A letter from Tim Carriker in Brazil
One of the greatest privileges I currently have in Brazil is to accompany the 800+ pastors of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil in their program of continuing education. Several times a month I travel for a gathering of pastors from one of the 16 synods of this denomination. Two other ministers are part of the team. They are the Revs. Helinton and Shirley. Helinton coordinates the program. Shirley, professor of pastoral theology at the denomination's seminary in São Paulo, joins me in supervising the discussions.
You might imagine that these encounters are rather boring or "bureaucratic," but that has not been the case, neither for the team nor, more important, for the ministers. Actually, they welcome the opportunity to share the challenges and joys of their ministries and reflect together on ways to be more effective. Nearly always, strategies for church planting, Christian witness through transformational ministries, and sharing the Good News in diverse ways are high on the list of discussion topics. Every year the gatherings focus on a specific theme. This year the theme is "models of leadership in a transforming world."
The last trip I made was to Manaus, deep in the Amazon region (and 2,500 miles from my home in southern Brazil!), where pastors are particularly challenged to reach out to a burgeoning population of well over a million people in the urban area and numerous river communities along the vast Amazon River basin, a daunting task. It is hard to describe the strategic importance of feeding and challenging those who feed and challenge the church of Jesus Christ. That is why I am including more pictures than usual, hoping you can catch a glimpse of the joy and enthusiasm that mark these gatherings. By the way, all the persons in the photos are ordained ministers, quite a diversity of race, gender and ages, a witness in itself of the great work that God has wrought in this denomination.
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 306
The 2012 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 27