The first woman to be elected as an Anglican bishop in South America has been consecrated. Bishop Marinez Bassotto will lead the Diocese of Amazon in the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil ( the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil).
Thousands of people from Brazil and around the world attended the service April 21 at the sports court of St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral compound in Belém do Pará. The service was held outside to accommodate the large congregation.
“The ceremony was infused with local customs, including caboclo dancers carrying the Gospel in procession, offerings of local fruits and vegetables and a full set of cruets, chalices and patens made in Marajoara pottery,” said the Rev. Luiz Coelho, a priest from Rio de Janeiro, who was at the service, said. “The rain – so common in the Amazon – was also present, with several showers happening throughout the service. Fortunately, that was a covered court, so nobody got wet.”
The primate of Brazil, Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva, presided at the service; and the bishop of the diocese of Huron, Linda Nicholls, from the Anglican Church of Canada, preached a sermon. The dioceses of the Amazon and Huron have a long and enduring companion link. Bishop Griselda Delgado del Carpio, of the Episcopal diocese of Cuba, was also present.
Prior to her consecration, Bassotto served parishes in Porto Alegre and Cachoeirinha, and was dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral for several years. She also served on the provincial level, including being the custodian of the Book of Common Prayer, member of the National Liturgy Commission and of the National Diakonia Commission. She is married to Paulo and they have two daughters, Luísa and Laura.
The province amended its canons in 1984 to permit the ordination of women to all three orders of ministry; but despite many women serving as deacons and priests, it has taken more than three decades since the canonical changes before a woman was consecrated bishop.
“A 33-year old glass ceiling was shattered,” noted Carmen Etel Alves Gomes, the first woman to be ordained a priest in Brazil.
The consecration was held on Tiradentes Day – a public holiday in Brazil honouring the execution of Brazilian national hero Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier, also known as Tiradentes, who led the Inconfidência Mineira, a pro-independence movement against Portuguese rule in the 17th Century. – with additional files from Anglican Journal staff