Project Canterbury

The Anglican Church in South America

By the Right Rev. Edward Francis Every, D.D.

London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1915.

What Others are Doing

ONLY a brief statement of this is possible, on account of the difficulty of collecting the necessary reports, etc., but some statement is necessary on account of the tendency of people in England to think that all that is being done is done by the English Societies of which they hear most.

1. The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America.--Mission in Brazil (Brazilian Episcopal Church). Ministers to Brazilians. A chapter has been devoted to this subject.

2. The Scotch Presbyterian Church.--Ministers to Scottish people.--This is strongly established in Buenos Aires. St. Andrews is the central church, of which the Rev. J. W. Fleming, D.D., is the minister, and there are churches or mission halls in several of the suburbs. The whole of the republics of the Plate are served from St. Andrews by Dr. Fleming and his staff upon an organized plan.

3. Union Churches.--Minister to English-speaking people.--The Union Church of Valparaiso seems almost to correspond to a Scotch Presbyterian Church in that city. The Union Church of Santiago, Chile, is more American. And a recently formed "Union Church "in Rio de Janeiro has its origin in the United States of America.

4. The American Presbyterian Church.--Ministers to Brazilians and Chilians; is strong in Brazil and also in Chile. In each case it is distinctly a mission to the people of the country who are, nominally at least, Roman Catholics. Work is carried on on a large scale and there is a native ministry, well-equipped churches and day schools, and, generally, the organization is widespread and produces considerable results. Some years ago there were said to be 10,000 members in Brazil alone.

5. Equally powerful and important is the American Methodist Episcopal Church, which ministers principally to Spanish and Portuguese-speaking people. It is not generally known in England that since the American Civil War both Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, though working in friendly accord, have been divided in their organization into two sections, North and South, e.g. the Methodist Church, South, works in Brazil, the Methodist Church, North, in Argentina. Nor again is it commonly known at home that the American Methodists have "bishops," as a result of John Wesley's consecrations. In Buenos Aires there are separate churches for English and Spanish-speaking congregations, and that for English-speaking people is called "the American Church." The Methodist Church is efficiently organized in most of the South American Republics and in some places makes many converts, especially among the poor. It has no Indian work. Generally speaking, the equivalent of £50,000 per annum is spent upon their work in South America.

6. The South American Evangelical Union (S.A.E.U.).--Ministers to the Latin populations and also, especially upon the west coast, to the settled Indians. This, as its name denotes, is a union of various evangelical missionary bodies, notably "Regions Beyond," and may be welcomed as an organization making for better order and discipline. It is of an inter-denominational character, but appears to be chiefly Baptist. It has considerable missions in several republics. It is supported chiefly in England.

7. The American Baptist Church.--Ministers to Spanish and Portuguese-speaking people.--This Mission is by no means so large as that of the Presbyterians or Methodists, but it has a number of congregations in Brazil and some in Buenos Aires.

8. "Disciples" (American) and "Brethren" (English), working among the Roman Catholic population, are also scattered through the country. The Lutheran Church exists among the Germans, but (except, perhaps, in their colonies) does not appear to be strong, and is not a missionary body.

9. Y.M.C.A.--This, of course, belongs to a different category, but it must certainly be reckoned a missionary organization. It is worked on American rather than English lines, the secretaries being mostly American. It exists in Buenos Aires (where it has an excellent building), Montevideo, Valparaiso, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Pernambuco. In most instances (Buenos Aires being somewhat of an exception) its chief work is among the young men of the country, i.e. Uruguayans, Brazilians, etc. A special feature is the work in the universities, which, in South America, are notoriously agnostic; and an annual international students' camp held in Uruguay, with Bible study round the camp fire, is a great factor for good. On the whole it may be said to be a strong influence on the side of Christian manhood and at the same time, at least, in Buenos Aires, to provide the churches with a helpful base for intercourse and common work.

10. Y.W.C.A.--This exists only in Buenos Aires, working chiefly among Spanish-speaking girls and women, and is greatly appreciated as an almost indispensable institution.

11. The British and Foreign Bible Society.--The work of this well-known Society needs no commendation. It is enough to say that it fulfils its objects admirably, and a wonderful work is done by its colporteurs, than whom there are no better or braver pioneers in many parts of the interior.

12. The American Bible Society.--This Society divides its sphere of work with the British, works on similar lines, and deserves the same honour and respect.

This list has no claim to be exhaustive, but it is, at least, an indication of "what others are doing."

Apart from what the Anglican Church is doing for British people (which, after all, is its principal work), it would be a true conclusion to draw that American religious enterprise in South America is on a far greater scale than British, whether we agree with all that is done or not.

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