[Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil] The Most Rev. Francisco de Assis da Silva, primate, in the wake of torrential rains in southeastern Brazil that have left more than 40 people dead and some 70,000 homeless issued a statement Dec. 30 expressing the church’s solidarity with flood victims.
Message from PrimateSolidarity with flooding victims
in Minas Gerais & Espirito Santo
Santa Maria, 30 of December, 2013
“Rescue me from the mire,
do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
from the deep waters!” (Ps. 69:14)
The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB) expresses its solidarity, care and commitment to flooding victims, especially in the states of Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais. That “the Spirit of God be with you” is our wish and prayer. Solidarity is a human need, but it is also an ethical and spiritual requirement for us Christians to be stirred to action and help people affected by this disaster. “I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me , sick and you visited me , imprisoned and you visited me … every time you did it to one of these my brethren , you did for me ” (Matthew 25:35-36.40 ) . The Church must always be a spiritual home and space of care and hospitality especially for those who have no place at this time. We should meet the victims, lower ourselves, touch, welcome, collect and lead to a safe place and provide financial resources for life to be restored (Lk 10:29-37).
The IEAB also shows concern that these kinds of situations have become commonplace in Brazil. Floods and their results are not simply natural phenomena that affect the population and territory randomly. Human intervention, or more precisely the lack of it, is quite well-known (in Brazil)— in terms of prevention and environmental and public housing policies, besides the corruption in which we live—it is also important to consider the occurrence of urban flooding, and its role in causing diseases, displacement, and fatalities.
We raise our voice to ask for urgency in attending to the victims, for transparency in resource management, from both humanitarian and public giving. And we will continue in active hope that such situations may occur less and less frequently until it does not happen ever. We continue fighting and joining with the voices of angels and saints (social movements, churches, people of faith, governments and people of goodwill) that are present and active in the care and active insistence that justice be done and life always continue (Lk 18:1-8).
St. Benedict reminds us that “if we want peace, we must seek it,” we must move and leave our meeting places. That the God of life and tenderness be always with us all, and alight in our lives the insatiable desire to encounter him, especially in the victims of this tragedy who clamor for food, water, housing, justice, care, and permanent policies.
++ Francisco de Assis da Silva
Primate of Brazil & Diocesan bishop in Santa Maria