[Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil] As a dream come true, the youth of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) gathered in Brasilia on 4-7 September 2015 for the National Meeting of the Anglican Youth Union (ENUJAB). With the participation of 250 young people from all Dioceses and from the Missionary District, Portugal, Mozambique, Honduras and Dominican Republic, the 4-day meeting allowed participants to encounter God and to commit with strengthening the work of the provincial youth.
The meeting was only possible because of the provincial efforts to prioritise the youth church. As such, the Youth Working Group (WG) was created, formed by Reverend Tatiana Ribeiro (Diocese of Brasilia), Reverend Jordano Santos (South West Diocese), Dominique Lima (Diocese of Recife), Débora Del Nero (Diocese of São Paulo) and Pedro Andrade (Diocese of Pelotas). The WG was responsible for planning the ENUJAB and seeking ways of making the dream of a gathered church youth come true. After a series of gatherings and with the support of the local church and its related organisations, such as SADD (Anglican Service for Diaconia and Development) and JUNET (National Board of Theological Education), AA (Anglican Alliance) and of the US (United Society), as well as the collaboration of young people from all dioceses, the ENUJAB finally came true.
Following the panel Welcoming and Service, participants were divided into workshops: Bible, Communication, Liturgical Dance, Sacred Art, Anglican Identity, Diaconia, Vocation, Unity in Diversity, Liturgy and Christian Responsibility. The workshops were facilitated by lay leaders, clergy and bishops, who dedicated themselves to reflect with the participants about the importance of the presence of young people in all spheres of the church and in IEAB’s missionary action. The marks of mission were the backbone of the whole conversation. The presence of Sandra Andrade, Trustee of Anglican Alliance and Coordinator of SADD (Anglican Service for Diaconia and Development), expressed the interest of the Working Group to connect the participant with the mission of the Church as transformative loving service.
The Bible studies and the liturgical moments were important not only spiritually and for praising God but also for the integration of young people from the most distinct Anglican realities throughout Brazil. Tradition was aligned to local contexts, expressing the capacity of the youth to worship creatively, without forgetting its Anglican identity.
On the evening of Sept 6, the artistic and cultural expression of each one of the Dioceses manifested; the participants presented music, poems, and drama performances, sharing the cultural diversity of Brazil. With a soundtrack which included sertanejo, samba, frevo, maracatu and carimbó, among other regional musical genres, the youth of the IEAB celebrated the last night of its meeting with joy and festivity.
The meeting ended with a moving service, which introduced the Contemporary Creed of the Youth, elaborated by the very own participants during the four days of ENUJAB.
The special presence of young people from Mozambique, Angola and Portugal, which alongside Brazil, belong to the Anglican Lusophone Network, was an opportunity to share contexts and stimulate links between the Portuguese-speaking members of the Communion, recognising them as members of the same faith in spite of the cultural differences of each country. In addition, the ENUJAB also received participants from Ghana, whose Diocese is partnered with the South West Diocese; Honduras and Dominican Republic, from the 9th Province; and Rachel Parry, from the Church of England, representing the United Society. Paulo Ueti, Anglican Alliance Facilitator for Latin America and the Caribbean also participated in the meeting and facilitated the Bible workshops during two days, focusing on how Bible can be interpreted as a source for spiritual and contextual transformation and strengthening.
Out of everything that was experienced, the sense of belonging to the church and its mission was vivid and expresses hope: the youth represents IEAB’s future, as affirmed by the Letter of the Youth and there is a challenge to get young people more engaged in building community and doing the mission of God. There is the sense of integration among young people from all over Brazil and they shared dreams and commitments to the calling made by the church, recognizing their vocation as active members of the church journeying towards the construction of the Kingdom of God.
The support offered by the clergy and the Bishops helped young people to feel empowered in their church and strengthened their understanding of the mission of God; they left the meeting with a renewed commitment with their leaders, as represented by the Leadership training course and the “Young People in Action” missionary project, actions which will be introduced soon.
Increasingly aware that the “church is something to be lived with passion”, this year’s ENUJAB was a moment of re-articulating the work of the youth, as once again young people devoted themselves to the church with the strength and vitality which are peculiar to them, making the voice of the youth echo in IEAB’s journey of faith.