Greetings from Rio de Janeiro – and the Anglican World Youth Encounter!

Sometimes in life, one will have those experiences with people that lovely that it has the feeling that they have already passed a long time with them – and it’s just been one day. There is already this feeling in Rio de Janeiro at the World Anglican Youth Encounter. Happening at the same time as the World Youth Day (a majority of the participants are Catholic), priests Nicholas Wheeler & Daniel Cabral, with the support of diocesan bishop Filadelfo Oliveira, had the idea to have an encounter of Anglican youth in the diocese of Rio de Janeiro. With invites sent to dioceses in Brazil, Europe, Africa and Australia, there is now a small group ready for ten unforgettable days.

On Sunday July 21 in the Cathedral of the Redeemer in Tijuca, there was a welcoming ceremony for the young adults with representatives of the cathedral congregation, including Dean Abimael Rodrigues. There was a lovely presence of parishioners and others from the community, and afterward a time of hospitality for people to eat, drink and talk. These young adults have diverse lives and stories, and are excited to be in Rio during this time. In the week that comes, they will have the opportunity to participate in World Youth Day, but also to visit parishes and places in Rio to learn more about what the Anglican Church is doing here, how we can strengthen our relations as a Church, and what does it mean to be a young Anglican in our different contexts.

On Monday, the group spent time getting to know the church communities hosting them: St. Paul’s parish in Santa Teresa, Christ the King in City of God, and the Cathedral of the Redeemer in Tijuca. The second day was the first full day of scheduled events, the first of which turned out to be canceled—not to be deterred, the group instead went into the city center to participate in visiting the Roman Catholic cathedral, and an area full of activities from various Franciscan groups. Returning to the Anglican cathedral for lunch, Rev. Luis Coelho of Church of the Holy Trinity joined the group in helping initiate a discussion on what does it mean to be a young Anglican today. Rev. Luis provided a brief history of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil, as well as valuable insight about the challenges the church has faced since its founding. The entire group then took turns in speaking about their perceptions of what does it mean to be a young Anglican in their respective contexts, with thought-provoking comments and glimpses into life in other dioceses and provinces. From successes to struggles, there was a pervasive sense of optimism and enthusiasm from this dynamic group of  young adults from all corners of the world.

The evening’s main event—opening mass of the World Youth Day with the Catholic bishop of the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro—took place on Copacabana Beach with thousands in attendance. Despite wind and small pockets of rain, there was an air of positivity, and it was striking to see so many youth from so many different countries gathered together. For the small group of Anglicans gathered in Rio during this time, participating in the main events is a chance to participate in an historic moment in Brazil, one that will remain with them even long after they return home.

BY Nina Boe

Office of the Secretary General of the IEAB