In Brazil, Major Suburb Gets New Church
The 2013 emphasis of evangelizing big cities took an important step in South America on October 27, 2012. In the presence of more than 120 Adventist leaders from eight South American countries, the first stone was laid for a future Adventist congregation in the area known as Lago Sul, in Brazil’s federal capital, Brasilia.
SUBURBAN OUTREACH: South American Division president Erton Köhler (right), executive secretary Magdiel Pérez (left), finance director Marlon Lopes (center right), and General Conference general vice president Ella Simmons pose with books placed in the cornerstone of a new Adventist church in Lago Sul, an affluent suburb in Brazil’s federal capital, Brasilia.According to the 2011 Human Development Index from the United Nations, about 30,000 people live in the neighborhood, which has a human development index (HDI) of 0.945, the highest in the world. To put this number in context, Norway leads the world’s ranking with an HDI of 0.943. Brazil is eighty-fifth on the list, with an HDI of 0.718. The Lago Sul location represents one of the Adventist challenges for 2013—building new churches in upper-class areas of the 79 largest cities in South America.
Edison Choque, general project coordinator of the big-city evangelization project in South America, explained that this launch is an example for other regions. “Beyond forming congregations in wealthy areas of cities, we want to establish influence centers with activities that will benefit society’s families, health, and education and that will serve to demonstrate that Adventists are concerned with changing whole lives,” remarks Choque. Along with the leaders from Adventist administrative regions from eight countries, he coordinated the foundation stone ceremony as a demonstration of participative construction.
The land measures 161,000 square feet (15,000 square meters) and costs 17 million Brazilian reals (US$8.5 million). The investment was made in consideration of constructing an Adventist church with a 380-member capacity and the new Adventist Church administrative headquarters of the West Central Brazil Union Mission. While a start date isn’t established, the hope is to also build a school as part of the Adventist education network in the area.
Jáder Carvalho, one of the leaders from the Central Brazilia Adventist Church, spoke of the dream that this ceremony represents, since many small groups already exist in the area, with people who have already made and are making their decisions to accept Christ. He believes evangelistic work needs a structure such as this.
During the ceremony, division president Erton Köhler affirmed that “evangelizing in big cities was always among Adventist efforts. But in 2013 our emphasis is to plant new congregations in places where acquisition of power and secularization have complicated the community’s interest in helping the church.”
Köhler; Magdiel Pérez, secretary of the Adventist Church in South America; Marlon Lopes, financial director; and Ella Simmons, a general vice president of the worldwide Adventist Church, filled the center of the cornerstone with books and magazines that speak about Adventist biblical beliefs and values. The message was clear: the buildings that will stand there are founded on the Bible and books that reinforce the teachings of Jesus Christ.
—reported by Felipe Lemos, ASN