On the morning of October 21st, 2017, at the Cathedral of St. Mary, Belém do Pará, the Extraordinary Diocesan synod was held. Clerical and lay delegates met to carry out the election of the coadjutor Bishop of the diocese.
The Synod was presided by Bishop Maurício Araújo de Andrade, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Brasília, by invitation of the diocesan Bishop Saulo Maurício de Barros, according to the General Canons of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil.
During the Eucharistic service presided by the diocesan bishop, Bishop Maurício shared a reflection on the Gospel of Marcos 4:26-32, in which he pointed out that each one of us is called to contribute with our different gifts to the Church, in the same way that there are different kinds of seeds. After the service the president installed the assembly and nominated the committees responsible for the organization of the take during Synod.
The two bishops made a point of remarking on the excellence of the work carried out by the Election Committee, created in the Diocesan Synod, underling its pedagogical role for all the Anglican people of the Amazon. Also, through a letter to the Synod, the Primate Bishop of the Anglican Church in Brazil, Francisco de Assis congratulated the diocese: “for the transparency of the process of discernment”. He also pointed out that “this is an experience that can help other dioceses in the future.”
It is also important to mention the support and prayers from all the bishops of the IEAB and the solidarity of the clergy and laity in Brazil and in the companion diocese of Huron, Canada for this unprecedented moment in the IEAB, as Bishop Saulo pointed out: “this is the first extraordinary synod after the change in the canons which took place in 2016 authorizing all the dioceses, even those which, in the past, has a missionary status, to elect their bishop directly in an extraordinary synod”
With regard to the process, Bishop Saulo explained that the vote is secret and it is carried out in the two orders (clergy and lay). “The candidate should receive an absolute majority in both orders, which would then characterize his/her approval of all the people of God”, he said.
So, the first three ballots took place, in which neither of the two candidates, the Revd. Marinez Bassoto and the Revd. Silvio de Freitas, had majority votes in the two orders, where Revd. Marinez had the majority among the laity and Revd. Sílvio among the clergy. The assembly approved the proposal of a recess of thirty minutes during which the two orders could discuss individually before the next ballot.
In the fourth ballot the tendency was repeated, with no alteration. So the assembly approved the suspension of the Extraordinary Synod.
Clergy delegates spoke about the possibility of the present Bishop remaining for a while longer at the head of the Diocese. This proposal was immediately approved by some representatives of the laity. Bishop Saulo affirmed that, with this request, he is prepared to discuss the matter with his Family, with the Chamber of Bishops and with the people of the diocese in a future Assembly of the people of God, in order extend his stay as episcopal leader of the Anglican Diocese of the Amazon.