Leadership Development Seminar Held for Portuguese Speakers
“Basically what we were trying to accomplish was to foster a UM ethos among Portuguese-speaking clergy and laity,” said the Rev. Saul Espino, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s director of Specialized Theological Education. Espino said they will go back to their local churches and teach the material they studied.
GBHEM, through the Methodist Global Education Fund for Leadership Development, sponsored the June 21-24 seminar, which was based on Ted A. Campbell’s book,Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials. The book was translated into Portuguese and published by EDITEO (2010). The Methodist School of Theology of the Methodist University of São Paulo, Brazil, donated 20 books which were given to the participants of the seminar and will be used as study guides for United Methodist communities with Brazilian immigrants in the U.S. An estimated one million Brazilian immigrants live in the U.S.
Participants also discussed the development and organization of the Brazilian ministry in the U.S. and the educational needs of these communities, particularly new pastors. The General Council of the Methodist Institutions of Education (COGEIME) in Brazil was asked to take the concerns of these communities to both the Faculty of Theology and the Methodist University of São Paulo.
Drew, located in Madison, N.J., is interested developing a relationship with Portuguese-speaking pastors and fostering theological education for that group, Espino said.
A multi-year partnership between The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Global Ministries, and the Methodist Church in Brazil, has enabled the development of the Methodist community of Brazilian immigrants in two U.S. states.
In areas of New Jersey and Massachusetts, there is a large concentration of Brazilian immigrants and missionaries assigned by the Methodist Church in Brazil. The missionaries are working in Harrison, Howell, Kearny, Freehold (part of the New Jersey Conference) and Saugus (part of the New England Conference).
The Brazilian pastors who are serving these cities are the Rev. Lourdes Teixeira Magalhães (3RE), Rev. Herbert Juncker da Silva (5RE) and Rev. Clauri and Rev. Juarez Gonçalves (5RE). Rev. Edgar Avitia, who represents the General Board of Global Ministries and who assists these ministries, was also present at the seminar.
Programs for Brazilian immigrants have also been developed and supported by The United Methodist Church in Ohio, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. And other conferences, including New York and Pennsylvania, have expressed interest in starting ministries with Brazilian immigrants.
GBHEM’s Methodist Global Fund for Leadership Development raises funds and supports training projects, as well as encouraging partnerships and collaboration among more than 700 Methodist educational institutions around the world for the formation of new generations of leaders for the church and society. Through the cooperative agreement in 2008 between the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and COGEIME, the regional office of the Global Fund for Latin America is based in Brazil, under the responsibility of COGEIME and coordinated by Rev. Luis de Souza Cardoso.