The Pioneers of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil
7 Jun 1890
From Holy Women, Holy Men
The presence of Anglicans in Brazil is first recorded in the early nineteenth century and took the form of chaplaincies for English expatriates. It was not, however, until 1890 when missionary efforts among the Brazilian people began under the care of two Episcopal Church missionaries, Lucien Lee Kinsolving and James Watson Morris. They held the first service on Trinity Sunday 1890 in Porto Alegre. Within a year, three additional missionaries—William Cabell Brown, John Gaw Meem, and Mary Packard—arrived and joined the work. These five missionaries are the pioneers and considered the founders of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil.
In 1899, Kinsolving was made missionary bishop for the work in Brazil by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, and in 1907 the missionary district of Brazil was established by The General Convention. The number of parishes and institutions continued to increase. The bishops were raised up from among Episcopal Church missionaries who were serving in the missionary district. Fifty years after the work first began, in 1940, the first native Brazilian was elected to the episcopate, Athalício Theodoro Pithan.
By 1950, the work had increased to the point that the missionary district was too large and it was divided into three dioceses. This set the stage for the continued development of the church in Brazil, which eventually led to the formation of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil as an autonomous Province of the Anglican Communion in 1965. Complete financial independence from the Episcopal Church was completed by 1982, although the two churches continue to have strong bonds of affection and united mission efforts through companion diocese relationships and coordination at the church-wide level.