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Civil court ruling for Recife schism: The Church of England Newspaper, July 28, 2013, p 6. August 1, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Property Litigation.
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Bishop Miguel Uchôa

The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) reports that a Pernambuco judge has handed down a ruling in the property dispute in the Diocese of Recife, awarding ownership of the diocese’s assets to the faction aligned to the national church.

On 18 July 2013 the Rt. Rev. Sebastião Armando,  the caretaker bishop of the IEAB diocese released a statement announcing the secession of the diocese and over 90 per cent of its clergy and lay members in 2005 “flagrantly violated Brazilian law as well as Canon law” and the “Doctrine and Discipline” of the IEAB.

In 2005 the then Bishop of Recife, the late Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti was deposed for incivility by his fellow bishops following several years of doctrinal disputes between the evangelical bishop and the liberal majority in the House of Bishops. After he was removed from office, the province then defrocked 32 Recife clergy without trial for backing their bishop.

Bishop Armando, who retired in May but has acted as caretaker of the minority faction until a new bishop is elected in August  argued “that with the decision, the Judiciary as enforcing justice and law, has put an end to this situation which generated unprecedented legal instability in the Anglican Diocese of Recife, resulting in a deleterious effect on the entire Brazilian Anglican province, reflecting poorly on the credibility of the (church) institution and leadership in Brazil and abroad. Fortunately the law does not applaud these sorts of mistakes.”

He went on to say the ruling would not halt the IEAB’s decline, however. “Unfortunately, even with this new step, the unity of the church, so carefully cherished and painstakingly built over these 100+ years during the existence of the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil, once again remains shaken, leaving its faithful troubled and confused, certainly causing in many people of faith a cooling of charity, which is our biggest concern right now.”

The bishop of the majority faction now aligned with the Anglican Church in North America and the Church of the Province of the Southern Cone, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchôa last week told The Church of England Newspaper he had “called an extraordinary synod for this Saturday to have a united voice from the Diocese with the presence of our lawyers.”

While Bishop Armando has pushed for a civil legal settlement of the dispute closed door meetings have been held between the Recife leadership and national and local leaders of the IEAB to seek an amicable resolution to the conflict.

Bishop Uchôa told CEN there had been a number of closed door meetings between the breakaway diocese and the national leadership of the IEAB in recent months seeking an amicable resolution to the dispute. But added he would withhold comment on the court ruling for the present. “At the moment we will let them speak. We come later.”

However he noted the diocese would appeal the ruling.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 77: July 31, 2013 July 31, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anglican.TV, Archbishop of Canterbury, Property Litigation, Roman Catholic Church, South Carolina.
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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

STORY INDEX:

THE LAST SHALL BE FIRST 00:00
THE POPE IN AMERICA 04:13
JUSTICE FOR JUSTIN 10:34
RECIFE 15:59
SOUTH CAROLINA 21:59
FORWARD IN FAITH 25:38

Appeals Court returns Recife church property to diocese: Anglican Ink, July 31, 2013 July 31, 2013

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The Pernambuco Court of Appeal (Tribunal de Justiça do Estado de Pernambuco) has stayed a lower court decision giving ownership of church properties in the state to the minority faction loyal to the national Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB). The effect of last week’s decision is to return custody of the church properties to the Diocese of Recife and its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchôa, while the court conducts a de novo review of the dispute.

On 31 July 2013 Bishop Uchôa told Anglican Ink the diocese was ready to turn over the properties to the IEAB but on “the 21st the state high court judged our appeal and gave us a positive answer. The state high court judges will now review the case. It means that they accepted [the case for study] and said ‘no’ to the first judge who had given the [properties] to the IEAB.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Recife loses court battle over church property to the IEAB: Anglican Ink, July 21, 2013 July 21, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anglican Ink, Property Litigation.
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The Bishop of Recife, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchôa has convened an extraordinary meeting of the diocesan synod for 20 July 2013 to discuss a civil court ruling handed down this week that awarded the diocese’s property to a faction aligned with the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB).

“I have called an extraordinary synod for this Saturday to have a united voice from the Diocese with the presence of our lawyers ,” Bishop Uchôa told Anglican Ink.

In 2005 the Bishop of Recife, the Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti was deposed for incivility by his fellow bishops following several years of doctrinal disputes between the Evangelical bishop and the liberal majority in the Province. After he was removed from office, the province then defrocked 32 Recife clergy without trial for backing their bishop. Approximately 90 percent of the lay members of the diocese followed Bishop Cavalcanti and are presently under the metropolitan oversight of the primates Anglican Church of North America and the Province of the Southern Cone.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Depositions of Brazilian breakaway clergy announced: Anglican Ink, April 20, 2013 April 21, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anglican Ink, Secession.
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The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) has deposed five São Paulo clergy following the secession of their congregations from the province last month to revert to their pre-1975 status as overseas chaplaincies of the Church of England.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Liberal schism in Brazil: The Church of England Newspaper, March 31 2013, p 7. April 4, 2013

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The largest Anglican congregation in South America has quit the diocese of São Paulo and the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB). On 17 March 2013 parish council of St. Paul’s Cathedral in São Paulo stated that while they remained in the Anglican Communion they were reverting to their pre-1975 status as a chaplaincy.

The Church of England was the first non-Roman Catholic Church established in Brazil with chaplaincies and Rio de Janeiro, Santos and São Paulo beginning in 1810. The São Paulo Anglican chaplaincy was registered with the government and legally incorporated in 1873, the parochial council statement said– 17 years before the Episcopal Church of the USA founded the IEAB.  “Therefore, the English chaplaincies have 80 more years of life and their assets are untouchable, according to the treaty of 1810, and this agreement has always been respected by the IEAB.”

The parish council stated that in 1975 Saint Paul’s had “spiritually” joined the diocese of São Paulo but it’s assets remained independent of diocesan control.   “This agreement was formalized by the Parochial Board, emphasizing the existence of spiritual bonds but not property.”

The congregation also announced that it would remain under the spiritual oversight of Bishop Roger Bird of São Paulo and retired Archbishop Glauco Soares de Lima. The primate of Brazil and general secretary of the IEAB have not responded to queries as to the status of Bishop Bird and Archbishop Soares de Lima within the church’s House of Bishops, nor has Bishop Berger responded to queries as to whether he too has left the IEAB.

However the IEAB website as deleted Bishop Bird’s name from its list of diocesan bishops stating São Paulo was under temporary primatial oversight.

Two other congregations have joined the Cathedral in quitting the IEAB– all Saints in São Paulo and Goiânia Anglican Church.

The reasons the schism are unclear but is not linked to the secession of the diocese of Recife. The Cathedral worships the liberal Catholic tradition and welcomes “all Brazilians who enjoy the inclusive way, didactic, therapeutic and caring way of proclaiming the Good News of God’s Kingdom … We are and will always be, respectful of the inclusive of tradition our Mother Church – the Church of England – who founded us and of which we are proud to belong.”

The Cathedral has provided the bulk of the income for the diocese of São Paulo and its withdrawal is likely to have financial consequences as it was the” largest Anglican community in Latin America, larger even than the vast majority of Episcopal Dioceses of Brazil.”

Schism divides Brazilian Anglican church: Anglican Ink., March 28, 2013 March 28, 2013

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The Bishop of São Paulo and the former primate of Brazil have quit the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB), taking with them the largest Anglican congregation in South America.

On 17 March 2013 parish council of St. Paul’s Cathedral in São Paulo stated that while they remained in the Anglican Communion they were reverting to their pre-1975 status as a Church of England chaplaincy and were no longer under the oversight of the IEAB.

Money and politics rather than doctrine appeared to be behind the secession of St. Paul’s. The Bishop of Recife, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchoa said the new group was not affiliated with his diocese in the Northeast. He told Anglican Ink that in 2012 the Diocese of São Paulo attempted to elect a new bishop. HoweverI “the bishop elected was not accepted by some churches. They opened a protest against the diocese and from this mess the bishop in office and the retired bishop Glauco Soares de Lima, ex primate of Brazil, left together and now they call themselves just Anglicans.”

Grief for Brazilian fire victims: The Church of England Newspaper, February 10, 2013 p 7. February 15, 2013

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The nightclub fire that killed 237 young people last week has led to an outpouring of grief in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria.

In the early morning hours of 27 Jan 2013, a fire broke out at fresher’s ball for new students at the Federal University of Santa Maria at a local nightclub when a member of one of the ignited a firework while on stage.  The device, later determined to have been a signal flare, ignited foam insulation in the ceiling.

The Provincial Secretary of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) the Rev. Arthur Cavalcante, telephoned Bishop Francisco de Assis of the Diocese Sul Ocidental to offer the church’s condolences and solidarity “to the public of Santa Maria and to seek more information about the incident.”

Bishop de Assis “extended his thanks for the many messages of solidarity from all of Brazil and from Anglican churches worldwide. The Cathedral of Santa Maria, located close to the site of the tragedy, held a prayer vigil this Sunday,” the IEAB reported.

Bishop Miguel Uchoa of Recife told The Church of England Newspaper the death toll was expected to rise as hundreds had been injured in the stampede to flee the burning building. “The Diocese of Recife and it´s churches has been praying for the people and the city there since the morning of that Sunday” fire, bishop said.

Police report that over 90 per cent of the victims died of smoke inhalation. Colonel Guido Pedroso de Melo of the Rio Grande do Sul Fire Department stated that the club’s only exit, the front door, was locked. “This overcrowding made it difficult for people to leave, and according to the information we have, the security guards trapped the victims inside.”

Last week’s night club fire was Brazil’s most deadly blaze since a circus fire killed more than 500 people in Niterói in 1961.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 52: October 12, 2012 October 12, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anglican.TV, Church of England, Church of Ireland.
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Kevin and George bring the latest Anglican News from around the world. This week they discuss the state of Religious News Reporting, the retirement of Charles Bennison, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Vatican II and much much more. Twitter #AU52 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

Recife elects new bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, September 30, 2012 p 6. October 2, 2012

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Bishop-elect Miguel Uchoa of Recife

The rector of the largest Anglican parish in South America has been elected Bishop of Recife. On 15 Sept 2012 the Rev. Miguel Ângelo de Andrade Uchoa Cavalcanti, rector of the Paróquia Anglicana Espírito Santo in Jaboatão dos Guararapes in the state of Pernambuco was elected fourth bishop of the diocese in succession to the late Dr. Robinson Cavalcanti.

Two candidates stood for election and on the first ballot Fr. Uchoa received 79.5 per cent of the lay and 69.3 per cent of the clergy votes from the 58 lay and 52 clergy delegates present, defeating the rival candidate, suffragan Bishop Evilásio Tenório.  In 2005, the bishop and almost all of the Recife clergy were expelled from the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil.  Bishop Cavalcanti, his clergy and approximately 90 per cent of the congregations moved under the oversight of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone and are linked to the Anglican Church in North America.

In a statement released after the synod, Bishop-elect Uchoa said he was humbled by his election.  It was now his duty to “fulfill God’s call to this new phase of my life and ministry. But, I must emphasize, that the call does not just happen in my life. It is a call to our diocese, for the people, the clergy, the leaders of all communities, for the whole Church of Christ gathered in the Diocese of Recife” to “serve God and to align with His perfect will.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Robinson Cavalcanti buried: Anglican Ink, March 12, 2012 March 13, 2012

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Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti and his wife, Miriam, were laid to rest last week at the House of Peace Cemetery in Paulista in Northeastern Brazil, following an emotional funeral service at Emmanuel Anglican Church in Orlinda.

Recife’s two suffragan bishops and 50 members of the clergy participated in the service.  Several hundred mourners overflowed the parish church, participants at the 29 Feb 2012 service tell Anglican Ink.

Read the full story at Anglican Ink.

Recife bishop murdered: The Church of England Newspaper, March 2, 2012 p 5. March 8, 2012

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Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife and his wife were murdered in their home in Olinda in Northeastern Brazil on Sunday evening.  The bishop’s adopted son is alleged to have knifed his parents and attempted to take his own life after the attack.

On 26 February 2012, at approximately 10:00 pm the bishop returned to his home in Olinda after having visited a parish earlier in the day.  The bishop’s son is alleged to have pulled a knife on his father and stabbed him. Mirian Cavalcanti, the bishop’s wife, attempted to intercede and was stabbed also.

The bishop’s son, Eduardo Cavalcanti (29) was visiting his parents from the United States.  Sources tell The Church of England Newspaper the young Cavalcanti was facing deportation proceedings in the U.S. due to criminal and drugs charges.  Local accounts report that Eduardo was seen drinking at the beach and playing with a knife – said to be the murder weapon – before the crime took place.

Bishop Cavalcanti died in his home from a stab wound.  His wife was taken to Tercentenary Hospital in Olinda but died en route.  Eduardo Cavalcanti stabbed himself a number of times and ingested what is believed to be a poisonous substance after the crime.  He is in hospital under police guard.

The bishop’s death was a tragedy, the Rev. Gustavo Branco told CEN. The Cavalcantis “had always been known by their gift of hospitality. The Diocese is mourning but we must go on. It was his will. It is God´s will,” he said.

On 20 May 2011, the 68 year old bishop told the 35 annual convention of the Diocese of Recife that he would retire on his 70th birthday in June 2014.  The bishop was deposed in 2005 along with the majority of the clergy of Recife by the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) for contumacy for their refusal to follow the province’s liberal line on gay bishops/blessings.  However, this decision has not been recognized by a majority of the wider Anglican Communion.  The diocese has been under the temporary provincial oversight of the Province of the Southern Cone and has close ties to the Anglican Church of North America.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has long attempted to mediate the dispute between Recife and IEAB. Dr. Williams told a press conference at the close of the 2009 Primates Meeting he had sent emissaries to the two sides and hoped “this would lead to an eventual reconciliation.”

However, Bishop Cavalcanti last year told The Church of England Newspaper this was an unrealistic hope.  Forcing the two into one institutional body would compel “people of two different religions to live formally together,” he said.

Since it broke from the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) in 2005, the diocese has seen significant growth and “has more than doubled its number of congregations, clergy and members,” a diocesan spokesman noted.  As of the start of 2011, the diocese stated it had 5,102 members in 47 congregations with 61 ordained clergy, and a “presence in 9 Brazilian states” – and is roughly half the size of the IEAB.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Curate’s Egg – Political Language in Religion Reporting: Get Religion, February 28, 2012 February 29, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Get Religion, Press criticism.
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Bishop: “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr Jones.”

Curate: “Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!”

“True Humility” by George du Maurier, from Punch, (1895).

Reporting on the Anglican Communion and its religious wars is a tricky business. The path of least resistance for most reporters is to secularize the fight, splitting the combatants into liberals and conservatives and placing the dispute within the context of America’s culture wars.

Now this is not wrong, merely incomplete. There are partisan political considerations at work in the fight within the Episcopal Church — one faithful gauge of the theological temperature of an Episcopal congregation are the bumper stickers found on the cars in the parking lot on Sunday mornings. In 2008 Obama or McCain stickers were good indications of the political and theological sentiments of the parish.

The Episcopal Church’s statistical office has reported — for years — that in the aggregate the lay people (the folks in the pews) are evenly divided between self-identified liberals and conservatives. But congregations are for the most part monochrome. This lack of diversity at the roots is also represented in the bureaucracy at the national and diocesan church offices. They are a mirror to their masters.

So on one level, the left/right split is a useful shorthand for reporters when covering the Episcopal Church. And when you go to the sources for information in an Episcopal or Anglican story you will likely speak to someone on a particular side.

But when things move to a deeper level this language doesn’t fairly describe reality. There are political liberals who are theological conservatives and political conservatives are theological liberals. Nor is the language of politics useful when describing Anglicans outside of North America. A news story found on the Washington Post‘s website taken from ENI and the Religion News Service is a good example of the disconnect between language and reality — and impartiality of sources.

The lede sentence to the story “Breakaway bishop who denounced gay bishop found murdered in Brazil” states:

A conservative Brazilian bishop who broke away from his church over the consecration of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire was found murdered with his wife in the northeastern town of Olinda, according to the diocese.

Like the curate’s egg, this is good, but in parts. The facts as stated are true. Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti and his wife Miriam were murdered. But what about the adjectives?

(As an aside, I should say I have known Bishop Cavalcanti for about 14 years and considered him a friend. I last saw him over the summer when I was reporting on a bishops’ meeting held in California and we pleasantly passed the time together in conversation between plenary sessions of the conference.)

Let’s look at the word “conservative”. Yes, it is fair to say that Bishop Cavalcanti was a theological conservative. To be precise he was a conservative Anglican evangelical of the English variety whose faith was formed and founded upon Scripture.

But he was also a socialist. Before he entered the ordained ministry he was a professor of political science and rector of a university. He also stood for election as a deputy to Brazil’s parliament under the banner of the Workers Party (PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores). Elected bishop of the Diocese of Recife in 1977, Bishop Cavalcanti remained active in secular politics serving as the Pernambuco State coordinator for the 1989 presidential election campaign of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (President Lula finally achieved electoral success and served as the 35th President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010.)

The bishop was also the author of the 1985 book Cristianismo & Política, which saw in the Gospels a warrant for the political transformation of Brazilian life — from the left. Speaking at the 1990 meeting of the Latin American Theological Fraternity, Bishop Cavalcanti stated that while it was true that “Communism had failed in the East,” it was also true that “capitalism had been a permanent failure for two thirds of the World.”

So is Bishop Cavalcanti a conservative? He told me last summer that he believed Scripture to be “trustworthy and true” and should guide the church’s teachings on human sexuality. So, on the gay issue, I guess he was.

On social and economic issues he was not. He was a man of the left. And here the reporter is faced with the issue of deciding which descriptor to use. It is equally true to say the “liberal Brazilian bishop” as the “conservative Brazilian bishop.” Perhaps the second half of the sentence should guide us: “who broke away from his church over the consecration of an openly gay bishop.”

The problem there is that it is half true. Yes, Bishop Cavalcanti opposed the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. But Bishop Cavalcanti did not break away from the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil. He was kicked out. This fact is hinted at in the WaPo article which notes he was “defrocked on the grounds that he broke communion with the official Anglican church in Brazil.”

The story arc for the rest of the bishop’s career is equally dubious and is informed only by reports from the press office of the Episcopal Church in New York. However, the issue I wish to raise is the use of political terms to identify religious questions.

I do it all the time — classifying people and positions as liberal and conservative in the context of the various church scenes. But I am not happy about it. I have seen attempts to introduce other language to classify religio-political points of view but they are not as mellifluous as I would like — and one spends more time explaining words that are to be used as shorthand than the actual positions under consideration.

Nor do I like reducing everything in church debates to the gay issue. Bishop Cavalcanti is my exemplar on this point. Should his views on human sexuality take precedence over his scholarly work and his social-economic teachings? Both were founded upon a reading of Scripture.

How then, GetReligion readers would you resolve this issue. More adjectives? A new vocabulary? Less descriptors and more quotes to allow individuals to self-identify? What say you?

First printed at GetReligion.

Robinson Cavalcanti murdered: Anglican Ink, February 27, 2012 February 27, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Anglican Ink, Crime.
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Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti preaching in the U.S.

The Diocese of Recife reports that Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti and his wife were murdered in their home in Olinda in Northeastern Brazil last night.  The bishop’s adopted son is alleged to have knifed his parents following a quarrel.

On 26 February 2012, at approximately 10:00 pm the bishop returned to his home in Olinda after having visited a parish earlier in the day.  The bishop’s son is alleged to have pulled a knife on his father and stabbed him.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

Recife’s Robinson Cavalcanti to retire: The Church of England Newspaper, June 9, 2011. June 9, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America, Pastoral Visitor programme.
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Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Anglican Bishop of Recife, the Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti, has called for the election of a bishop-coadjutor.

Speaking on the occasion of Recife’s 35th anniversary as free-standing diocese on May 20, Bishop Cavalcanti said that he will retire on his 70th birthday in June 2014.  He called for the election of a coadjutor bishop in 2013 “to make an orderly transition without prejudice to the normal activities of the diocese.”

Since it broke from the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) in 2005, the diocese has seen significant growth and “has more than doubled its number of congregations, clergy and members” a diocesan spokesman said earlier this year.  As of the start of 2011, the diocese stated it had 5,102 members in 47 congregations with 61 ordained clergy, and a “presence in 9 Brazilian states.”

Deposed along with his clergy of Recife by the IEAB for contumacy, the 2005 legal action has not been recognized by a majority of the wider Anglican Communion, and the Archbishop of Canterbury has long attempted to mediate the dispute.  Dr. Williams told a press conference at the close of the 2009 Primates Meeting he had sent emissaries to the two sides and hoped “this would lead to an eventual reconciliation.”

However, Bishop Cavalcanti last year told CEN this was an unrealistic hope.  Forcing the two into one institutional body would compel “people of two different religions to live formally together,” he said.

The stagnation of the IEAB has led Recife to expand outside of its diocesan boundaries and it now has “a presence in 9 Brazilian states,” the diocese said.

To oversee this growth, the diocese is organizing four archdeaconries and will elect two suffragan bishops later this year.  The diocese has asked for the prayers of the wider church in support of its mission to bring the Gospel to Brazil and “hopes to count on the support of orthodox Anglicans throughout the world” in its work.

Gay unions are ‘God’s will’, Brazilian archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, May 27, 2011 p 6. May 28, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Marriage.
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Archbishop Maurício de Andrade

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Anglican leaders in Brazil have divided sharply over that country’s Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex unions. On May 5 the Federal Supreme Court (STF) held the right to freedom of expression should be construed to include the choice of sexual conduct, and authorized gay civil unions.

On May 16, the primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, (IEAB), Archbishop Maurício de Andrade lauded the decision as an “important advance in our society” for “equality and citizenship.”   The ruling was part of God’s plan for Brazil, he noted, and should be seen as the “gradual and subtle inspiration of the Holy Spirit in transforming our society.”

However, the breakaway Bishop of Recife, Robinson Cavalcani, along with leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, denounced the ruling, saying that  reducing sexual conduct to a choice of expression undermines traditional marriage.

The justices of the STF voted 10 to zero to give legal sanction to gay civil unions.  The decision grants gay couples many of the rights enjoyed by married couples, including pension benefits and inheritance.   ”The freedom to pursue one’s own sexuality is part of an individual’s freedom of expression,” said Justice Carlos Ayres Britto, the author of the ruling, in explaining the decision.

The ruling has raised legal as well as moral qualms in South America’s largest country.  Brazil’s constitution does not touch upon the subject and the ruling is drawn from language governing free speech and expression.  It has also been denounced as anti-democratic as it takes the issue out of the hands of legislators.

Archbishop Andrade said the ruling “poses serious challenges to all Christians of all churches because it requires openness to recognize that [homosexual] relationships are part of the way of being of the society and of the human nature.”

Bishop Cavalcanti, however, sharply denounced the decision. “Immorality was legalized. Sin was legalized. Brazil is in mourning.”

The evangelical leader predicted the “next step is the criminalization of heterosexuals who do not recognize the normalcy of homosexuality.”  He noted that an act pending before the Brazilian Senate, PLC 122, seeks to curtail freedom of religion and freedom of speech of those who see homosexual conduct as sinful in deference to the right of freedom of expression to those who promote it as a moral good.

However, Bishop Cavalcanti stated the new ruling would not change church teaching, and he called Evangelicals and Anglicans across Brazil to remain faithful to Scripture and to the moral teachings of the church.

Call for prayer following Rio school shootings: The Church of England Newspaper, April 15, 2011 p 7. April 18, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Crime.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in Rio de Janeiro have expressed their deep sadness in the wake of last week’s school shooting that left 12 children dead.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta said he “deplored what happened. I am praying and uniting my sorrow with all those who were killed, and with their parents, families and friends.”

The primate of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, Archbishop Mauricio de Andrade commented that “in this tragedy, people close and people far away are sorry and are united in pain with the parents of the 12 murdered children. We too, from the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, are sorry and praying to God that He may comfort these families, wipe their tears and renew their hope in the resurrection.”

City spokesman Evandro Bezerra said Wellington Menezes de Oliveira (23) arrived at the Tasso da Silveira elementary school, where he had studied as a child, and was “well dressed and carrying a backpack” on the morning of April 7.

De Oliveira told school officials he had been invited to speak with students for a conference, but once inside the school he climbed to the third floor of building and began shooting.

Two students were able to escape from the building and alerted two policemen nearby.  They exchanged gunfire with de Oliveira, hitting him in the leg.  The gunmen then turned his pistol on himself and took his life.  Twelve students were killed, and twelve others wounded in the rampage.

Mr. Bezerra said de Oliveira “came to the school prepared to do what he did. The letter that was found on him is something that no normal person would write. It is an incomprehensible letter written by an eccentric person, by someone who has no love for life.”

“The moment is of pain,” Archbishop de Andrade said

“Pain for the parents of Larissa, Bianca, Géssica, Karine, Marissa, Samira, Ana Carolina, Luiza Paula, Laryssa, Milena and Rafael,” he said.

“Our prayer today is that ‘God, in all his kindness and mercy, comfort all these families in their pain, hold them together in His love so that they may be strengthen by his Grace. That they trust in His mercy and face the future days with courage and confidence in God’s Grace’,” the archbishop said.

Brazil to have a Protestant majority in 10 years time, report claims: The Church of England Newspaper, March 18, 2011 p 8. March 23, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.
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Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The world’s most populous Roman Catholic country, Brazil, will have a Protestant majority within 10 years, the International Mission Agency serving Pastors and Leaders (SEPAL) reports.

In a study released last month, SEPAL researcher Luis André Bruneto stated that by 2020 the number of Brazilian Protestants would total 109.3 million out of a projected population of 209.3 million, or 52.2 per cent. Statistics released by the Brazilian government census bureau and the Datafolha Institute show that as of 2010 the Protestant population stood at 57.4 million out of a population of 190 million, or 30 per cent.

Mr Bruneto told the Christian Post his estimates were based on the current annual growth rate of evangelical and Pentecostal churches of 7.42 per cent holding steady. The growth of Protestant churches will not come through mass conversion, he said, but by a “profound transformation in a society’s way of thinking, orientated by the influence of redeemed Christians.”

Brazil’s growing middle-classes were the most fertile ground for Protestantism, he noted. Protestants were “militant in evangelistic outreach, and are adopting rules that are less strict. Christian life is getting greater visibility in society where there is a greater flexibility of customs.”

Not all Protestant groups are witnessing growth, however. The Lutheran Church, brought to Brazil by German immigrants, has lost members to more conservative evangelical churches, while the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil’s membership has been stagnant for some time.

However, the breakaway Diocese of Recife reports strong growth in line with that witnessed by other conservative Protestant denominations. In January Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife reported his Diocese had more than doubled in size since it withdrew from the IEAB.

Bishop Cavalcanti stated that as of year’s end, the “Diocese has a membership of 5,102 in 47 congregations – Parishes, Mission Plants and Points – and has a presence in nine Brazilian states, with 61 clergy and an ample network of social outreach ministries.”

He noted that “since its expulsion” from the IEAB five years ago, the “Diocese of Recife has more than doubled its number of congregations, clergy and members.”

On March 15, Bishop Cavalcanti reported his Diocese had been welcomed as a member of Brazil’s Aliança Evangélica, and that he had been elected a member of its Council of Reference.

The Diocese of Recife, “of an evangelical and charismatic ethos,” would not rejoin the IEAB, the Bishop said, claiming that it “refuses to repent of its doctrinal and moral heterodoxy” and did not “maintain the Apostolic Faith and the Resolutions of the Lambeth Conference.”

Recife would, however, “within the current realignment process” of the Anglican Communion, seek to maintain “links” with the Church’s “orthodox sectors.”

Activist appointed Brazilian church general secretary: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 21, 2011 p 7. January 22, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper.
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Brazilian church general secretary the Rev. Arthur Cavalcante

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) has selected a new general secretary.  On Jan 16, Archbishop Mauricio Andrade announced the appointment of the Rev Arthur Cavalcante, rector of Holy Trinity Church São Paolo to succeed Canon Francisco de Assis da Silva, who was elected bishop of Southwestern Brazil last November.

The new provincial secretary trained as a dentist before entering the ministry, and was educated at the Anglican Seminary in Recife.  Fr. Cavalcante served as executive secretary of the Diocese of Recife from 2002 to 2003 and was appointed rector of Holy Trinity São Paulo in 2005.

An active member of the church’s national Liturgy Commission, Fr. Cavalcante has been a member of the state of São Paolo Working Group on Religions – HIV / AIDS, as well as a sponsor of Latin America’s first “Gay Anglican Choir.”  In 2009 Fr. Cavalcante coordinated the Anglican Church’s participation in São Paulo’s gay pride festival, and has been a vocal supporter of former President Luiz Lula da Silva’s proposed “Homophobia Law,” PLC 122/06, which would make it illegal to criticize homosexual behavior in Brazil.

The breakaway Bishop of Recife, the Rt. Rev. Robinson Cavalcanti, was sharply critical of the appointment saying the appointment of a gay rights activist was “one of a number of former evangelicals who seized control of the IEAB in the middle of the last decade,” the bishop said.

However, the IEAB said Fr. Calvalcante’s appointment came after an “intense process of consultation between bishops, the Chair of the House of Deputies and leadership” of the church, and was widely welcomed.

Brazilian bishop elected vice-moderator of ACT Alliance: The Church of England Newspaper, Nov 5, 2010 p 6 November 11, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, NGOs.
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A file photo of Bishop-elect da Silva (left) celebrating the Eucharist with the primate of the IEAB, Archbishop Orlando Santos de Oliveira in 2006

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) Canon Francisco de Assis da Silva, has been elected vice-moderator of the ecumenical relief agency ACT Alliance at the organization’s annual meeting held on Oct 26 in Arusha, Tanzania.

The previous day, the Diocese of Southwestern Brazil elected Canon da Silva bishop-coadjutor at a special meeting of the diocesan synod held in Santa Maria, in the Rio Grande do Sul state in southern Brazil.  Canon da Silva was elected bishop-coadjutor after the first round of voting, and will succeed the Rt. Rev. Jubal Neves as bishop upon the latter’s retirement.

A lawyer by training, Bishop-elect da Silva was educated at the Northern Brazil Baptist Seminary and was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in Recife in 1991.  The new bishop served as rector of St Mary’s Church in Belém do Pará and at All Saints’ Church in Novo Hamburgo, Rio Grande do Sul and from 2003 to 2006 was president of the IEAB Synod’s House of Clergy and Laity.

The Geneva based ACT Alliance has over 100 member churches and NGOs and is at work in 130 countries providing long-term development and humanitarian assistance.  According to its website, the agency last year dispersed $1.5 billion in aid through its members in a quest towork together for positive and sustainable change in the lives of people affected by poverty and injustice through coordinated and effective humanitarian, development and advocacy work.”

Recife denies Archbishop’s claim: CEN 2.27.09 p 8. March 1, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England Newspaper.
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Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti.  Photo taken at the 2005 Hope and a Future Conference in Pittsburgh

Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti. Photo taken at the 2005 Hope and a Future Conference in Pittsburgh

Church leaders in Brazil have questioned the Archbishop of Canterbury’s assertion that an informal mediation process is underway between the Provinces of the Southern Cone and Brazil over the Diocese of Recife.

In his Feb 5 press conference held at the close of the Primates Meeting in Alexandria, Dr. Williams gave an overview of the recommendations made by the Windsor Continuation Group to the primates for responding to the divisions within the communion.

A “pastoral forum” to hear disputes and “pastoral visitors” who “can act as consultants in situations of stress and conflict” were proposed, Dr. Williams said, adding that “in case that sounds too abstract, I might mention that we have tried this out informally as between the province of Brazil and the Southern Cone over the question of Recife.”

“Two pastoral visitors were appointed to go and investigate the situation in the Province, discuss with various people and propose some ways forward,” Dr. Williams said.

“And although its taken a couple of years to move things on, some of those recommendations are bearing fruit,” the archbishop said, adding that it “in some cases” a pastoral visitor scheme “could be helpful.”

In a statement posted on his diocesan website on Feb 9, Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of Recife said Dr. Williams appeared to have been misinformed about the situation in Recife.

The mediation process described by Dr. Williams had “never begun. Dr Williams is not being well informed by his staff or is receiving inaccurate information from the revisionist leadership of the Province of Brazil,” the diocese said.

In 2005 Bishop Cavalcanti was deposed for incivility by his fellow bishops following several years of doctrinal disputes between the Evangelical bishop and the liberal majority in the Province. After he was removed from office, the province then defrocked 32 Recife clergy without trial for backing their bishop.

Approximately 90 percent of the lay members of the diocese followed Bishop Cavalcanti and are presently under the metropolitan oversight of Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina.

Dr. Williams appointed the former Bishop of Southwell, the Rt. Rev. Patrick Harris and the Bishop of Peru, the Rt. Rev. William Godfrey as pastoral visitors to Recife in 2006. The two met with the leadership of the diocese and the national church and prepared a private report for Dr. Williams.

The diocese also filed an appeal with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Panel of Reference, but no action was taken by Lambeth Palace and the appeal was never forwarded to the panel for adjudication.

Conversations about Recife were held at the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam and at the 2008 Lambeth Conference between Bishop Venables and Brazilian Archbishop Mauricio de Andrade, but these were only brief exchanges with no substantive discussions or action taken, Bishop Venables said.

Bishop Cavalvanti stated that to his knowledge, there were no talks underway and that nothing had transpired since the pastoral visitors filed their, still secret, report with Dr. Williams in 2006.

Mediation was not likely to be successful in Recife, Bishop Cavalcanti said as the differences were “deep and irreconcilable.”

Episcopal Church summit discusses mission: CEN 3.01.09 March 1, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America, La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, The Episcopal Church.
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Delegates from the Anglican Churches of North and South America are meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica, this week for a five-day conference on Mutual Responsibility and Mission. An initiative of The Episcopal Church, the conference seeks to build closer links for mission between the eight provinces in the Americas.

Conference keynote speaker, the Rev John Kafwanka, a staffer on the Mission and Evangelism desk of the Anglican Consultative Council, told the Episcopal News Service “this week we have come to discuss and we have come to consider something that is really not new and yet sounds new at the same time” — the interdependence of the Communion across the world.

Read it all in The Church of England Newspaper.

Episcopal Church summit discusses mission

Diocese of Recife facing legal action: CEN 11.21.08 p 6. November 24, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Secession.
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The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) has filed suit against the breakaway Diocese of Recife seeking to gain control of the diocese’s properties.

On Oct 30, Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti stated that “following the example of their allies in the USA and Canada” the IEAB has “filed a suit against the Diocese of Recife in Pernambuco’s State court seeking to annul our juridical identity.”

They are “intent on the seizure of certain key properties (including the Cathedral and the Diocesan Central Office), in which for so long we have carried out the tasks of evangelism, thus posing a direct threat to our mission and social outreach.”

The Provincial Secretary of the Brazilian Church, the Rev. Francisco da Silva declined to comment on the litigation, but documents filed with the court allege that following the mass deposition in 2005 of Bishop Cavalcanti and 32 members of the Recife clergy, along with the secession of approximately 95 percent of the church’s members, the church properties should now be turned over to the IEAB.

Historically the small Anglican Church in Brazil was supported by two doctrinally and geographically distinct groups, with the Episcopal Church of the US supporting the church in Southern Brazil and the Church of England supporting the church in the Northeast of the country. Recife followed a different path of theologically development than the southern dioceses and retained an Evangelical identity while the southern dioceses moved into the Affirming Catholic camp. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, Bishop Cavalcanti was the sole Brazilian bishop to vote with the majority in support of Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality.

Following his 2005 deposition from the IEAB, Bishop Cavalcanti and his diocese was given shelter in the Province of the Southern Cone. While repeated public calls for reconciliation have been made by the leaders of the IEAB, no action has ever been taken to resolve the dispute.

“As a diocese, we have never surrendered to the option of unlimited comprehensiveness, nor capitulated to the absolute relativism that marks the post-modern liberal revisionism of the Brazilian Province,” the Recife Standing Committee said on Oct 30.

“Neither have we accepted the attempt to force us into ‘continuing church’ status. We are part of the Anglican Communion, part of the Global South, partners of the Networks of the Anglican Communion in the US and Canada, partners of the Common Cause Movement, of GAFCON, signing on to the Jerusalem Declaration and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, in permanent dialogue with all the orthodox expressions of Anglicanism, seeking to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in this slow, difficult, but inevitable realignment,” they said.

However, “geographical and cultural distances often cause us to feel isolated and make it difficult for us to be heard and understood,” by the Western churches. “We hope that Anglican leaders, and the Gafcon Primate’s Council, to whom we appeal, and particularly those who share with us the same principles, sincerity and transparency, may exercise discernment with regard to reports concerning us, so that justice may be done to our identity and dignity as we seek a stable institutional future for our diocese within the Anglican Communion,” they said.

The Bishop of the Amazon July 16, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Lambeth 2008.
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The Rt Revd Saulo Mauricio de Barros on the opening day of the Lambeth Conference

Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti December 14, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Album (Photos), Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil.
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ji4w0787.jpg

Bishop Cavalcanti in move to Southern Cone: CEN 12.14.07 p 6 December 14, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Ecclesiology, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.
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Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti along with the congregations and clergy of 44 parishes in Northeastern Brazil were received last week by Bishop Gregory Venables as an extra-territorial diocese of the Church of the Province of the Southern Cone.

The reception marks a shift in the status of the traditionalist Brazilian congregations from a personal prelature of Bishop Venables over individuals in Recife to a formal ecclesial entity within the Province.

In 2005, Bishop Venables extended his personal primatial oversight to Bishop Cavalcanti and 40 priests of the Diocese of Recife after they were deposed by the Brazilian church for contumacy.

While a new bishop was appointed to oversee the remaining clergy, over 90 per cent of the diocese’s members backed Bishop Cavalcanti and withdrew from the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) to form the Anglican Diocese of Recife (DAR).

Bishop Venables issued a “statement of support” to the DAR clergy recognizing their “ordinations and ministries, and provide[d] a special status of extra-provincial recognition by my office as Primate of the Southern Cone until such time as the Panel of Reference, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Anglican Communion has, in some way, adequately addressed this crisis.”

Following last month’s vote by the South American synod to welcome ecclesial entities into the Province, delegates to the 37th annual DAR synod on Dec 8 asked to be received as an “extra-territorial” diocese, and adopted legislation conforming the diocese’s constitution and canons to those of the Southern Cone.

Bishop Cavalcanti said synod had sought to “find the language necessary to bring the diocese of Recife into formal relations with the Southern Cone” and into “normal provincial life.”

Bishop Venables welcomed DAR into the Southern Cone and assured them of the Province’s “united support and prayers for you and particularly for my deep sense of privilege as your brother and Primate.”

Brazilian Diocese Received Into Province of the Southern Cone: TLC 12.11.07 December 14, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Ecclesiology, La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America, Living Church.
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Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti, along with the congregations and clergy of 44 parishes of the Diocese of Recife in northeastern Brazil, were received last week by Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables as an extra-territorial diocese of the Church of the Province of the Southern Cone.

 

The reception marks a shift in the status of the traditionalist Brazilian congregations from a personal prelature of Bishop Venables over individuals in Recife to a formal ecclesial entity within the province.

 

In 2005, Bishop Venables extended his personal primatial oversight to Bishop Cavalcanti and 40 priests of the Diocese of Recife after they were deposed by the Brazilian church for contumacy. Approximately 90 percent of the diocese backed Bishop Cavalcanti and withdrew from the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) to form the Anglican Diocese of Recife (DAR). The IEAB appointed a new bishop to oversee the remaining clergy.

 

Following last month’s vote by the Southern Cone synod to welcome ecclesial entities into the province, delegates to the annual synod in the DAR voted on Dec. 8 to ask to be received as an “extra-territorial” diocese, and adopted legislation conforming the diocese’s constitution and canons to those of the Southern Cone.

 

Published in The Living Church.

Presiding Bishop visits Western Hemisphere Partners: TLC 6.09.07 June 10, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Living Church, The Episcopal Church.
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Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, visiting Cuba to participate in the consecration of two suffragan bishops, will visit the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB) next month, that church’s primate has announced.

Read it all in The Living Church.

New Global Centre Pleads for Doctrinal Latitude in Church: CEN 6.08.07 p 6. June 7, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Communion, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, Church of England Newspaper, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, La Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America, La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico.
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A coalition of bishops from Brazil, Mexico, Central America and the Spanish-speaking dioceses of the Caribbean have released a statement calling for doctrinal latitude within the Anglican Communion, arguing that a respectful diversity of opinion could be an engine of renewal and growth for the Church.

In a letter released following a May 18-22 meeting in San José, Costa Rica the Bishops, who call themselves the Centro Global, [Global Center], distanced themselves from the hardline approach taken by the American Church and its allies amongst the “Global North” and the opposing “Global South” coalition of dioceses in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

This growing “polarization” between the “non reconcilable” truth claims of the “Global North and Global South” had placed the “unity of the Communion at risk” they said, noting “in the midst of this painful controversy, we do not identify with either side, because they don’t fully represent the spirit of our thoughts.”

Among the signatories to the letter were supporters of the progressive agenda including two of the consecrating bishops for Gene Robinson, El Salvador Bishop Martin Barahona and Central Ecuador Bishop Wilfredo Ramos, along with American bishops who strongly opposed his consecration: Colombian Bishop Francisco Duque and Honduran Bishop Lloyd Allen.

The Centro Global bishops acknowledged that within their ranks were those who “hold different positions on the themes that are presently discussed in the Communion.” However this “plurality and diversity” had been a “rich source for growth, rather than a cause for controversy and division.”

Echoing the call of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams the Centro Global bishops affirmed their intention to maintain Eucharistic fellowship across doctrinal and party boundaries and invited the bishops of the Anglican Communion “to join together and work for an effective reconciliation, interdependence and unity in the diversity of our family of faith and so preserve the valuable legacy of which we are guardians.”

Their meeting in San José left the Centro Global bishops with the firm “conviction that, [the Anglican Communion] will make it with God’s blessings. Of this, we are sure and now we return to our dioceses comforted and full of joy and hope.”

WCC 9th Assembly – Archbishop de Oliveira: ACNS 2.17.06 June 7, 2007

Posted by geoconger in ACNS, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, WCC.
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Brazilian Primate, Archbishop Orlando de Oliveira and the church’s provincial secretary the Rev. Francisco da Silva celebrating the Eucharist for Anglican participants at the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil on Feb 16, 2006.

First published by ACNS.

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