In Brazil, we are supporting community empowerment in Rio de JaneirO
Working with Christ the King Church in the City of God
Cidade de Deus (City of God) is a neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city. The area became internationally famous via the 2003 movie City of God, which focused on the conflict between rival drugs gangs and the police.
The community continues to face many challenges. In 2008, a major police operation clamped down on drug dealing, but in 2016 a new wave of crime and violence emerged, which may be linked to government austerity measures, including the cutting of social services. In addition, it is estimated that only 3 per cent of teenagers complete secondary school, while unemployment stands higher than 25 per cent, and the average income per household is just £50 a month
The Anglican congregation of Christ the King is small but growing and concerned to share God’s love, especially during these difficult times.
We are supporting this work by funding the Revd Antonio Terto, who is based at Christ the King. The church's focus remains on reaching out to the poor and marginalised.
Though Anglicans are in a tiny minority in this predominantly Catholic-country, the church is well regarded locally and something of a community hub.
The church has always attempted to work closely with the community, hosting events as diverse as an ice cream festival to bring people together, an event during national elections to encourage people to participate in politics, and a recycling scheme.
The church is being used on a daily basis to support community activities, including computer training, meetings for Alcoholics and Narcotics Anymous, counselling, English lessons, and dance classes.
A message from the Revd Antonio Terto, Vicar of Christ the King:
'Since before I was ordained, three goals have influenced my understanding of spirituality: the pursuit of social justice, human rights and social inclusion.
'For five years I belonged to a Roman Catholic religious order that is strongly influenced by the life of St Francis of Assisi. I was ordained into the Anglican Church of Brazil in 2012 and continue to practice a Franciscan spirituality.
'Three striking experiences have helped to shape my ministry. The first was working with wheelchair-users and people with sight-impairment to lobby for laws that support people with disabilities. The second was organising a network of solidarity groups through which ‘the poor help the poor’. And the third was volunteering on a hospital ward for people with HIV and AIDS.
'The City of God faces many challenges. The government, NGOs and volunteers are seeking to support the City of God, but despite their efforts there is still much to do. There are children, even whole families, living on the streets. There are teenagers with no opportunity to develop their potential or creativity. Senior citizens are overlooked. There is violence against children, especially black teenagers. I have met children who are living with HIV and AIDS. And there are few resources for people with disabilities
'I see the Parish of Christ the King as a community of deep faith, seeking to face these delicate situations with love and dedication.
'We count on your support and the love of Christ.'