[Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil] On Sunday, Jan. 27, the Episcopal Anglican Church in Brazil (IEAB) woke to the tragic news that the entire country is still struggling with—in the early hours of the morning at a nightclub in the city of Santa Maria in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, a raging fire claimed the lives of 230+ persons, the majority of them young people and students.
Santa Maria is home to the headquarters of the Diocese of Sul-Ocidental of the IEAB. According to its Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, the location of the nightclub is in close proximity to the Episcopal cathedral in Santa Maria. Bishop Francisco was immediately available for pastoral support, even as families dealt with the painful task of identifying the victims. The local community of faith sprang into action, reaching across denominational lines to organize an ecumenical service of remembrance for the victims, and offering pastoral support to the families in mourning.
Primate Mauricio Andrade and Provincial Secretary Arthur Cavalcante were also quick to contact Bishop Francisco and offer their support and messages of solidarity with the families of the victims and the wider community in Santa Maria. The IEAB continues to support and encourage Bishop Francisco and the Diocese Sul-Ocidental as they continue to minister to their community in this difficult time. Archbishop-elect of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also sent Bishop Francisco a letter conveying his condolences for the community of Santa Maria, and that he and many others would continue to hold the bishop, his clergy, and the community in their prayers.
Articles from earlier this week are available at the following link (in English) on the IEAB’s website: http://ns.ieab.org.br/2013/01/29/solidarity-with-the-victims-of-the-tragedy-in-santa-maria/ as well as at the ecumenical Latin American & Caribbean Communication Agency: http://www.alcnoticias.net/interior.php?codigo=23348&lang=688.
— Nina Boe is serving in Brazil through the Young Adult Service Corps program.