National Meeting of the ACT Brazil Ecumenical Forum

The National Meeting of the ACT Brazil Ecumenical Forum was held in Brasília between 14th and 17th August. Held at the Biblical Institute of Brasília, it had an extremely rich agenda, including topics such as: ecumenical networks; claim-making; coordination between FEACT and the Evangelical Front for the Democratic Rule-of-Law (Frente de Evangélicos pelo Estado de Direito); the Social Movement Platform and Political Reform; Debate “God and the devil in politics – Compassion as a prophetic challenge” and sustainability of the ecumenical movement, etc.

The meeting brought together organizations from the Brazilian ecumenical movement, churches and ecumenical agencies, including, the Baptist Alliance of Brazil, Cebi, Cediter, the Immigrant Reception Centre, Joinville Human Rights Centre, Cese, Ceseep, Christian Aid, Clai, CMI, Comin, CONIC, Diaconia, FLD, Frente de Evangélicos pelo Estado de Direito, HEKS, Koinonia, Pad, Reju, PROFEC, UNIPOP and World Vision in addition to representatives from the CNBB Commission for Ecumenism, the Methodist and United Presbyterian Churches.

According to some of the participants, the high point of the meeting was, without a doubt, the seminar “God and the devil in politics – compassion as a prophetic challenge”, which prompted discussion on the challenges placed to the ecumenical movement in times of intolerance. “Religious alienation often becomes political alienation and that is why new ways of bearing witness to the faith need to be considered and re-envisioned”, declared the secretary-general of CONIC, Romi Bencke.

Another important moment was a presentation by the historian and researcher from the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Joanildo Burity, who spoke about the impacts of ecumenical networks on society. Burity drew attention to the fact that “the ecumenical presence in society is under-researched by Brazilian academia”. In his analysis, this presence is also “rarely seen because of the movement’s disinterested activity, in the sense of not wanting to make claims for political positions but only making its presence and activity in society felt by identifying with ecumenism and the search for justice and peace”.

Planning the ACT Brazil Ecumenical Forum‘s activities for next year was also carried out at this time. The guiding axis will be “ecumenism of rights in the context of the Latin American crisis”. The central point of the work will be the project “Migrants and Refugees – Challenges of the Common Forum”, which will have the aim of raising religious communities’ awareness to the situation of immigrants and refugees. A further important action will be the participation of FEACT representatives at the World Alternative Water Forum and World Social Forum, both in March 2018.

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