We, lay people, two deacons, ten priests and four bishops from five dioceses of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, gathered in Rio de Janeiro City for the 1st National Consultation on Sexuality. In an environment of fraternity and mutual comprehension, respect, Christian solidarity and love, we debated, studied, exchanged experiences and listened to testimonies taking into account the biblical-theological, ethical, pastoral, biological, psychological and sociological points of view.
For a better understanding and contextualization of the issue, we begun considering the resolutions of the Lambeth Conferences (1979/1988/1998) “Recognising the continuous need of a deeper and dispassionate study of the issue, taking into account the teachings of Scripture as well as the results of scientific and medical researches, and sociocultural elements”, and also the Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (General Synod of 1997) where they recognise and advise the need of including in our educational and pastoral programs, studies and guide-lines on Human Sexuality.
From the biblical and theological point of view, human sexuality is a gift of God for all people. The liberation of all people is the main theological focus of the process of exodus, and of Jesus’ ministry. God loves us unconditionally as we are, with all our differences and imperfections. This love is manifested in Jesus Christ, and it leads us to love and care for all his creation. To love God is to love our neighbour (I Jo. 4.20-21), therefore, any kind of exclusion contains worms of death. Love is inclusion and life in its fullness (Jo.10.10).
We invite all the lay and clerical leadership to promote debates that would help the communities of faith to understand the complexities and the beauty of human sexual relations. It is necessary to know and share the distress of all those who are excluded in the society. Inclusivity is the essence of the incarnated ministry of Jesus, attracting to himself prostitutes, foreigners, the poor, the sick, the different. It is fundamental that the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil exercise its inclusive vocation letting itself embrace with love and entirely those people rejected and aborted by the society. For this reason, we assume the pastoral ethic of grace and blessing of God, while rejecting the principle of exclusion implicit in the ethic of sin and impurity which causes division amongst human beings.
First Anglican National Consultation on Sexuality
Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, 16 February 2002