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WCC general secretary echoes concerns of Brazilian churches

WCC general secretary echoes concerns of Brazilian churches

© Marcelo Schneider/WCC

16 September 2016

“The remarkable development to overcome poverty in Brazil has been an inspiration for many others, and it is extremely important that justice for the poor continues to be on the agenda for the leadership of Brazil”, said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Tveit has been in São Paulo, Brazil, from 7 – 9 September, attending the Pentecostal World Conference and meeting local church leaders.

Brazil's Senate ousted President Dilma Rousseff on 31 August, ending an impeachment process that polarized Latin America's biggest country amid a corruption scandal and economic crisis.

On 8 September, Tveit met the leaders of the five WCC member churches in Brazil, to hear their assessments on the ongoing crisis and the role of churches.

“The needs of the poor, the preferential option for the poor, must always be a concern of the church”, he said. “The respect for human rights, and for the care for minorities particularly, will be a test case for Brazil in this time.”

The WCC general secretary also commented that the country’s political crisis also has “moral and spiritual dimensions”.

“There is a lack of confidence related to corruption, but also much wider than that. The challenges in terms of confidence to the democratic system, a policy that should secure a share of the power among the people of the great nation of Brazil, and particularly how it could empower all, including the less privileged, to influence the direction of this policy," he said.

For Tveit, WCC member churches offer strong common commitment to values that can serve the whole society, even if the churches themselves do not represent a majority in numbers.

“Many in the global South, but also in the North, have been looking to Brazil for the commitment in development,” he said.

The meeting on 8 September was attended by Bishop Luiz Vergílio Batista da Rosa and Bishop Stanley Moraes, from the Methodist Church in Brazil; Rev. Dr Nestor Friedrich, from the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil; Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary; Bishop Flavio Irala, from the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil and president of the National Council of Churches of Brazil; Rev. Aureo Oliveira, from the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil; Rev. Wertson Brasil, from the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil; and Dr Marcelo Schneider, WCC communication officer.

WCC member churches in Brazil