While it may walk a little slowly, the Church is working on missionary transformation, according to leaders from the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB). The statement was made April 10 at the end of a meeting to evaluate the Decade of Evangelism which will end in year 2001. The meeting brought together more than 70 Church leaders from the seven dioceses of Brazil.
The majority of recommendations made for the Decade have been fulfilled in the areas of education and expansion, said the Revd Marinez dos Santos, coordinator of the organising team of the leaders' conference. During this period 13 new missionary programmes were implemented.
During the second half of the programme emphasis will be placed on the area of service. Moreover, the IEAB is working on Christian education in their schools and helping students' family members. The work of lay people in the Church has also been revalued, added Fr dos Santos.
The Revd Luiz Caetano Grecco Texeira, who was recently elected CLAI (Latin American Council of Churches) regional secretary for Brazil, emphasised the sincerity of leaders in evaluating their work. Fr. dos Santos indicated that one of the concerns arising from the meeting was IEAB's limited numerical growth. "If mission is one of its areas of emphasis, there is a need to analyse why the Church does not grown numerically," he said.
During the leaders' meeting, economist Marcos Arruda, of Rio de Janeiro, challenged the Church to confront the globalizing wave and the spread of capitalist values in peoples' lives, which conflict with the Christian values of solidarity and service.
Theologian Sebastiao Gamaleira Soares, of Recife, said that to serve the world is a fundamental part of being Church. The Church is not just a celebration, but also service, he affirmed.