NEARLY 29 years after the formation of St. Vincent’s (Church of England) Anglican Church in the Algarve, a breakaway faction has been set-up in the Algarve called the All Saints’ Anglican Church, led by the former St. Vincent’s chaplain, the Rev Eric Britt.
Surprisingly, this revelation comes just 13 months after Mr Britt renewed his vows during a ceremony attended by his old friend and teacher, Lord George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury. The celebratory ceremony took place at St. Luke’s Church, in Monte da Palhagueira retirement village, one of the three congregations under the St. Vincent’s banner and, the only church solely designated to the chaplaincy. The Resident’s Natasha Smith attended the inaugural service of All Saints’ Anglican Church last Sunday (July 16) to find out more .…
Held at the Nossa Senhora de Fátima church, which was previously home to St. Vincent’s church
in Almancil, the service was attended by more than 100 worshippers. The breakaway church has, however, been the subject of much speculation, as well as concerns about Mr Britt’s license to officiate.
Mr Britt, the former chaplain of St. Vincent’s in the Algarve, announced that he had accepted the withdrawal of his license to officiate, according to a press release supplied to The Resident (see edition of July 14). During the Sunday service, Mr Britt told the congregation that he had not been given a full explanation for the withdrawal, but added that he had not resigned.
According to Mr Britt, he is now licensed to officiate by Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti of the Diocese of Recife, Brazil, but not by the Church of England.
According to reports that are widely available on the internet, the former Bishop of the Diocese of Recife, Robinson Cavalcanti is NOT licensed to officiate and, following lengthy legal battles with the ecclesiastical court, was deposed from Holy Orders from the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, despite attempts to suspend the decision through injunction and appeals.
Mr Britt told The Resident that he made the decision to form a new church because he found it difficult to be the chaplain for the three congregations of St. Vincent’s. According to some parishioners, there was disharmony within the congregation of St. Vincent’s, as some of the worshippers apparently did not agree with the style of Mr Britt’s services.
It is clear that the leaders of the All Saints’ Anglican Church want to separate themselves from St. Vincent’s. This was evident from the signs on the main road and outside the church advertising the new title (see photo).
Paul Allen-Luckman and Jackie Neville, both of whom had apparently been training to become ‘lay readers’ under St. Vincent’s direction, were both dressed in robes for the first service of the All Saints’ Church and accompanied Mr Britt, who welcomed everyone with the first words “welcome to All Saints”.
The Resident spoke to several members of the congregation, who attested that Mr Britt is well liked by Father Elisio, the local Roman Catholic priest and Manuel Neto Quintas, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Algarve, who is responsible for ensuring all Christians have a church building in which to worship. According to them, despite knowing that Mr Britt was no longer licensed by the Church of England, the Bishop of the Algarve allowed Mr Britt to continue with his new church in the Nossa Senhora de Fátima while the St. Vincent’s chaplaincy remained unaware of any change until Wednesday, last week. At the time of going to press, the Bishop of the Algarve was unavailable for comment.
According to one member of the congregation, one of the main reasons the new church is supported by the Bishop of the Algarve is because he likes the presence of the children’s mission, which emphasises the importance of young people being an integral part of the church. However, this also exists within St. Vincent’s.
The Resident is still investigating the concerns brought to its attention by some members of the St. Vincent’s congregation, but, according to church sources, the dispute has been referred to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt. Rev Rowan Williams, who is giving this matter his full attention.
The Resident contacted All Saints’ to request an interview with Mr. Britt who declined.