Anglican Diocese of Recife receives a pastoral visit from the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion
“I am aware of the strength of the Anglican Diocese of Recife and of your diocesan bishop, Sebastião Armando Gameleira Soares, to maintain the unity of the church in this city,” declared Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, General Secretary of the Anglican Communion, during a Eucharistic celebration on Sunday, the 25th of August, at the Anglican Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, a place that symbolizes that “the Anglican Diocese of Recife will continue in communion with Canterbury and the Anglican Communion.”
During four days, the 22-25 of August, the Anglican Diocese of Recife had the honor and pleasure to receive a pastoral visit from Canon Kenneth, in the name of the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby. In this period, he visited communities, met with clergy and lay leaders of the diocese, and learned about our reality as the Church. “I met a profound commitment with the ministry of Jesus Christ, especially in the testimony of Christian reconciliation,” affirmed the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion as he evaluated his time amongst us. Kenneth stressed the Brazilian Church’s worry over gender violence, which is one of the Anglican Communion’s priorities, and also the diaconal commitment of Anglican Diaconal Service & Development (SADD). “I was amazed to see these commitments here,” Canon Kearon said.
The pastoral visit began on Friday, August 23, to learn about the maritime chaplaincy work in Porto de Suape, with the Rev. Antônio Luís Braga. This service is associated with the international Anglican Mission to Seafarers, based out of London. Canon Kearon also visited the Anglican Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, where he participated in a meeting with lay leaders. On Saturday, August 24, he had an important meeting with clergy and lay leaders of the Anglican Diocese of Recife.
At the meeting, he reaffirmed the Catholic and reformed identity of the Anglican Communion, and reminded us that Anglicanism has a particular approach regarding the authority of the Church. In this aspect he stressed that an decision in the Church cannot be performed by an exclusive group, be they bishops, clergy, or lay. “The basic decisions are always made via councils and synods connected with the Church. A cathedral alone cannot make a decision; this cannot be accepted. Our Church always makes its decisions with bishops, clergy and lay together,” he affirmed.
Regarding the Province of the Southern Cone’s interference with the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB), Canon Kenneth Kearon relayed the measures that have been taken – for example, the withdrawal of the Province of the Southern Cone’s members on various committees of the Anglican Communion. With this, Kearon affirmed, “the Southern Cone will no longer interfere with other provinces, and relationships are gradually being rebuilt.”
On Sunday, August 25th, the Secretary General participated in a Eucharistic Celebration at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, where he presided. Leading the large crowd of the faithful that morning, Canon Kenneth made a point in highlighting our Anglican identity, with a Communion of more than 85 million across the world. “If you were to visit an Anglican church in any part of the world, you are received as Anglicans. We are more than friends; we are part of the Anglican Communion. We are in communion with one another because we are in communion with Jesus Christ.” He stressed that “as Anglicans we seek unity with one another, because this is the mandate of Christ.”
During the celebration, Canon Kenneth Kearon presented diocesan bishop Sebastião Armando with a plaque with the symbol of the Anglican Communion. Upon so doing, he was keen to stress the symbolism of the gesture as “a symbol that this Diocese is continuing in unity with the Anglican Communion.” In turn, Bishop Sebastião presented the Secretary General, in the name of the entire diocese, with a wood carving representing a rural worker.
Secretary General Kearon also visited the Church of the Good News, in Caaporã, Paraíba.
By Rev. Félix Batista Filho