Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New newsletter!

Hey all! Sorry for the delay...time flies! Speaking of...less than 7 weeks to go now until I am back in Seattle!

Here is a screencap of a glimpse of my newsletter...

...and you can access it here to fill you in on September, October and November!

Also, here is an article from Episcopal News Service about the conference I attended in Uruguay!

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

All Souls 2014

In the name of God, who loves us as Father and Mother, exceeding our understanding of even the most boundless of love –

In the name of the Son, the crucified and resurrected Christ, who empowers and teaches us that love, bringing us across the chasm from mortality to immortality,

And in the name of the Spirit, which both inspires and enables us to walk constantly in that love,


            I will admit I had various thoughts about preaching on All Souls. At first I thought, I can do this – I can reflect on these topics. But as I began to delve a bit deeper, I realized there was more to today than I had originally thought. Traditionally, All Souls falls at the end of three days – the first is All Hallow’s Eve, the night before All Saints – then All Saints itself, which we celebrated this morning – and then All Souls. Due to politics many years ago, church and governmental alike, the Anglican Church distanced itself some from remembering All Souls, for various reasons–coming back to it as the Anglican Church as it rediscovers its Catholicity. In many churches, the concept and content of All Souls is kind of blended with All Saints on the first Sunday of November. So, distinguishing between the two was kind of a bit of homework for me, which was good—though it did give me some pause at first. It wasn’t something with which I was as familiar.  And yet after reading more, especially reflecting on today’s readings, it became obvious to me that there was much to share on this special day.

            This is the day when we remember those who have gone before us—the day of the dead, all the faithful, all souls… I have lost count of how many caskets I have looked into, how many gravesides I have stood at, for many elderly – and also for those much closer to my own age. The psalm[1] today reminds us of those feelings we so often have at the time of death itself:

Out of the depths I cry to you…
2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

            Funerals can be difficult for us to deal with, and deaths can be tragic and sudden, yet it is also comforting to remember the dead and hold them in prayer. This day of All Souls is ultimately one of celebration, our reminder that the ones who have gone before us are not lost, and we should not forget them—and that though physically they are not with us, spiritually, they still are—and that is not something to be taken lightly. Not simply as something for us to have as a manner of coping with what has happened to others…but the other readings remind us that this is also something that will not only happen to us as well, and how important it is to the very essence of our Christian journey.

            Firstly, we are given the prophetic promise in Isaiah[2] that death does not have the final word.

7 …he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nationshe will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.

            What we come to later understand in the gospels, in Christ’s death and resurrection, is reflected here in God’s promise to abolish sin and death. To destroy the shroud and sheet that covers all nations—that is, death. No more will there be sorrow and sadness. This is often the message that we think of in our churches when we reflect on those who have died. And yet now I would ask that we shift our position slightly, so as to gain a different perspective on the matter. Death is not simply something inevitable for us, nor simply something that God will abolish…but it is something through which we must pass. Our reading from Corinthians[3] explains further the necessity of this death:

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—52 …the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55  “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

            I repeat again…death is not only inevitable, but necessary.

Upon reading this passage, though, I began to wonder about something else. Many other readings remind us that we as people of faith are called to bring about the Kingdom of God – and there are those who would interpret this as an apocalyptic call to hearken the end of days, but if, as we were reminded in the gospel in last week, the two greatest commandments that Christ leaves us are rooted in love – then the Kingdom of God simply, logically, cannot be founded upon something so violent. We are called to bring about the essence of the Kingdom of God on earth – that is, all of the beautiful, wonderful, amazing things that are possible with the love of God and the crucified and resurrected Christ in Him.

But…to inherit the Kingdom is something else completely. If God our Father would have us inherit His Kingdom…when someone passes away, who generally inherits something? One’s family – one’s children. To inherit the Kingdom of Heaven implies that we would be finally, truly, completely living into our calling as children of God, that goal towards which we constantly strive in our spiritual journey on life—and after death.

If we proclaim that death has neither sting nor victory, that we believe in the promise in the resurrection of Christ, then we are boldly proclaiming that we believe in something further beyond death. It is not simply a free pass avoiding death—as we have said, it is necessary—in death we are going beyond the veil that limits our view in this beautiful, messy, imperfect life. If we know that we are prey to sin and death in this life, then in the hope of the resurrected Christ, death itself becomes merely a threshold across which we pass – towards life in abundance. Becoming closer still to that complete and perfect reunion with God, and to truly inherit the Kingdom.

            And who are those who would inherit that kingdom? Our gospel reading[4] for today explains further:

24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 …a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

            Jesus has the authority to judge and has passed that judgment – as we heard in last Sunday’s gospel reading, Jesus makes a point to talk about how we would treat those whom society often places on the margin and periphery—we will be judged based on our actions towards those in need. And I ask – do we help people simply because it is ‘what we should do’, or do we truly challenge ourselves to look at them through the lens which Christ views us all – with love and compassion. The root of the word ‘compassion’ means ‘to suffer with’ – do we simply give a handout, as though Jesus offers us redemption and the promise and hope of the resurrection merely as some social assistance because we are poor and pitiful creatures that God could barely look us in the eye were He to pass us on the street? No. Christ meets us where we are at and reaches out to us not in pity because we are lesser than Him – but in love.

            This is one of those many facets of Christian thought that is easy to arrive at mentally, but in practice, can be rather hard to truly do in the manner in which we ought to. Those who have gone before us, all the saints, and all the souls, have hopefully helped us learn things, have taught us ways to constantly strive towards improving – to continue in the process of achieving perfect communion with God. When I was told that part of today would also entail a memorial for Alcy, part of me was hesitant at first – I am somewhat new to your congregation, still; this community knew her far longer than I did. And yet it is that newcomer’s eye that is perhaps most telling at times – though I had little time with her, it is plain to see the impact that she had on everyone here. How deeply she touched people, how her life interwove with yours in love and compassion, a presence in this community. How her actions and love showed and taught that compassion.

            This is but one example of one person and her impact. Who are the others who have left these tangible marks on your own souls? Whose bodies are no longer among us? Their deaths do not mean anything more than they are no longer with us physically. Death does not limit God’s care and love—nothing can separate us from the love of God. Rather, it is through death that we necessarily pass on the road to community, healing, and grace. God seeks our wholeness, and that reconciliatory process continues beyond the grave. This is why we plead the eternal sacrifice on the dying and risen Christ on behalf of all the faithful departed, and continue the journey that leads us also towards death and beyond—it does not end the human adventure.

And so our prayers radiate beyond this life, bringing greater light to the post-mortem journey of our loved ones. We remember that God is with them as He is with us. We do not forget them, their imperfections and virtues alike. That their prayers as well do not end at death—we, all of us, are growing in grace. That is the amazingness of an infinite God—there is simply no end to all of His qualities—His grace, mercy and love have no bounds, and He is always with us—in life, in death, and beyond. The one who gave us life in His death never leaves us, and so all the saints and all the souls join us in unending praise.


[Lisa Kristine]
[1] Psalm 130
[2] Isaiah 25:6-9
[3] 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
[4] John 5:24-27

Friday, October 3, 2014

To be the foreigner.

"For I was hungry, and you fed me. 
I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. 
I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home."

"I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.
I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. 
I was a stranger, and you welcomed me." 

Well, aside from the fact that I am overdue [again!] However, this particular blog post has long mulled over in my mind for quite some time now. Growing up in public school in diverse West Seattle, it was completely normal for me to have friends from all over the world, varying cultures, religions and countries. In fact, I tend to find myself more uneasy when I am not surrounded by a fair level of diversity. 

Well, cool enough, Nina, but why are you going down this route when you started off with this bible verse?

Funny thing about foreign languages is that they sometimes change the way one thinks.  In Portuguese, the bolded part of the verse is stated as: "fui estrangeiro, e vocês me acolheram." Literally: I was the foreigner, and you welcomed me. 

This particular interpretation of Matthew's gospel and what Jesus says resonates very deeply with me because, quite frankly -- here I am indeed the foreigner. The stranger. So what does it mean to be the foreigner in Brazil? Well, I can only attest to my own experiences. There is never only one narrative. My experiences as a brown-haired, fair-skinned person who has a pretty decent grasp of the language is not the same as, say, the Bolivians who work in Sao Paulo's textile industry, whom everyone can tell who they are based on how they look and how they speak. [And for the record, the plight of many Bolivians in Sao Paulo specifically has been noted by many as akin to modern slavery at times.] 

That said, it has truly been fascinating to be at the whims of someone else's rulebook even more so than the average citizen. I remember when I first moved to Sao Paulo last year with hardly any Portuguese under my belt -- thank God that I had someone who could help me navigate the system, otherwise I would have not been able to understand what it was I needed to do, how to do it, where to do it...etc. Though I still remember my friend David's smart aleck joking when we were at the Federal Police [immigration department] for my paperwork, and he said, "Oh Nina, I'm sorry...deportation.... --What?! --I'm joking! Now you just - how was it you said? Hurry up and wait."

There's a lot of that. Bureaucracy, red tape, hours upon hours of waiting, getting redirected somewhere else when you think you were in the right spot with the right documents and the right information... and even in this, my second year, with a grasp of Portuguese and the process -- I mean, I'd done it once before -- and yet I remember walking down the street and fighting back hot tears of frustration once in dealing with what felt like a huge amount of bureaucracy all on the same day, and it was just too much for me to deal with all at once... the irony being is it was something simple that was proving problematic, but because I had first registered in Sao Paulo, and am now in Rio de Janeiro, there was a small thing that was proving to be a snafu with someone who was a stickler for the rules and not giving me any way to work around the complication. [And yet the next day, someone else called me to deal with the issue and we worked around it anyways.]

That said...it is rather amazing how some things can seep into your subconsciousness even when you think you've got it all together. The inherent reaction of cautiously glancing at a police officer as you pass, even though you haven't done anything -- but simply because you yourself know that you walk a different line than Brazilians do. When you feel burdened to the point where you just want to take a break from thinking and doing and being in another language - and yet having no choice. To realize that whether or not you notice it right away, you still have that knee-jerk reaction when someone pauses and asks where you're from, because they can tell, except you don't really know how they are going to take it when you say where you're from -- when Lord knows what you wouldn't give to just let it be and blend in for once, and go unnoticed -- well, until you open your mouth. [And this is me with a pretty good grasp of Portuguese saying this -- even so, one still has their random moments of feeling beaten down by the system once in a while.] That even sometimes the simplest of things can prove problematic because you may not have something in line because you're different somehow.

Perhaps one of the reasons I delayed on this blog is because of the other things that were constantly flying through my head as I reflected on my own experiences: the immigration crisis and issues at the southern border of my home country, the United States, with some tens of thousands children from Central American countries, many unaccompanied, tried to cross the U.S.-Mexican border, with the idea that U.S. immigration & refugee had special provisions for children in situations as that. However...the sheer number of immigrants overwhelmed the resources available, and improvisations had to be made - improvisations that drew criticisms from multiple sides of the matter. The image that burned itself most onto my mind was from an improvised detention facility in Texas -- children held in what looked more like dog kennels at a pound, countless crammed into rooms barely large enough to hold whatever gross amount of them were held there to begin with. 

There are countless reflections on these events, from all sides of opinion. But something I have been constantly trying to ask myself and remember in difficult situations or moments of what seems to me to be injustice, is to ask: where is Jesus in these moments? Where is the one who called us to love, above all us, and encourages us to turn the other cheek, to aid the widow and the orphan, to seek justice and encourage the oppressed? By no means do I want religion in my government, mind you -- I am a Christian and a political science major, and I want no one's religious interpretations dictating policy. However...I do believe that as people of faith, what we believe does encourage us to action. What does that mean in times like these?

Icon of Saint Toribio Romo, Patron Saint of Immigrants,
which will eventually reside at St Matthew's Episcopal Parish in Phoenix.
Recently made by Father William Hart McNichols.

And in closing, I share this reflection as the ultimate food for thought for those of us who strive to follow the Christian path:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Another video...but not in English! :)

So, a while ago I was installed as lay minister in the Anglican Diocese of Rio de Janeiro, specifically at my home church and placement at Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Rio's north zone. 

What does it mean to be a lay minister? Here's a blurb from my church's website to explain:

"The lay minister can participate in various functions, such as: serving in public offices, preaching, administer the Eucharist....direct liturgical offices...Church of the Most Holy Trinity is blessed in having a number of Lay Ministers who go back and forth between these functions, including preaching, teaching, and serving together at the altar as subdeacons."   Essentially, I am in a leadership position and can work with the priests in specific functions, even though I myself am not ordained as a priest.

Serving as subdeacon and assisting the priests during Communion.
Holding the Bible during the Gospel reading.
So far, I had just served as subdeacon a few times, that is - assisting the priests behind the altar during the service. But a couple Sundays ago, I finally had my first real major challenge: preaching in Portuguese!


You can click here for the text of my sermon in English. I was pretty nervous at first, but I think I relaxed after a while. If you speak Portuguese, please pardon any grammatical mistakes -- I didn't finish in time to have someone edit it for me. If you don't...well, read the English version and let me know what you think! :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

4 months + a [video] surprise!

.... UGH. So, I'm sorry, people. Every time I sit down and plan to write a blog, I feel like I want to make sure I include so many things....and then it either all gets away from me, or I just feel overwhelmed and don't write anything, haha. So, first of all, apologies for the delay. I'm working on my newsletter as well so I can be more detailed there. But, for lack of anything for the last couple of months, let me put an update here on my blog, too!

I'm not sure if anyone's noticed, but I write so little in English - at least, anything more comprehensive than perhaps emails and Facebook posts - that sometimes I think my writing in English has become captive to me using it as though I'm speaking in Portuguese -- which, whilst it has a more...structured grammar, in some ways, is, I would say, more fluid than English in others. But that said, there have been times - even speaking in English; my sister's noticed it via Skype at times -- I'll try to throw in a word in English that is a literal translation of something in Portuguese...and it's not the actual word in English :) language problems!

Well, perhaps one of the biggest pieces of news to update with at this point is that I will be staying in Rio de Janeiro the entire 10 months I am here! =) As some of you may recall, the idea was for me to do part of my time in Rio de Janeiro, and part of my time in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, in Santa Maria. Well, since things are wont to change, and we ought to be flexible and go with the flow of whatever change occurs... I am feeling very blessed to stay in Rio the whole time -- time has already flown by! BUT, I am also super excited, because the Young Adult Service Corps is sending another young adult to Brazil! Rachel McDaniel from the Diocese of East Tennessee will be coming to Brazil within 2 months [please pray that she does not encounter the same visa drama I did!] and will be spending her year of service in the Diocese of the Southwest, in Santa Maria, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, working in support of Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva. Bishop Francisco is not only the Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of the Southwest, but also the Primate [or Archbishop] of the entire Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil. I have met him various times, and have visited his diocese, and I am super excited for Rachel to have this amazing opportunity!

Well, even though I waited a long time to post anything, I don't want to overdo it in a blog post, so I will save the bulk of the details for my next newsletter -- but, as I alluded to in the blog title....there's another surprise! My home diocese, the Diocese of Olympia [western Washington] has an amazing, absolutely wonderful team of people working in support of the Diocese. Of course there is my friend and Bishop, Greg Rickel -- his miracle-working assistant and bowtie king, Blaire Notrica -- and I have also had the pleasure of working with a few members of their incredible communications team, including Dede Moore and Greg Hester. They listened to my stories and experiences, and set up a time for me to visit and be filmed, and with their hard work, have put together the following video!

They have also enabled [most generously, I might add] the ability for one to donate and support YASC efforts online -- click here for more information on that!

Now, I promise I won't delay so much in another blog post -- in fact, I actually have a couple in mind / drafts already underway, but I needed to get this one out first! Next up, newsletter, then more news via the blog -- stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2.5 months, 1 World Cup, and a monkey in a pine tree

Like always, if you are interested in learning more about how to contribute and support me, I very much appreciate it! Please click here for the link to the 'How to Help' page -- many thanks!


Well, witticisms of the blog post title aside, I did spy a little monkey in the tree outside my window once. He scampered off before I could get a good picture, though I did snag something. 

Also, the bigger tree a bit further away played host to this noisy guest one day: 

Or as a friend of mine joked, "where do you live, a zoo?" Well, sometimes between wildlife and traffic congestion, it seems like it! 

That said, time has flown by and it's hard to believe it's been 2 and a half months already! I was a bit slow in getting things organized on my newsletters, so my first newsletter covers the entire time I've been here -- from now on I will try to get one out per month. You can read the first newsletter of this second year at this link - and you can keep tabs on my 'Newsletters' page on the blog at this link here.

In the newsletter I have some photos and talk a bit about Holy Week in Brazil and at my church, Most Holy Trinity -- since that was a busy week, I'll let you take a peek at that if you're interested! Other than that, on that front, we have been keeping super busy lately! 

  • We're working on getting our second community flea market/bazaar up and going for this next week -- we had a lot of success the last time, which helps us with fundraising for building repairs and future  construction plans, but also had a lot of good interaction and feedback with and from the community, so we are looking for ways to be even more involved in the immediate community in Meier! 
  • Something big in Brazil that's coming up is festa junina, or June festival - it has its roots in traditional Portuguese cultural celebrations of the saints [coinciding with the pagan equinox festivals], and has over time become part of Brazilian culture as well, utilizing the symbols of rural cultural celebrations from Portugal -- will be posting some pictures in the next couple week as that happens!
  • Yours truly has some excitement next Sunday -- I am being installed as a lay minister in the Anglican Diocese of Rio de Janeiro, during the service held at my home church at Most Holy Trinity when Bishop Filadelfo Oliveira has his official visit. What does this mean? Well, kind of what the name suggests - some of the roles that the ministers [reverends/priests] have within the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, but as a lay person -- that is, not a member of the clergy, technically not a priest. So this enables me to serve and participate in more leadership roles, including assisting in other various positions during a Sunday service or life in the community, including preaching/giving a sermon - yikes! Guess it's time to brush up my grammar.
  • Speaking of grammar, I'm in the midst of working on getting some resources and lessons set up for fine-tuning my Portuguese even more...you know what happens if you give a Nina a language...!
  • And speaking of languages...it also is in the works that I will be giving some English lessons soon enough. Good practice, right? 
  • Also, we are preparing and organizing to receive a group of 10-15 people from the US on a short mission/service trip to Rio the week after the World Cup ends -- it's certainly giving me the chance to hone my skills in organization and such...all things I like to do, and enjoy practicing to improve and gain more experience!
Displaying a fun find from the last flea market.

Leandro up on the roof decorating for festa junina.

Our banner out front with the upcoming big days -- next up, Trinity Sunday, and then Thursday after, Corpus Christi.

Out other banner with information about festa junina at Holy Trinity.
My work at the Diocesan office has been pretty flexible -- some days my commute is halted by a random strike [such as the bus strike last week or so], and sometimes my work is from home, due to other issues [getting my shower fixed - but yay, I have hot water again!] But luckily most of what I do is also doable virtually, so I have been able to keep up -- my organization skills have come in handy, and we're working on setting up an image database of sorts...since I have experience with my own photos and organizing them, some of this just seems to be a piece of cake! 

Anyway, aside from all that, this week is the beginning of the World Cup -- so I am curious to see what kind of impact this will have on commutes, and all sorts of things. As some of you may well know, there are conflicting feelings about this year's World Cup due to varying factors -- FIFA [international associated football federation] and their actions, the actions of the Brazilian government to appease FIFA and prepare for the Cup, and everything in between. There are many articles out there on the matter, but for those of you just tuning in to the issue or wanting a summary, here is a good one

Anyways, aside from all of that...not a lot else, really. I'm finally back into training both of my main martial arts interests now, including muay thai [a form of kickboxing originally from Thailand], in addition to my Brazilian jiu jitsu. It gets me my workout, my social interaction since I don't otherwise spend a lot of money to go out much, and - in my personal opinion - plays a huge role in my mental and emotional self care, in addition to physical. I'm a bit sore since it's been about 5 months since I really and regularly trained muay thai, and I am now doing it for an hour and a half five nights per week, with 2 hours of jiu jitsu following after a half hour break 4 of those nights per week. But I am happy! :) 

That's pretty much it for now! I hope all is well with all of y'all, and please feel free to drop a line! Take care and all the best,

~ Nina

Friday, April 25, 2014

Settling in to Rio

Now that things have calmed down a little, I can write a bit about the last few weeks, and my first month back in Brazil – because, amazingly enough, it’s already been a month! So what’s been happening? What am I doing, after all? After two months home in Seattle, I am back in Brazil, but in Rio de Janeiro this time (last year I was in Sao Paulo).

A bit about Rio…

            Rio de Janeiro is perhaps Brazil’s most well known and tourist frequented city. Situated on the south-central western coast of the country, its metropolitan area boasts a population of some 14 million (comparable to New York City). Rio is home to an impressive array of natural beauty, including numerous beaches and coastlines, mountains, and forests. A sub-tropical climate, its average temperatures thus far seem to stay in the 80s (Fahrenheit)/high 20s/mid 30s (Celsius). I have yet to have a day where I need to wear a jacket during the day, though have had a couple of nights that, sans a blanket, I’ve worn my sweatshirt to bed. Usually I sleep with my window open to stay cool enough to sleep.

The arches of Lapa, not even a five minute walk from where I live. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Sebastian in the background.
            Rio de Janeiro is split up into geographic zones, consisting of north, south, east, west, and central. I live in the central zone, in the neighborhood of Lapa – minutes away from its iconic white arches. I work in two different neighborhoods (work explained in a bit more detail below), Tijuca (north zone), and mostly in Meier (north zone). There are two buses that go to Meier (one that also passes Tijuca), and it’s a short walk to the street parallel to mine to catch them both. With good traffic, it’s just 20-30 minutes to Meier – though catching rush hour in the late afternoon/early evening can delay things somewhat, more so when I catch the second option for a bus (which takes a longer route).

What am I doing, anyway?

I have two main roles here in the Anglican Diocese of Rio de Janeiro. One is part-time administrative & communication support at the Diocesan office at the Anglican Cathedral of the Redeemer in Tijuca. This is just a couple mornings and afternoon a week, and has technically yet to really begin in earnest – until recently, diocesan bishop Filadelfo Oliveira was recovering from multiple cardiac surgeries – but has recently returned to work in Rio de Janeiro, and it was so incredibly good to see him in person, and see him up and about. He has an upcoming trip to the United States, and it is likely after that (mid-May) that I will really begin my position assisting with the Diocese.

A picture with Bishop Filadelfo from July 2013.

            The other position I have is with Church of the Most Holy Trinity, a parish located in Meier. A small Anglican parish that has its roots in a mission plant from 1910, it passed through some difficult times in the mid/late 1980s to early 1990s, a time during which many members left, and the state of the building suffered greatly. Before, during and after this same timeframe, the neighborhood itself changed greatly as well, with area demographics shifting from middle class to working class. This era also saw the parish’s worship styles and attitudes shift from what had been slightly more evangelical, to charismatic, to its current more traditional Anglo-Catholic form.

Church of Most Holy Trinity, April 2014.
Being presented to the community by Rev. Eduardo Costa at my first Sunday service in March 2014 
            For more information, click here to read Holy Trinity’s parish profile in English.

            Aside from regular participation in services and community events, some of the highlights of my presence at Holy Trinity is working with Episcopaz, the parish’s human rights ministry. Rooted in our baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being, Episcopaz and Holy Trinity host regular events open to the community on various topics of importance. The first one in which I participated was the weekend after I arrived, on domestic violence against women. People came together to create murals, as well as joining a panel discussion with activists and church members.

            Holy Trinity is in the process of fundraising to remodel and expand its existing property so as to better serve the community – currently it plays host to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and a weekly community lunch that is also available free of charge to area homeless. Given that Meier’s homeless populations is one of the largest in Rio, the church is hoping to respond to this need by having a parish nurse in the future, as well as space for people to take a shower, receive a haircut, donated personal items, etc…

            It’s a quick summary, and I don’t want to write too much at once, but this is essentially a glance at life in Rio de Janeiro. I feel like I’m settling in well, but it’s hard to believe it’s already been a month. I hope you all are well—drop a line sometime! Until next time! Até a próxima!