Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rio, Day 3

August 22, 2008

This day began with very sad news from home. Our old golden retriever, Gus, who has been with Sage for nearly twelve years died in the night. I found myself wishing I was home and wondering what Richard and I were really doing here at the beginning of Filadelfo’s episcopate. It is not clear yet that this can be a relationship of mutual worth, at least as far as All Saints’ is concerned. I am sad and I want to be with my family.

Lunch was at the home of the chaplain to the British Community and Christ Church, a building also used by a diocesan parish called S. Lucas. David Wheller and his wife Sue are both ordained from the Church of England and operate independently of the diocese. They were most hospitable but I was left with the sense that whatever their vision for their ministry it did not include providing leadership in the diocese. The rector of St. Luke’s, Eduardo Coelho Grillo was also with us. He reported a number of weddings and younger families joining his congregation, a hopeful sign. St. Luke’s is not the Cathedral of the diocese but I think is what we would recognize as ‘the Cathedral congregation’.

After lunch things started to happen. Eduardo is married to Inamar Correa de Souza who serves as the Dean of the Cathedral of St. Paul in an area called St. Theresa. The community is ‘transitional’, borders at least two favelas, now called ‘working communities’. Before taking us to the church she showed us a community garden for which the cathedral had raised funds, recruited professionals to teach gardening, sponsored celebrations as at planting and harvest, and recruited people from the congregation (of eight people when she started, now more like thirty), the community and form at least one of the favelas. Sometimes she might see as many as 150 in worship if she is baptizing children of people she has come to know by throwing open the cathedral, inviting community groups on, teaching basic life skills to poor women and so on. The area is dangerous in some respects. Imagination, at least two projects that could be recipients of MDG funds, a growing sense of community, generous Christianity (apparently criticized by some in the diocese who are of a more conservative bent), a place and people with whom many at All Saints could find exciting. There is much thinking and work yet to be done, but for the first time I have begun to think that we may have a place and purpose in this relationship.

Please give thanks not only for a hopeful day, but also for the life of a wonderful dog that I will sorely miss.

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