The Scottish Episcopal Church has received greetings from our Anglican partners in Brazil, a country that is enduring difficult times during the coronavirus pandemic.
The South American nation has suffered over 450,000 deaths connected to Covid, the second highest toll in the world after the United States.
There have also been large-scale public demonstrations, calling for the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro over his handling of the crisis.
The Primus, Bishop Mark Strange, has strong connections with the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, having attended its Synod in Brasilia in 2018 where he preached at the opening Eucharist and participated in the installation of the new Presiding Bishop. There have been further meetings – in person, but more recently online – as the two provinces have developed close links.
Last week, the Presiding Bishop sent a message to the SEC, to mark the gathering of members for General Synod.
“Brothers and sisters, we express our joy due to the realisation of the Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church and we ask God to inspire wise decisions in its intense agenda,” said Bishop Naudal.
“We want to thank you for the historic bonds of friendship between our Provinces and Dioceses and for the solidarity received from your Primate in this difficult context of the pandemic.
“May we act like Barnabas, who placed the gain from the sale of his property at the feet of the apostles. May the Church be a sign of solidarity and service to others in these times of increasing poverty, illness and misfortune.
“God bless you all!”
The Primus has thanked Bishop Naudal for his greetings, and assured him that they would be conveyed to all in the Church.
“I have been praying and talking with our Brazilian friends who are having a very tough time,” said the Primus. “We are grateful to them for their message and our prayers continue as their country seeks a way through the huge challenges it faces.”
Other parts of the SEC continue to send prayers to those in the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (also know as the IEAB) with whom they have specific links.
The Global Partnerships Committee has worked with IEAB on several projects, particularly on gender justice matters, supporting a safe house for survivors of domestic abuse in Ariquemes, Rondônia. Members of the Committee, accompanies by the Church Relations Officer and a representative of the Provincial Youth Committee, were able to visit the project, and other partners in the IEAB, in June 2019 on a partnership visit with Christian Aid, and have continued to exchange prayers and messages of support during the pandemic.
The GPC also funds a youth advocacy project in the Diocese of Amazonia, which is in a companion partnership link with the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane.
The Scottish Episcopal Institute continues to value its link, formed after the last Anglican Consultative Council in Hong Kong, ACC 17, with its sister Theological Education Institute , the Centro de Estudos Anglicanos in Porto Alegre. SEI looks forward to developing that link during the coming academic year by means of shared seminars, learning with and from the faculty there. Students have just sent £656 to CEA, this being the sum of offerings collected through the past year. Like last year’s donation, this will be used by the students at CEA for their work with marginalized communities across Brazil.
(In our photograph, Bishop Naudal is on the far right of a gathering of Anglicans in Brazil during a 2019 visit by members of the SEC’s Global Partnerships Committee and others)