Nurturing an independent church

Daily Reading for June 7 • The Pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, 1890

This Mission was begun in 1889 by two young American priests, sent out by the American Church Missionary Society (since merged in the “Board of Missions”). They buried themselves in the interior of Southern Brazil and set themselves to acquire a thorough mastery of the language, and of the modes of thought and life of the people. They soon realized that if the Brazilians were to be won to the faith as their Church had received it, it must be through the Brazilians, and they threw their strength into training the best men among their converts. This meant slow progress at first, but rapid development afterwards. The Mission was visited after several years’ labour first by the Bishop of West Virginia, who confirmed 150 candidates and ordained four Brazilian deacons, and afterwards (by request) by Bishop Stirling of the Falkland Islands in 1897, when on his way to the Lambeth Conference. He administered Confirmation to 160 more candidates, and ordained three Brazilians to the priesthood, and his successor, paying a friendly visit in 1905, found that his memory was cherished with affection and reverence, the link with the historic Anglican Communion being understood and valued. Bishop Kingsolving was consecrated in 1900, and from that time the mission has had its own independent life. . . .

It may be noted that not only was this work in Brazil approved by the whole American Church, but it was cordially recognized by a resolution of the Lambeth Conference in 1897, bidding Godspeed to the reform movement, and expressing the hope that it would continue to develop on Catholic lines. . . . The presiding Bishop at the Baltimore General Convention of 1892 said, in his last public utterance, with reference to Church work in Mexico and Brazil, “Those people lie there upon the highway of the nations, bruised and wounded, fallen among thieves, stripped of religious rights and like to die, and we must go down in the spirit of the Good Samaritan with the oil and wine to bind up their wounds and give them succour. Is it said it has not been our custom? The sooner we make it our custom the better.” And another Bishop stated his conviction “that the canons of the undivided Church cannot wisely be applied to the present dissevered condition of Christendom.”

From “The Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. Mission to Brazil, or the ‘Brazilian Episcopal Church,’” in The Anglican Church in South America, edited by E. F. Every, Bishop of the Falkland Islands (1902-1910). A BiblioLife book.

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