Finding hope in Brazil

The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus

The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop of California, is attending the Episcopal USA – Anglican Church in Brazil Bilateral Meeting this week. He went to Brazil tired and “bracing” himself for long meetings. Instead, thanks be to God, he has been surprised by hope. The people with whom he is meeting – landless young adults, indigenous peoples and Anglican priests – have united in their commitment to Christ and environmental justice. His message now: Look forward to these encounters, where Christ is present and God’s love and hope are made manifest.

From Bishop Marc’s blog: Writing from the Episcopal USA-Anglican Church in Brazil Bilateral Meeting, Day 1, Saturday April 2:

After a long flight from the House of Bishops meeting (March 25–30), through D.C., to Sao Paulo, a regional air flight to Iguassu Falls, and then a two-hour drive to Cascavel, I have to admit that I was bracing myself for what had been billed as an all day “diocesan synod meeting.”

Young workers in the landless movement in Brazil. (Photo by Marc Andrus)

Instead, I’ve been elated all through this warm day as extraordinary groups of landless young adults, indigenous people, and priests of the Anglican Church in Brazil have been coming together in their common commitment to Christ and to the cause of environmental justice.

The young adults were born in the camps of landless agricultural workers, and are taking part in a great education effort, wherein young people teach other young people. These young women and men attend intensive classes at a university in Cascavel for two months — all day throughout the week — and then return to the camps to teach other young people. One of the young men was wearing a red thread around his wrist. I asked what it signified. He replied, “I tied it on my wrist when I began this program, and it will stay on until I complete this work.”

Read the rest of Bishop Marc’s report here


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Helping refugees in Ecuador

Episcopal Relief & Development sent word today about the work it is doing in the Diocese of Central Ecuador, working to help meet the basic material needs of Colombian refugees in Quito, Ecuador’s capital.

From its statement: ERD is calling this move a “temporary expansion of relief services … to cover a gap in services usually provided by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), which has suspended its operations during a period of restructuring. Blankets, sleeping mats and personal care kits will be distributed to an estimated 100 families during the coming month.”

ERD is one of those organizations that doesn’t put 1,000 volunteers on the ground to do the relief and development. Instead, it partners with various organizations and works with Episcopal and Anglican partners who are already in place, who know the needs of the people, and who guide the whole process.

In working this way, ERD serves as a good model for how we truly can be partners and friends with our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. Listening to the needs and desires of the people is more important than problem-solving in a vacuum.

I worked with ERD extensively after the earthquake in Haiti, and know how hard it is some days to listen first, and then act. But if we truly want to be partners with others around the world, we have to take the time to listen. And we have to respect those who speak.

Read more from ERD’s work in Ecuador here.


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