The World Social Forum and the absence of the worldwide Anglican Communion


These days we are participating in Belém, capital of Pará and the see of the Diocese of Amazon in another edition of World Social Forum. This movement of organized society is completing eight years since it was inaugurated in 2001, in Porto Alegre. Since its beginning, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil  close to ecumenical partners and interreligious groups have supported and marked presence in their editions.
Some people asks about why our church is institutionally involved and  so continuously with this movement, which still arouses suspicion in the mass media. Here, some arguments to justify the relevance of such commitment.
1. It is a movement that appears to be the opposite side to the World Economic Forum, who includes the most powerful people in the world and that over time has maintained a model socially unjust and responsible for exclusions of billions of people around the world.
2. It is a movement that has no religious characterization and / or ideological control of their actions.
3. It is a movement of convergence around the deep wish for another world possible.
The first premise is clear that the World Social Forum is composed of individuals, organizations and movements who rebel - in the political sense of the word - against the conformism before the world's economic structure. We live in a world of large corporations and  policies that favor capital at the expenses of working people and the sustainability of the environment. Such a model thus can not simply be accepted as true.
The second postulate put in front of us an alternative leadership. Usually we are guiding our lives by religious or ideological paradigms. The Forum, however, does not profess any official ideology or  and is conducted by a model of self-management. The common sense of its suporters are the search for alternatives against inequality, oppression and destruction of the environment.
The third postulate show us  that the movement is deeper inclusive. The diversity of its social actors interacts the most common goal that is the desire for a culturally plural society and for another form of co-existence and co-responsibility.
It is in this context that our church feels committed to the Forum. As a church who seeks to be inclusive, the Forum is also a school for the improvement of our own character.
The celebration of welcome to members of churches and ecumenical bodies in belém showed us as we can learn from the unity in diversity. Several religious traditions were there alongside the Christians. With joy and trusted mutual commitment they offered their gifts without fear of being excluded by theological or political criteria. We danced together the carimbó, which is typical local dance  in a heartful call for participation and integration. Under this sunny light  - the symbol of the ecumenical presence in this year is a interreligious Sun figure  - europeans, asians, Africans, Latin Americans from various religious and political beliefs  joined together to say: we want and we can build another world possible.
My provocation to the Anglican Communion is why such living moviment so closer to our five marks of mission is still ignored. Some individulas anglicans around the world (Brazil, Canadá, USA ) and from different contexts are involved with it. But, differently to the WCC, International Development Agencies and other institutional instances, I don't know any formal commitment from Anglican Communion as worldwide Church.  I hope that this serious institutional indiference could be overcomed as soon as possible.

Patience and Good Luck Obama!




Looking to the crowd gathered in Washington for Barack Obama's Inauguration, I remembered that six years ago a great popular feast in Brasilia as our country celebrated as never before the arrival of a worker to the Presidency.
Joy and almost an explosion of hope were in the minds and hearts of our people.
Today, six years later, our President Lula certainly did not reached everything he promised but certainly changed the image of Brazil.
This is what I see in the faces of the United States' citizens today. An explosion of joy and hope. Obama certainly will not make anything he wants, but the History is putting in his hands the opportunity to change. The dream and the reality will be the train track on which the new President will walk to make possible the change. Not only in the face of the world but also in the face of his own nation.
The most important thing to be done by the new President is to act with patience and wait the results of their work as a gardener wait for the flowers appearance.
Changes require time and mature. The most important thing is want to do. The rest depend on the ability of leadership to make other people and nation to become committed partners of this change.
My prayers for this young president who assumes the country's leadership in a very difficult times. The journey will be difficult, but if his heart is signed in the dream of ancestors will have enough energy to take the steps that need to be done!
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Gene Robinson and the signal of changes!

The recent news about the invitation of bishop Gene Robinson to take part in the religious celebrations at the President Obama's Inauguration Day is a clear message that the US society is really living a new time.
It is one more evidence that the President Obama seeks to affirm the consistency of his campaign as a statesman.
He has given signs that understands very well the position of to be a head of State in a pluralistic society, multicultural and religiously complex.
When he received criticism for choosing a conservative evangelist to also take part in the celebrations, his reaction was the most patient possible, giving a clear intention that he wants rule not only by the pressure of organized segments of society, but in an inclusive perspective.
The feeling that the President must always keep in heart is to ensure that the ideological and cultural differences must be lived under the rules of the law, preserving the right of free expression and manifestation of all social actors.
It is not an easy task for a statesman. Normally the tendency of politicians is to seek popularity and this has a high price. Try to please everyone is absolutely impossible. Who wants to please everyone probably will not please anyone.
The next President has shown - at least in situations of conflict of interest - that he can wait the waves hit the sand and calm down in reflux.
I think this is a good start for a government that wants to be a real change.
His statement about the conflict in the Middle East is a certificate that for him the most important is the unity of the country.
His addressing about that the U.S. can not have two international policies or two governments was very ethical. From January 20 the USA will have a single government and the hope of many that is really witness a government of change. At least the requirements are placed on table. Among them, the inclusion of people who think differently. Those in US society must wait to have a guarantee that the visibility of their rights and their values will be respected.
Gene Robinson, go with confidence and show that as within the larger society, the church also needs to live the richness of difference and guarantee the freedom and legitimacy of every person.

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Playing with the intelligence and feelings


Even where the Israeli army will play with our intelligence? Humanitarian ceasefire? Three hours? Honestly speaking the Israeli government could at least be accused of crimes against humanity by deliberately causing more than two hundred deaths of children.
Is absolutely disgusting the indifference to the civilian victims of the invasion of Gaza. I think this is the most stressful military operation of Israel throughout its history. Certainly there will be a big change from the international society against a government that has just approved the intensification of attacks in Gaza.
I hope that these actions do not become an even greater hatred of Islamic radicals against the people of Israel. That would only be worse for the Jewish civilian population.
All the reasons that the targets of military action are the Hamas basis for launching rockets becomes unsustainable by trail of blood and pain that we see every time trough the press.
I am becoming increasingly aware that diplomacy is dying, powerless to stop the hostilities. What our Church leaders can do more against such barbarity? This is the question that is shouting in my heart!

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Peace for Gaza

conflict in Gaza (owned by REUTERS)

We have seen an increase in the last week of the conflict in the Gaza Strip with more than 420 fatalities, and a great majority of innocent civilians, including children.

These events have shaken the international public opinion but not yet the Israeli's authorities. Moreover, it is not today that the prevailing discourse in Israel related to the Palestinian people is based on military strategy.

The mainly argument for this violent reaction is the launching of rockets by Islamic militias against the Jewish territory

Nothing more disproportionately than the comparison of forces between the radical Islamic militia and the army of Israel.

I'm raising my voice to of all people of good will that has been engaged in in solidarity with the Palestinian people. A people whose reality is marked by constant threat of violence and exclusion.

Let us pray for the people of the Gaza, and we must create a chain of solidarity to pressure the Israeli government and the militias to stop the hostilities creating conditions to lead a diplomatic agreement. All of us, by our Christian consciousness have commitment to those who suffer the violence of war, specially when the conflict separate and cause pain to people of the same root.

I recently joined an important cause. Is the cause of the Shministim. They are young Jews who are imprisoned for refusing to military service for reasons of conscience. Are men and women between 17 and 20 years old who refused to join the Israeli army called to fight against the enemies of Israel, including the Palestinians.


This movement is gaining strength even within Israel, perhaps signaling that new generations want to overcome the hatred and the creation of a peaceful coexistence between Jews and Palestinians. The movement has a website that can be accessed in http://www.december18th.org/

I hope the internacional leadership and the United Nations take the most urgent measures to ensure that the ceasefire be achieved. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop of the TEC and other leaders of the Anglican world have called incessantly for that.

May God in His infinite mercy console the victims of yet another aggression against the Palestinian who is trying for many decades to build their own legitimate nation.
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