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Church leaders of Brazil share concerns about country’s developments

27 August 2019

Churches in Brazil need to work more closely than ever to address the culture of violence and environmental concerns in the nation; so affirmed participants in an ecumenical round table meeting on Brazil convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva on August 26.

The meeting brought together representatives of churches and ecumenical organizations in Brazil along with leadership of the World Council of Churches, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation and ACT Alliance.

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit affirmed that the WCC had been following developments regarding the environment, the rule of law and human rights, and the impacts on Indigenous Peoples and other vulnerable communities in Brazil with increasing concern.

The roundtable meeting was convened as an opportunity to hear the analysis and learn about the responses of Brazilian church leaders, and to reaffirm the commitment of the WCC and the other participating international church-based bodies to intensified accompaniment and support for the churches in Brazil in their efforts to address these challenges.

“Let’s work together to use our voice for justice and peace. We believe in the power in Christ’s love for the whole world, caring for all God’s creation”, said Tveit. “This love can bring reconciliation and unity in the ways we do not see at the moment”.

Participants of the discussion agreed that one of the priority issues on which churches need to strive for a common voice is the increasingly prevalent culture of violence in Brazil. Even Christianity is often presented “with a violent face”, shared Rev. Romi Márcia Bencke, general secretary of the National Council of Christian Churches in Brazil (CONIC). “Do we have the courage to say that Christianity is against violence? We need to say it, otherwise we have a problem with the meaning of Christian faith as such”, said Bencke.

In the light of the record number of fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest this year, environmental concerns were another prominent topic at the meeting. Besides the Amazon’s vital significance in the context of global climate change, it is also important to consider the impact of biodiversity and the increased suffering of Indigenous Peoples losing their homes and traditional livelihoods through the destruction of the forest habitat. “Fires in the Amazon region must be addressed as a national and international crisis”, said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.

Bishop Manoel João Francisco, president of the Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue of the National Catholic Bishops Conference of Brazil, shared that a synod on the Amazon will be summoned by the Pope Francis in October, gathering bishops from nine countries in the Amazon region.

“This is not a political but an episcopal issue, because we are called to take care of the people affected”, said Francisco, who expects that the upcoming synod will bring ideas and proposals serving the needs of people in the Amazon region.

Source: WCC

Submitted by:資訊中心
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