The High Ground: Building A Culture of Peace in Brazil

A history of flooding

Salvation Anglican Church is located in a rough neighborhood. Located outside of any commercial centers, this community is one of “squatters.” Residents here are those who have been forced off land elsewhere and end up here. They claim their land simply by occupying it. 

Needless to say, living in a situation where you fear your land might be grabbed at any moment by someone else does not foster a sense of community!

This land is not very valuable. It is located next to the Paraíba river, which floods often. But it has become home for these residents. An Anglican Church building stood there and served the community. 

When this church flooded, the government gave the community land for a new church to be located outside of the flood plain. But as is often the case, there was no money to rebuild it.

Building a new church

Surprisingly, the community gathered together to find a solution. The government plot was not ideal as it was located far away from the original church and was not convenient for residents. One community member donated her land to the church, in exchange for the government land. She was no longer using all of her land to farm, and her extended family could use the government plot. 

Now on this better site, a church was built with funds from an ARDF grant. When we visited in 2018, we saw a dynamic church on top of a beautiful hill. We met the Rev. Eliane Chacon who has been at this church for 12 years. 

A transformed community

Pastor Eliane reports that she has seen amazing changes since the new building was completed and the neighbors can more easily attend church. They were not, after all, wading through mud on the floor of the church or unable to enter the church at all!

Pastor Eliane told us that before, “They didn’t have a peaceful culture. Violence culture is very common in Brazil.” She went on to tell us of one instance when one woman murdered another over a dispute about a dog! 

However, being able to hold regular services has changed this. Now, the community is much calmer and willing to be in community together. “They understand how important forgiveness is. Their relationships are more peaceful.” Pastor Eliane says this is a direct result of preaching the Gospel! Hallelujah! 

One concrete example is in the number of couples now wanting to marry or wanting their unions blessed. Before, no one wanted to invest in the commitment of marriage. 

“[This year] I will bless 5 more couples because we teach this in the church – how important it is receive the blessing of God in your marriage.”

Looking ahead

Pastor Eliane has future plans for the church. She dreams of creating a space for women to gather during their time off. Currently, women stay in their homes alone when they are not working. Bringing them together at the church will only continue to foster this sense of community.

It is amazing to see what a big difference a local church can make, year after year, in a difficult community. 

Pastor Eliane’s bishop, Marcio Meira, has an explanation: “We believe Jesus can change every thing, in every time, for everybody. But we need sometimes a miracle. Jesus specializes in miracles.”

Beeson to Host Anglican Theology Conference Sept. 24-25

Beeson Divinity School will host its annual Anglican Theology Conference September 24-25 on the Samford University campus in Birmingham, Alabama. This year’s conference will explore the Jewish roots of Christianity.

Since the Holocaust, both Jewish and Christian scholars have rediscovered the Jewish roots of Christianity. This conference will explore those roots and discuss their continuing implications for Christian theology and practice. Speakers are leading scholars who will present cutting-edge results from recent work.

Speakers include:

  • Archbishop Foley Beach, Anglican Church in North America
  • Mark Gignilliat, Beeson Divinity School
  • Sarah Hall, Trinity School for Ministry
  • Mark Kinzer, Messianic Jewish Theological Institute
  • Eugene Korn, Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation
  • Gerald McDermott, Beeson Divinity School
  • David Moffitt, University of St. Andrews
  • Isaac Oliver, Bradley University
  • Matthew Olver, Nashotah House
  • Jen Rosner, Fuller Seminary
  • David Rudolph, The King’s University
  • Matthew Thiessen, McMaster University

For more information and to register, visit the conference website here.

 

Anglican Way Summer Conference 2019

If there is one conference to understand how the Anglican mind is supposed to work, it’s the 2019 Anglican Way Summer Conference July 11-14 in Dallas, Texas at Church of the Holy Communion Cathedral!

This year, our keynote speaker Dr. Hans Boersma. Dr. Boersma served as the J.I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College since 2005 and has recently been named the Chair of Ascetical Theology at Nashotah House Seminary. He has perhaps in greater detail, and better than any other in recent times, articulated the clearest and best Anglican model of theology based on the Great Tradition of Christian Platonism. It’s summarized well in his seminal work, Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry.

Dr. Boersma will begin with his first talk on Sacramentalism, by offering his thesis of Christian Platonism through the insightful, lucid, and creative work of C.S. Lewis, to distinguish mere symbol from sacrament. He will then cover the important topic of Contemplation in his second presentation on the Beatific Vision. Third, he addresses the essential matter of Anglicanism and Scripture with the development of a sacramental hermeneutic closer to how Christ, the Apostles and the Church Fathers understood the Old and New Testaments. Fourth, Dr. Boersma will turn to the topic of worship with a teaching on the sacrifice of Christ and how we participate in it by way of the Blessed Sacrament. Our speaker’s talks will conclude on the important subject of beauty presented in the Book of Psalms, as a means of participating in the heavenly realm.

Bring your friends and your priest or pastor! Neither will be disappointed!

To Learn more about The Anglican Way Conference or to register click here.