The Rt. Rev. Maurício Jose Araujo De Andrade, bishop of the Diocese of Brasilia, will be the guest speaker at the Diocese of Toronto’s 162nd Regular Session of Synod, held Nov. 17-18 at the Sheridan Parkway Toronto North hotel.
Bishop Andrade and his wife Sandra will be in the Diocese of Toronto Nov. 15-20. In addition to speaking at Synod, he will preach at a Sunday service. There will also be a workshop at Synod about Portuguese-speaking ministry in Toronto.
Bishop Andrew Asbil hopes the visit will lead to a companionship program between the Diocese of Brasilia and the Diocese of Toronto. “The hope is that we start learning from each other and finding ways of visiting each other’s contexts and building on that partnership together,” he says.
He is thrilled by the upcoming visit and the possibility of closer ties between the two dioceses. “I think it’s really an exciting time for us in the Diocese of Toronto. We are so multicultural and so diverse when it comes to language, culture and tradition, and this gives us another opportunity to spread our wings.”
The Diocese of Brasilia is one of nine dioceses and a missionary district in the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil. Located in central Brazil, the diocese has four parishes and 10 church missions. The capital of Brazil, Brasilia, is in the diocese.
According to its mission statement, the Diocese of Brasilia is “to be a missionary church, instruments in announcing and witnessing to the Kingdom of God through example and words; to live in diversity and inclusiveness in our way of being Anglican, becoming part of the social, cultural context of our communities.” Its vision is “to be bold and dynamic in witnessing to the gospel and in missionary action in the promotion of life, serving in love, faithfulness and solidarity.”
The diocese runs the Anglican Social Centre, which helps students with their homework and provides them with recreational activities. It also runs Casa A+, a program for those at risk of HIV/AIDS. The diocese’s Advocacy and Human Rights department “aims to promote the advancement of human and environmental rights for all persons suffering vulnerabilities, either personal, physical or social. It also aims to educate local and regional church leadership about human and environmental rights as well as provide information to churches about those issues.”
The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil is the 19th province of the Anglican Communion. The Most Rev. Marinez Bassotto is its Primate.
Brazil’s population is about 213 million and the primary language is Portuguese. About 50 per cent of the population is Roman Catholic and 31 per cent is Protestant. The last census showed that secularism in Brazil has increased more than any religion. Those with no religion represent more than 10 per cent.
Although the Diocese of Brasilia has only four parishes, it can teach the Diocese of Toronto a lot about mission work, says Bishop Asbil. “There are many lessons we can learn from the Diocese of Brasilia about frontline ministry in small communities. They can help us think about what it means to be mission-oriented in a new time. Many of our congregations are small and how do we reinvigorate our mission in a new way, and what will it look like?”
He says the companionship program would help the Diocese of Toronto serve newcomers from South America and Central America. “We have a growing Lusophone community here in the Diocese of Toronto, so Bishop Maurício’s presence is really going to help us formulate that.”
More information about Bishop Andrade’s visit will be posted as it becomes available.