Igreja Metodista no Brasil
Queridos colegas e amigos,
Entre 1970 e 1974 tive a infelicidade de ter Adolfo Evaristo de Souza como colega em Recife. Ele provou não apenas ser incompetente, mas presunçoso a tal ponto de crer que ele era o presente de Deus ao mundo em todas as maneiras.
Após uma curta participação na “Equipe Fraterna”, a fraternidade ecumênica que tínhamos em Recife, ele se retirou para “fazer o trabalho do Senhor.” Quando fui seqüestrado em 1974, o Adolfo simplesmente não foi visto. Lauro Cruz, outro colega nosso, pelo menos mostrou seu rosto e veio ver o que poderia fazer por mim.
Alguns anos depois, o Adolfo anunciou a todos em sua Região Eclesiástica, em São Paulo, que o Espírito Santo o visitara e revelara-lhe que ele seria eleito bispo. Isso não aconteceu no Concílio Geral seguinte, mas ele continuou sua propaganda ad nauseum até que no Concílio Geral seguinte ele se elegeu – e foi enviado para servir na Terceira Região. Todavia, sua incompetência lá foi tão grande que ele foi mandado para a Região da Amazônia, onde ele tem feito estrago com os Metodistas de lá. Não sei o que pode ser feito, mas essa declaração dos Metodistas que padecem sob sua perseguição exige algum tipo de ação – que suspeito não virá da Igreja Metodista brasileira.
Paz a todos.
Methodist Church in Brazil
Dear colleagues and friends,
From 1970 to 1974 I had the misfortune to have Adolfo Evaristo de Souza as a colleague in Recife. He proved himself to be not only incompetent, but much convinced that he was God's gift to the world in every way.
After a very shortwhile of participating in the Equipe Fraterna, the ecumenical fellowship that we had in Recife, he withdrew to "do the Lord's work." When I was kidnapped in 1974, Adolfo was nowhere to be seen. Lauro Cruz, our other colleague, at least showed his face and came to see what he might do for me.
A few years later, Adolfo announced to one and all at his Annual Conference inSao Paulo, that the Holy Spirit had visited him and revealed that the would be elected bishop. It didn't happen at the next General Conference, but he kept announcing it ad nauseum to the point that at the next General Conference he was elected bishop--and appointed to serve the Third Region. However, his incompetence there was so great that they then sent him to the Amazonas Region,where he has been wreaking havoc with the Methodists there. I don't know what can be done, but this statement by the Methodists suffering under his persecutions calls for some kind of action--which I suspect will not be forthcoming from the Brazilian Methodist Church.
Peace to you all.
O rev.Fred Morris atuou no Brasil entre os anos de 1964 a 1974 como missionário da Igreja Metodista dos Estados Unidos, tendo sido preso em 1974 por seu envolvimento na luta de Dom Helder Câmara em favor dos pobres e por uma reportagem da revista Times, da qual era colaborador no Brasil. Foi torturado pelos militares e posteriormente expulso. Em 2008 recebeu compensação do governo brasileiro pela sua prisão ilegal, tortura e expulsão.
Este é o texto que está circulando na mídia ecumênica internacional, relatando o abuso de autoridade que acontece na Igreja Metodista.
Persecuted Methodists find Sanctuary
Some members of the Methodist Church in the city of Belém, in Brazil’s northern state of Pará, have congregated from house to house each Sunday for more than a year. Many have been Methodists since the beginning of the church, which is located in the Pedreira neighborhood. Nevertheless, because of their ecumenical positions and their participation in community initiatives in which the Methodist institution doesn’t act formally, they have been victims of persecution by Bishop Adolfo Evaristo de Souza, responsible for shepherding the Methodist people in the Amazon. The persecution reached the point where they were forbidden to participate in the ministries of the local church, which meant that they could only attend worship services.
At least one case has been formally denounced to the College of Bishops of the Methodist Church, but it did not receive the College’s attention, nor did it generate compassion or actions to stop abuses.The situation of the Church in Belém is not an isolated case, for in recent years there have been reports, in messages circulated through the internet, of other people who have suffered attacks, directly or indirectly, from certain leadership of the Methodist Church.The difference, in the case of the Belém Church, is that instead of being demobilized, it was kept alive in family meetings, but it lacked pastoral support. With the support of the Confessing Methodists’ Network, which has challenged the authoritarianism that has characterized certain individuals in the leadership of the Methodist Church, the Methodists from Belém asked for asylum and were received by transference to the Methodist Church of Bela Aurora (Beautiful Dawn) in the city of Juiz de Fora, in the state of Minas Gerais, 3100 kilometers (1925miles) from their hometown.A special program was held for the reception, which took place on the 27th and 28th of November of 2010. Eight members of the church in Belém represented the totality of the seventeen members that had asked for their transference.Now these families in Belém constitute a missionary point of the Bela Aurora Church, receiving pastoral support and the sacraments. In addition to the ones who traveled to Juiz de Fora, the gathered church in Belém participated in the worship, interacting in a virtual conference through the internet, with the images shown on a screen inside the temple.
The unique decision of the Bela Aurora community was grounded in the connectionality regulated by the Book of Discipline, the greater law that guides administrative rules and missionary guidelines in Brazilian Methodism,but, above all, was rooted in the biblical orientation and the living Christian faith, marked by the welcome and support for those persecuted for the sake of Christ’s cause. The realization that believers were persecuted by their own family certainly led to the eruption in the heart of the Bela Aurora community,its leadership and pastor, the Reverend Moisés Abdon Coppe, of the urgent need to react, receiving the Belém believers.It was a great symbolic moment on the path of the faithful in Belém, Bela Aurora and the Confessing Methodists’Network, promoter of the event.The Confessing Methodists’ Network is a group that desires the rehabilitation of historical Methodism which, in Brazil, has undergone inglorious moments, where there are people suffering persecutions,exclusions and destitutions of their ministerial functions and offices indifferent instances, both in the local communities and in the Methodist Church’s regional and national institutions.
The persecution happens because these people disagree with models that are alien to the Methodist identity. The models hurt the spirituality of members converted to the principles that have marked Methodism: “think and let think”.
Some witnesses confirm the reality lived out in today’s Methodist Church in Brazil:“We have suffered much violence from the church. Our first reaction was of perplexity. The alternative was to appeal to the judicial instances of the Church, without the conviction that it would have any result. The Bishop of the Missionary Region of the Amazon loves confrontation, likes to quarrel, and looks for fights. But the group now dreams of one day being able to return to normality. The present model of the church is crushed under the tyranny of bishops. Many pastors want to stop being nails and become hammers. That’s why there are many ‘revelations’ and‘denouncements’, no one feels safe.” (Saulo Baptista);
“I suffered abandonmentwhen I was in the city of Benfica with my wife, from where we were excluded. I fear for the future of the church in Bela Aurora. Some Methodist leaders have been very cruel to those who don’t go along with the present line of thinking.”(Mazinho, layman from Bela Aurora);
“I know this crisis won’t be solved here. I saw the possibility of bringing the Belém group to Bela Aurora, even without having laid a plan for this; I followed the suggestion of the members. Notwithstanding, I feel very happy with this decision. I feel the power of God is acting. The moment calls us to welcome and protect and pay the price. I am at ease and will keep on the path of my beliefs.” (Reverend Moisés Abdon Coppe,presiding minister at Bela Aurora).
“With my mother I learned how much the Methodist Church values the gift of love. It was not a rebellion, but because of this gift, that we decided to welcome the people of Belém. The church taught me this, through my mother.” (Denis, layman from Bela Aurora)
The creation of the Confessing Methodists’ Network revealed that there existed much unknown grief. It was discovered that, after the General Council held in 2005, many members simply left the Methodist Church. But the community in Belém constituted a “resistance group”. Therefore their cry for help was received as an act of love, fraternity and knowledge of the missionary role by the community at Bela Aurora.The event at Bela Aurora serves as an example to other“resistance groups” in Brazil. In a search through the World Wide Web one will discover the existence of virtual communities, especially composed by youth,dissatisfied with the ways of the Methodist Church in Brazil.
The worship service to receive the persecuted members that now make up a missionary point in Belém of the Church of Bela Aurora will certainly open an important historical precedent in the Methodist Church in Brazil. This “event” sheds a beacon of light upon the connectionality of the church, expressed in the Disciplines and, at the same time, brings to mind that the Holy Spirit blows where it wills, and that wherever two or three or more are gathered in the name of Jesus, He shall be present.
We recall the final words of the sermon preached by Reverend Adahyr Cruz at Bela Aurora: “The Word of God, brothers and sisters,calls us to resist any kind of injustice against us and our neighbor. We cannot hide our witness, as a lamp under the table, even when persecuted, so that justice may come and love may be proclaimed”.
By the good Grace of God and the guidance of John Wesley’s life, founder of Methodism, some of the persecuted have been welcomed by Bela Aurora. Now we need to know what will happen to Rev.Moisés Abdon Coppe, who shone upon Methodism in Brazil the light of Dawn for life, love and the essence of the Good Shepherd, the one that looks after the sheep, especially those that have been cast out from the flock.The Confessing prayer is that God, in God’s Grace, takes care of Pastor Moisés and all of those who suffer any kind of persecution.. Even in times of darkness, love casts out all fear.
Rede Metodista Confessante
(Confessing Methodist’s Network) http://www.metodistaconfessante.blogspot.com