Anglicans have celebrated their liturgy in Brazil since the beginning of the 19th Century, in many English chaplaincies throughout the country and under the guidance of the Church of England. Those were the first non-Roman churches established in these lands.

However, the Church intentionally began to move towards Brazilians in 1890, when two American missionaries, the Rev. Lucien Lee Kinsolving, who became the first Bishop of the Anglican Church of Brazil, and the Rev. James Watson Morris, organized a mission in Porto Alegre. The first service was held in the afternoon of June 1st 1890, Trinity Sunday, in Porto Alegre, at 387 Voluntários da Pátria St., in an ample rented house, which became known as Mission House. At that time, the city had about sixty thousand inhabitants. The Rev. William Cabell Brown, The Rev. John Gaw Meem, and a teacher, Mary Packard were missionaries who arrived the year after the mission was started. These five people are considered to be the true founders of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil. Some time after, they established missions in Santa Rita do Rio dos Sinos (today Nova Santa Rita), Rio Grande and Pelotas. These three cities and the state capital soon became important strategic points and irradiating centers of the expansion and development of the newborn Church.

Since the beginning, missionaries counted upon the necessary participation of many Brazilians. Among those intrepid pioneers and courageous proclaimers of the Gospel, were: The Rev. Vicente Brande, the first to host the missionaries in Porto Alegre; the Rev. Américo Vespúcio Cabral, a great preacher, known as the “Brazilian St. John Crysosthom”; the Rev. Antônio Machado Fraga, who helped found the missionary work in São Leopoldo and Montenegro, and the Chapel of the Redeemer in Pelotas, which is now a diocesan cathedral; the Rev. Bonaventura de Souza Oliveira, who joined the missionaries in São Paulo and came to the South with his family; The Rev. Júlio de Almeida Coelho, who spent most of his ministry in Jaguarão; and the Rev. Carl Henry Clement Sergel, an ex-clerk and British citizen, who helped the Rev. William Cabell Brown to establish the Church in Rio de Janeiro and who built the churches of Santa Maria and Santana do Livramento. These pioneers also helped establish the Church in Viamão (1895), Jaguarão (1898), Santa Maria (1900), Bagé (1903), São Leopoldo (1904), São Gabriel (1906), Rio de Janeiro (1908) and many other cities and rural zones, mostly in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Many others came after that, establishing churches and chapels in many places of Brazil, following an expansionary route towards North.

In 1899, the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil received its first bishop, the Rt. Rev. Lucien Lee Kinsolving. The threefold Church ministry (bishops, priests and deacons) of the Church was complete. In 1907, the new Brazilian mission became a missionary district, tied to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. In 1925, the Church was given its second bishop, the Rt. Rev. William Mathew Merrick Thomas, a missionary who had arrived in Brazil in 1904, first as a Suffragan Bishop, and then as Diocesan Bishop. Thomas consolidated the work started by Kinsolving. However, it was not until 1940 that the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil would have a Brazilian Bishop, with the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Athalício Theodoro Pithan, who became a Suffragan Bishop after the Episcopal Church had completed 50 years of activities in Brazil. With Bp. Thomas’ retirement, the Rt. Rev. Louis Chester Melcher was consecrated in the United States to be Bishop Coadjutor for Brazil.

The Church grew and distances between local communities became even larger, turning the administration of parishes and missions throughout the country very difficult. Thus, it became necessary to reorganize the missionary district. In 1950, the process began which would divide the district into three dioceses. The new divisions formed three ecclesiastical regions: The Southern Diocese, with its See in Porto Alegre; The South-Western Diocese, with its See in Santa Maria; and The Central Diocese (now the Anglican Diocese of Rio de Janeiro), with its See located at the former federal capital.

At first, Bp. Melcher stayed at the Central Diocese and Bp. Pithan moved to the Southern Diocese. The Rt. Rev. Egmont Machado Krischke was consecrated for the South-Western Diocese. The first Synod, comprising the three dioceses, was held in Porto Alegre, in 1952.

Bp. Pithan’s retirement and Bp. Melcher’s resignation led to the consecration of two more bishops: the Rt. Rev. Plínio Lauer Simões, in 1956 and the Rt. Rev. Edmund Knox Sherrill, in 1959. The first one was assigned to the South-Western Diocese (since Bp. Krischke had been sent to the Southern Diocese following the retirement of Bp. Pithan) and the second was assigned to the Central Diocese. With these consecrations, the first steps towards the Provincial autonomy of Brazilian Anglicanism were taken.

In 1965, the Brazilian Church became fully autonomous, becoming the 19th Province of the Anglican Communion, electing its first Primate: the Most Rev. Egmont Machado Krischke. The independence of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, which was at that time still dependent upon the American Church, was completed with financial independence in 1982.

New dioceses were created after the autonomy: the South-Central Diocese (now the Anglican Diocese of São Paulo) in 1969, the Northern Diocese (now the Anglican Diocese of Recife) in 1976, the Missionary Diocese of Brasília (now the Anglican Diocese of Brasília) in 1985, the Anglican Diocese of Pelotas in 1988, the Anglican Diocese of Curitiba in 2003 and the Anglican Diocese of the Amazon in 2006. There is, still the Missionary District of the West.
After the 1984 Synod, women were allowed to be ordained, and the first woman was ordained in 1985. Currently, about 30% of the clergy is composed of women, including both deacons and priests. There are still no women-bishops; however, the canons permit a woman to be elected and consecrated to the episcopate.

Today, the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil is composed of churches, missions and educational and social institutions in more than 150 different towns in Brazil, mostly in Rio Grande do Sul. The Church counts more than 100,000 baptized members and 45,000 confirmed ones.

You can visit IEAB’s website here: http://www.ieab.org.br