Building on a new connection with the Church of the Brethren in Brazil (Igreja da Irmandade-Brasil), Bethany president Jeff Carter joined Dan Poole, coordinator of ministry formation, for a visit in the São Paulo area August 20-22. Helping host them were current Bethany MDiv student Alexandre Gonçalves and his wife, Gislaine de Souza. Gonçalves is completing his studies at Bethany in his ministry formation placement, a partnership between his congregation and the social service agency he works for, which facilitates peaceful family environments.
The visit was both a scheduled academic observation of Gonçalves in his placement—as he and Marcos Inhauser gave a lecture on the family—and the opportunity to learn more about the Brethren in Brazil. “I’m deeply curious as to what God is doing in the world and what forms ministry takes in different contexts,” said Carter. “Bethany is now part of conversations we didn’t know were happening.”
Carter noted three aspects to the visit experience: education, strong social relationships, and community-focused worship. In addition to experiencing Gonçalves’s ministry service, Carter and Poole attended the opening of a community center in the suburb of Campinas and joined Gonçalves’s congregation for worship on a family farm near Campinas, where “the love of Jesus Christ was palpable.”