Health and strength for the whole body of Christ were a guiding focus throughout July 6-10 meetings in Brazil where Anglican leaders nationwide welcomed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church...It is refreshing to see us celebrating our common mission with our global partners instead of being so focused on interior maintenance, isn't it?
...Recife's Gameleira spoke of his diocese's increasing health and rebuilding after a series of widely reported schisms in which hundreds of parishioners departed, and the previous bishop, Robinson Cavalcante, was deposed amid conflict over views of theology and human sexuality. The diocese is steadily stabilizing, said Gameleira, and a new cathedral has been consecrated earlier this year in the Espinheiro suburb.
Commenting on church conflicts, Jefferts Schori later told the group assembled July 9 in Porto Alegre that focus on mission keeps dioceses healthy.
"Conflict to the side, that [mission focus] is what will keep us together," she said. "In the Episcopal Church, as in Brazil, the dioceses focused on mission are healthy. They don't fall into consuming conflict."
Jefferts Schori added that the Episcopal Church's 10 overseas dioceses "are clearly focused on mission; they're not concerned with the conflict within the Anglican Communion" as a primary issue.
That afternoon in another session devoted to dialogue with lay and ordained women gathered in Porto Alegre from across Brazil, the Presiding Bishop and other participants reiterated that homophobia and racism are inconsistent with receiving all people into the body of Christ.
The group also discussed ways in which women are engaged in uniting the Anglican Communion through new initiatives, including the Anglican Women's Empowerment organization...