Recife diocese loses property appeal to IEAB

A Brazilian appeals court has upheld a lower court decision granting the property of the Diocese of Recife to the rump group loyal to the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (IEAB). On 8 Sept 2015 the Pernambuco Court of Appeal upheld the decision by the 29th Civil Circuit Court of Recife holding the IAEB faction was the true diocese and owner of the its assets. In October 2008 the IEAB filed suit against the breakaway Diocese of Recife seeking to gain control of the diocese’s assets. On 30 Oct 2008, Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti stated that “following the example of their allies in the USA and Canada” the IEAB has “filed a suit against the Diocese of Recife in Pernambuco’s State court seeking to annul our juridical identity.” They are “intent on the seizure of certain key properties (including the Cathedral and the Diocesan Central Office), in which for so long we have carried out the tasks of evangelism, thus posing a direct threat to our mission and social outreach.” The pleadings filed by the IEAB alleged that following the mass deposition in 2005 of Bishop Cavalcanti and 32 members of the Recife clergy, along with the secession of approximately 95 percent of the church’s members, the church properties should now be turned over to the IEAB. Writing on Facebook on 10 Sept 2015 the Bishop of Recife, the Rt. Rev. Miguel Uchoa,  (pictured) said the immediate effect of the ruling would be the loss of four churches. However, he and his colleagues would have to review the ruling and seek a way forward through prayer. Historically the small Anglican Church in Brazil was supported by two doctrinally and geographically distinct groups, with the Episcopal Church of the US supporting the church in Southern Brazil and the Church of England supporting the church in the Northeast of the country. Recife followed a different path of theologically development than the southern dioceses and retained an Evangelical identity while the southern dioceses moved into the Affirming Catholic camp. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, Bishop Cavalcanti was the sole Brazilian bishop to vote with the majority in support of Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality. Following his 2005 deposition from the IEAB, Bishop Cavalcanti and his diocese was given shelter in the Province of the Southern Cone and in recent years has been backed by the GAFCON movement.

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