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Farris and Thelma Goodrum
Mission co-workers in Brazil
Serving at the Center of Theological Formation
Richard Shaull at the invitation of the
United Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPU)
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About Farris and Thelma Goodrum's ministry
Farris and Thelma Goodrum are mission co-workers serving in the city of Vitória, which is the island capital city of the southeastern Brazilian state of Espírito Santo. Farris was commissioned to mission service in 1982 and Thelma in 1989.
Farris and Thelma were assigned as professors at the Center of Theological Formation Richard Shaull and at its extension in Colatina, Espírito Santo. The Center of Theological Formation is the seminary of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil, and Richard Shaull was a Presbyterian missionary much admired by the “UPC.” Thelma also works in the business office of the denomination, and Farris has been assigned to be available in the areas of Christian education and music in the nine churches of the Presbytery of Vitória.
The United Presbyterian Church of Brazil came into being when a group of more than 50 pastors, as well as several entire synods and presbyteries, were expelled from the Presbyterian Church of Brazil in 1978 because of theological disagreements, the desire to ordain women and a strong ecumenical outlook. A new denomination was formed with the dream of being ecumenical, open to the full ministry of men and women and engaged in social justice.
Brazil is South America’s largest country, both in size and population. Its diverse population includes Europeans, Africans, Asians and indigenous people. It is the only South American country with Portuguese as its official language. Most of Brazil’s population live in the south-central region, which contains São Paulo (Brazil’s largest city), Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte, industrial cities that have seen rapid growth. And while this growth has enhanced economic development, it has also led to social, political, environmental and security issues for Brazil’s urban population. The gap between the rich and the poor in Brazil is shrinking. Yet this gap is still large, and most of the best farming land is owned by a small percentage of wealthy Brazilians. Around 75 percent of Brazilians are Roman Catholic. The other 25 percent include traditional Protestants and membersof growing evangelical churches and African religions.
About Farris and Thelma Goodrum
Before moving to Vitória in January 2010 Farris and Thelma spent 13 years associated with the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil in local churches and at its seminary in the southern city of Londrina until that seminary closed at the end of 2009 due to the financial difficulties of the denomination.
Prior to moving to Londrina in 1997 the Goodrums served for eight years at the seminary of the Independent Presbyterian Church in its northeastern location in the city of Fortaleza.
Before their work in Fortaleza, Farris completed a term of service at the Bible Institute of the North in Garanhuns, Pernambuco, an institution of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil that prepares young people for church vocations. It was there that he met and married Thelma, whose family lives on the island of Guarujá, not far from the port city of Santos in the state of São Paulo.
Farris was born and grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the son of Garland and Eleanor Goodrum, missionaries appointed by the former Presbyterian Church in the United States. He earned his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, and holds a graduate degree in Christian education from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia, as well as a graduate degree in music from Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Thelma, a native of Brazil, received her undergraduate degree in pedagogy with a major in literature from the University of Guarujá, São Paulo. She earned a certificate in data entry from the J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated in 2007 with a degree in theology from the Independent Presbyterian Seminary in Londrina. In July 2011 she was ordained by the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil.
Farris and Thelma are members of North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
Farris - October 1
Thelma - July 3
Michael - January 3
Joel - September 2