A breakaway Anglican church has been launched in Brazil following disputes in the worldwide Communion over sexuality.
Miguel Uchoa Cavalcanti was on Saturday appointed the first archbishop and primate of the Anglican Church of Brazil – a splinter movement from the official Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil.
It follows a similar move by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), which split from The Episcopal Church in the US in 2009 after the latter adopted increasingly progressive attitudes towards sexuality. The ACNA was backed by GAFCON, a conservative grouping launched in 2008, which claims it is now the home of orthodox Anglicanism.
The latest effort comes after the former bishop of Recife, Robinson Cavalcanti, left the Episcopal Church of Brazil in 2005 and started operating independently. The diocese then formed its own regions which developed into dioceses themselves and now it is now being hailed by GAFCON as a new province.
GAFCON says the Anglican Church in Brazil is now the 41st province in the Anglican Communion. However there are officially still 39 provinces because neither the ACNA or the Anglican Church in Brazil are recognised. At the latest meeting of the heads of Anglican provinces in Canterbury last year, they warned against 'cross border intervention', where one province operates in another province without consent or approval.
'We recognised that there were opportunities for joint initiatives and mission partnerships for the benefit of the Gospel where these are agreed between provinces,' the communiqué at the end of the meeting last October said. 'However, consent was critical to any inter-provincial collaboration and it was essential that courtesy and love should be extended to Provinces at all times.'
But Uchoa praised GAFCON and thanked the group for its support.
'Through our struggles, Gafcon has been a wonderful support, helping us through the tragic death of our Bishop, and helping us organize first as a Diocese, then as additional Dioceses, and now as a Province,' he said. 'We are deeply grateful to be able to be a part of such a great movement that is committed to Biblical authority and historic Anglican teaching and practice.'
GAFCON's chair, Nicholas Okoh, the primate of All Nigeria, said: 'We commend your courage to stand and be counted for Jesus at a time when many are in a state of self- inflicted confusion. We are loyal Anglicans, loyal to the faith once for all delivered to the Saints.
'We're ready to march forward with those who embrace, or refuse to redefine, the apostolic faith. We, as others, are redeemed sinners, but must not canonize sins in order to fill space in churches. Hearty congratulations. The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.'
Foley Beach, head of the breakaway Anglican Church of North America said: 'With the Anglican Establishment not only tolerating, but now embracing revisionist theology and non-Biblical morality, it is quite refreshing to see Anglicans on fire with the Jesus of the Bible and taking seriously his commission to go make disciples!'