Staying in touch: Ven. Tim Dobbin and Rev. Jenny Sharp with their friends in Amazonia
By Stephanie Donaldson
In March of 2014 when Bishop Bob Bennett established our covenant with The Diocese of Amazonia it was to be about relationships and a union of equals. Since 2014 we have not lost our focus.
This relationship has seen two bishops in Huron and soon to be a third, with the consecration of bishop-elect Rev. Canon Dr. Todd Townshend. In Amazonia we have known two bishops, Right Rev. Saulo Barros, first bishop of the newly created diocese, and Bishop Marinez R Santos Bassotto. Today our mission remains a coming together of equals to love and support one another.
There are different ways that we, here in Huron, can all contribute to this.
One way is to include our sisters and brothers in Amazonia in our intercessory prayer. That is a powerful connectedness.
Another, if you are on Facebook, like their facebook page: diocese anglicana da amazonia, to introduce yourselves and comment on their posts, connecting yourselves to the rhythm of their life as they share it. They love hearing from us,.
With this Companion Diocese relationship money is not the primary focus but when they are trying to fund projects it helps. Many of their clergy are non-stipendry, money is tight, so very tight. They do so much good with so little and take great joy in all that they do.
Currently the Diocese of Amazonia has three ambitious projects on the go.
The congregation in Icoaraci has been running a music program for children and youth. This keeps the young people off of the streets and give them a skill that they can take pride in. For the past ten years these faithful people have been meeting in each other’s homes. They saved up their money and bought a property. They are currently building a multi-purpose facility that will be suitable for worship and also have space for the very successful music program. St. Mark’s Church in Brantford has taken on this project and would welcome other partners to join them in adopting Icoaraci.
A second project in Ulianapolis is a Before and After School Program which currently meets in the church. This program offers the children a snack – a meal that many of these children desperately need. They have outgrown the space and are building a new facility which includes an office for the priest complete with a cot to sleep on. This avoids having to put the priest up in a costly hotel as Ulianapolis is an eight hour drive from Belem.
The third project takes place at St. Luke’ Church in Belem: a sports program for youth who live in a very bad district. These young people lack things to keep them off of the streets and very often turn to crime.
Huron congregations, parishes, regional ministries or deaneries could partner to take on a project. This will create partnerships with Amazonia and right here at home. We will then truly be in relationship with one another both domestically and abroad.
Please contact Rev. Jenny Sharp and myself, as co-chairs of the Companion Diocese Committee, with your thoughts and ideas. We will then dialogue with Bishop Marinez to make sure that our unbridled enthusiasm is truly meeting their needs and concerns.