A letter from Thelma Goodrum in Brazil
The last couple of months have been filled with much activity! I have been preparing for my ordination exam, evaluated sermon, and for the actual ordination ceremony. In the midst of all this activity I participated in two conferences in Indiana, and we are in the process of making all the plans necessary toward receiving a group of 11 adults and young people from the First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who will be involved in much-needed painting projects of churches in our presbytery. Before this group arrives I will participate in the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil (UPC) and will travel to Salvador, Bahia, tonight, returning the day the group from Tuscaloosa arrives!
The Brazil Network and the Big Tent were the two conferences in Indianapolis that I attended with several representatives of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil, and this was a good opportunity to share with many people about our denomination and to promote the relationship that exists between the PC(USA) and its two partner churches in Brazil: the Independent Presbyterian Church and the United Presbyterian Church. The Brazil Network concentrated on new trends in missions, with church-to-church relationships being the new focus, which involves church projects and the propagation of the love of God through evangelism. We were pleased that a member of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil was chosen to be on the planning committee of the Brazil Network. Anita Wright Torres, a colleague of ours here in Vitória and daughter of Presbyterian missionaries Jim and Alma Wright, was chosen in this capacity.
The theme of the Big Tent conference, sponsored by the PC(USA), was “Growing Christ’s Church Deep and Wide." It was an event with the desire to “feed mind, body, and soul,” to encourage its participants to embody the love of Jesus Christ by making a commitment to build and improve upon what each person brings to the church. It was a privilege to be present, and to represent the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil, at these two conferences.
After much preparation, the service of my ordination as a pastor of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil was held on Saturday evening, July 9. It was a beautiful service, and was a very meaningful experience for me. Farris played the piano for the ceremony, and the choir that he directs, and in which I sing, participated in the service. One of the choir numbers was accompanied by handbells, and I was one of the handbell ringers…perhaps a little bit nervous just before having to leave the sanctuary to put on my ordination robe! There was a nice reception just after the service, with many friends present. This means a lot to us, as we have been in Vitória for only a year and a half.
I have appreciated the support and enthusiasm of the UPC and look forward to more and more involvement in pastoral ministry, especially in the areas of teaching, evangelism, and visitation. Most of the pastors of the UPC have other professions and work as volunteers in the church, due to the lack of funds for the financial support of pastors. This denomination was formed over 30 years ago and many of its pastors have now retired but continue to give their time in ministry to the church. My ordination will give me the opportunity to contribute without being a financial burden to the denomination, since we are supported by the PC(USA), and Farris and I wish to thank all of those in PC(USA) churches who have faithfully supported us over the years!
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 306