to the world", Anglican Communion News Service reported.

But he urged the leaders to "learn from the mistakes of the Global North -- to be wary of individualism and not to be complacent about the numbers of young people currently in churches across the continent".

The North had "failed to disciple young people in previous decades". Because, in the 1950s, most children in the UK went to Sunday school, the Church had thought "this is all right, we can go to sleep".

He also argued that the Church must change in order to enjoy influence. There was now "a lack of confidence in the gospel, which meant the Church was becoming inward-looking rather than going out. . . We cannot wait until we are all together, or we all agree, or we are all holy -- because the world is perishing. We must move forward to serve the world, even when we disagree."

Get the latest news and perspectives in the Anglican world.
comments powered by Disqus
Prayer Book Alliance
Trinity School for Ministry

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

Drink Coffee

Do Good

Sustainable Ministry

Coffee, Community, Social Justice


Go To Top