The first woman to be elected as an Anglican bishop in south America has been consecrated. Bishop Marinez Bassotto will lead the Diocese of Amazon in the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil. Thousands of people from Brazil and around the world attended the service at the sports court of St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral compound in Belém do Pará. The service was held outside to accomodate the large congregation.
“The ceremony was infused with local customs, including caboclo dancers carrying the Gospel in procession, offerings of local fruits and vegetables and a full set of cruets, chalices and patens made in Marajoara pottery,” the Revd Luiz Coelho, a priest from Rio de Janeiro, who was at the service, said. “The rain – so common in the Amazon – was also present, with several showers happening throughout the service. Fortunately, that was a covered court, so nobody got wet.”
The Primate of Brazil, Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, presided at the service; and the Bishop of Huron from the Anglican Church of Canada, Linda Nicholls, preached a sermon. The dioceses of the Amazon and Huron have a long and enduring companion link. The Bishop of Cuba, Griselda Delgado del Carpio, was also present.
Prior to her consecration, Bishop Marinez served parishes in Porto Alegre and Cachoeirinha, including having been Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral for several years. She has also taken part of several province-wide capacities, including being the Custodian of the BCP, member of the National Liturgy Commission and of the National Diakonia Commission. She is married to Paulo and the couple have two daughters: Luísa and Laura.
The province amended its canons in 1984 to permit the ordination of women to all three orders of ministry; but despite many women serving as deaconsa and priests, it has taken more than three decades since the canonical changes before a woman was consecrated bishop. The first women to be ordained a priest in Brazil, Carmen Etel Alves Gomes, said: “a 33-year old glass ceiling was shattered”.
Bishop Marinez’ consecration, on Saturday, was on Tiradentes Day – a public holiday in Brazil in honour of one of the martyrs of the Inconfidência Mineira, a pro-independence movement that was quickly clashed by Portugal in the 17th Century.