'God is not Homophobic: An Anglican Contribution to Overcoming Homophobia' was the title of one of five papers presented at a theology conference this week in Brazil, under the theme “Anglican theology and public engagement.”
Five theologians from around Brazil participated. Co-chair of the conference, Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings, described it as a hugely valuable encounter: “It was an intense experience, full of joy and friendship and those friendships will continue. It was an atmosphere of joy and learning from each other along with worship and bible study.”
The mission theology project exists to “raise up new 'Doctors of the Church' in the global South to write, network, publish and engage with theologians in the global North, to renew the worldwide Church and influence society.” The Brazil participants were a mixture of academic and lay theologians from different walks of life.
Co-chair, Professor Joanildo Burity, who is Lead Researcher/Professor at the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation in Brazil, said the conversations revolved around life in their Province – but at the same time would act as a gift for the wider Anglican Communion: “Public engagement is central to how we understand mission in the Anglican Communion; it’s not something that is part time, it’s built into how you see Church and society.”
One of the five participants, Dr Paulo Ueti, who is also Regional Facilitator for Latin America for the Anglican Alliance, described the conference as very inspiring: “The papers and conversations were about what we can do on the ground and how we can share our Christian spirituality; we are to be activists in the world; this is our mission and our work as theologians is to reveal it.”
The organisers of the conference were also taken by surprise when they realised they had an accomplished artist in their midst, Revd Eduardo Henrique (name as artist, Ribeiro Halves), who gave visual expression to the theological exchanges. Professor Burity: “It gave this instant experience of what we had spent hours talking about - lengthy theological discussions summarised in pictures. Making sense of the theology through our sight – instead of arguing!”