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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear friends,

The script on the t-shirt, formed in the shape of the cross, reads O Amor Perfeito Lanca fora todo medo. Translated into English from Portuguese, the words are, Perfect love casts out all fear. The phrase comes from 1 John 4:18 and it is the motto of the Diocese of Brasilia. Mary and I just returned from spending five days in Brasilia and, among the many things we experienced and received, we got the t-shirt!

We were welcomed by Bishop Mauricio Andrade, his wife Sandra, members of the diocesan team, clergy and people with open hearts, joy, deep hospitality and warmth. We toured the city, visited churches and a social service center for children. We shared visions and experiences of ministry in our unique contexts. We feasted on Feijoada (pronounced “faysh-ju-ada”), which literally means “big bean” stew. And we danced the samba. As Bishop Mauricio said, we work together, we pray together, we dance together. And dance we did, all afternoon.

On Sunday morning, we gathered in the Cathedral Church of the Resurrection. The church was full of joy and anticipation. Following the exchange of the peace, which I think rivaled the sermon in length of time, Bishop Mauricio and I signed the covenant that brings our two dioceses into a new companion relationship. We pledge to walk together, pray together, support each other in ministry and mission, share in our abundance, and yes, to dance with the Holy Spirit together.

Following the service, we planted an Ipe tree, Brazil’s national flower. During the winter months, the Ipe tree bursts into blossom, beginning with purple, followed by yellow, white and finally pink. The purple Ipe were in full colour upon our arrival. The planting was led by Kamuu Dan Wapichana, an Indigenous elder, educator and writer. He sang a prayer of thanksgiving and shared a teaching: “Every seed is sacred, every seed is inspired by the Creator to grow and prosper. Every seed must be protected.” Following the prayer, the whole community was invited to spread the earth around the tree by hand.

Today is National Indigenous Day. It is a day that we celebrate the giftedness, wisdom and contributions of the Indigenous peoples of this land. It is a day to honour and express our gratitude for Indigenous forebears, chiefs, elders, story tellers, dancers, teachers, scientists, artists, lawyers, chefs, politicians, athletes, faith leaders and more. It is the day that we continue, hand in hand, to plant and seed the important work of reconciliation and healing. It is a day we remember that every seed is precious, every child matters.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto