History and the sovereign will of God have determined that I held in my hands an order I was to sign requiring us to return some of our church buildings to the Episcopal Church. These buildings, without exception, were built with the resources and great effort of faithful parishioners who have been a part of these same communities for decades.
I’ve just signed this order, fulfilling what the law required. I accepted God’s call on my life with careful consideration, but never did I imagine I would be involved in this kind of situation.
As I was reflecting today on the Word of God I saw that the ties that bound us to this institution do not bind us anymore. We are completely free now, without any connection any more to the Episcopal Church. Today, after a well-educated attorney left my office, I read the following verse:
“Cutting the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time untying the ropes that held the rudders. Then, raising the sail head to wind, they made for the beach.” Acts 27:40
You can read the text again and see that when this anchor was cut, this connected was loosed and they were free to get to the beach. They then came to Malta, established a church there and went on to Rome. This all occurred after these bonds of apparent security were released. Growth and release of the Word of God followed. God defeated that storm and the gospel continued advancing unhindered.
I do not consider any of this easy. I witnessed our cathedral being built brick by brick. I was there at the groundbreaking. There I also lived through battles and blessings beyond measure. I was baptized at the age of 23 when I met Christ and was born again. Despite all this I do believe the testimony from the Word and from history: "The glory of this new Temple will be greater than the former" (Haggai 2: 9). It is in our hands to work hard for all of this to become a reality. God is with us and so the Church will continue. As our Bishop Robinson loved to sing: "it is holy work, nobody can stop it.”
I call each of you to continue firm and to make this Church and diocese something no one has yet seen in this country since the arrival of theological liberalism that consumed and is destroying historic Brazilian Anglicanism. We are the faithful remnant, the faithful Church, the growing Church. We are the face of a renewed Brazilian Anglicanism and have the support of more than 2/3 of the global Anglican Communion. Our diocese now has 45 congregations and among them, the largest Anglican congregation in all of Latin America. This is who we are. Our work is extremely important.
Empty buildings cannot serve the worship of the living God. While we have the Church, they have buildings. From God's perspective, which is better?
The Anglican world is watching. Let us be united in heart, putting aside differences and shine our light for the world to see. Let us be open to the Holy Spirit that he may do a revival among us. May many from around the world arrive at our airport eager to see what God is doing in this land through this part of His Church. Let us move out of any comfort zones, and receive the word of Paul to Timothy when he says:
"Awaken the gift that is in you because God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of love, power and self-control" 2 Tim 1
I Love God and I have given my life for His service. I understand that my task is to fight the good fight for this Church. Here I stand. Let us stand together!