Having been back for less than 24 hours it’s hard to give as objective reflection but some things were very obvious:-
- The vastness of the country – larger than the U.S. if you exclude Alaska and second only to China in size.
- The love and honour that Brazilian Methodists give to John Wesley especially in holding social concern and evangelism together – which they seek to emulate - and do so! Woe betide you if you don’t mention him somewhere in the sermon!
- The average age of the congregations and the pastors was 35 and 30 respectively! This affects the worship somewhat – no organ in sight!
- We were glad to have visited the north as well as the south of Brazil. The difference in terms of affluence, job opportunities, church resources etc was striking. In many ways this was more challenging than posh apartments next door to Favelas - especially when some Favelas have become little more than tourist attractions!
- The importance of small groups for every member.
- A passionate desire to make Christ known in every way possible.
A few days recovery and preparation time now before Ministerial Synod where with my colleagues in the Newcastle Upon Tyne District I renew my promises made at Ordination. Then its back on an aeroplane to the South East and a few days later to The Chanel Islands. I think this is what’s called a frequent flyer!
Please pray for the Methodist Church in Brazil especially on “their day” in our Methodist Prayer Handbook (9th) They have much to teach and inspire us with but plenty of challenges of their own too!