04/05/2011

On April 5th, Compass Rose visitors went to the Parish Church of Christ the King, in Cidade de Deus (City of God), Rio de Janeiro. There, they were greeted by local parishioners with a Lenten lunch. Representatives of community projects linked with the church were also there.

The group arrived just in time to witness one of the projects at work. Alfazenda and the Eco-Network were hosting a conference on eco-sustainability and recycling. This is an especially important theme in an area of the city that still suffers with dirty streets and open air dumpsters. The Parish of Christ the King has been a pioneer in implementing environmentally friendly practices in that community. Recycling practices include a compost container and waste sorting. The parish is also refurbishing the church building’s roof, and adding a rain water filter and collector, so water can be reused for cleaning and gardening.

After lunch, the parish priest, Fr. Nicholas Wheeler, presented a brief presentation on the history of Christ the King Parish in Cidade de Deus, and how it tries to keep its doors open to anyone who wants to find solace and rest in God. In the spirit of a catholic ministry of presence, the parish also partners with several institutions which aim to transform people’s lives in that environment. Abrindo Portas (Opening Doors) is a NGO which teaches residents new workskills, which helps them find better paying jobs. Agência do Bem (Goodwill Agency) teaches music and human rights education to over 200 children in Cidade de Deus only. The Anglican Program of Healthcare, coordinated by the Diocese of Rio de Janeiro, and sponsored by Episcopal Relief and Development, provides free counseling and group therapy to residents.

Currently, the church community center does not have adequate rooms to allow all of these services to meet simultaneoulsy. Most of the structure is rather precarious. It is not wheelchair-accessible either. The Vestry of Christ the King launched an appeal to raise funds for a new building, which will be able to adequately host both church activities and local community partners. The appeal proposal can be downloaded here. A short video with Christ the King’s vestry member Vera Maia describing the motivation for the project can be watched below.

After the presentation, Bishop Philip Poole gave the senior warden, Mrs. Dora Macedo a symbolic gift of a tile depicting the Compass Rose. The bishop explained that these tiles were made in Jerusalem, near the actual station of the Via Crucis where Saint Veronica wiped the face of Jesus. His Grace challenged the parish Christ the King to continue to wipe the face of Jesus in the midst of that community.

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Luiz Coelho

Communications WG Member

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