A bishop whose diocese covers three-and-a-half million square kms., with just two full-time clergy, has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Huron University College in London, Ont..
Bishop Saulo Maurício de Barros received the degree for his role as bishop of the diocese of the Amazon, in the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, and his significant contribution towards the development of theological education in Brazil. Saulo is president of Brazil’s National Council of Theological Education (JUNET) and is one of the co-ordinators of the country’s Centre for Anglican Studies.
Diocese of Huron Bishop Linda Nicholls conferred the degree to the Brazilian bishop. The diocese of Huron and diocese of the Amazon established their companion agreement three years ago.
In his acceptance speech, de Barros described the award as “a great honour.” At the same time, he said, “It is not through individual works that we deserve this, it can only be understood if we remember clearly that behind all this we have two dioceses, involving the lives of many people who try to live the Gospel in their everyday lives.”
De Barros spoke of the relevance and challenges of theology in the face of the profound ethical crises in today’s world. He affirmed that for a theology to be relevant it needs to be equipped to interpret the reality, to know clearly who this theology is aimed for and needs to be based on the God who listens lovingly and is committed to the marginalized and poor of our world. He also spoke positively about the work being carried out by the Centre for Anglican Studies in Brazil.
“I am really pleased with the attention our work has overseas. Both in Panamá, where I visited recently, and here in Canada people are enthusiastic when we talk about distance learning through an online learning environment,” he said. “We already have meetings planned to talk about the subject with people here who want to import our knowledge.”
Huron University College principal, Barry Craig, in the name of the Huron University College Foundation, offered a donation for social work in the Anglican Diocese of the Amazon. Craig pointed out the importance of the work of the Anglican Church in the Amazon and said that although he had only known de Barros for eight hours, he already considered him a friend.
De Barros was elected the first bishop of the Amazon in 2006. The Anglican Diocese of the Amazon has its headquarters in Belém do Pará and covers five states in the northern region.