BRAZILIAN BAPTIST CHURCH
9614 River Road
Richmond , VA 23229
Phone (804) 740-7101 [ Second Baptist Church]
Recognizing the growing Brazilian community in the Richmond area, First and Second Baptist Church of Richmond, along with Virginia Mission Board developed plans establish a Brazilian church. Rev. Isaias Rufino was invited to serve as the pastor. The church was formally established and held its first service in April 2002, after Rev. Rufino moved to Richmond from Sao Paulo, Brazil; a country that is 80% Catholic. Services are held at a chapel in Second Baptist Church. Both the Brazilian Baptist Church and Second Baptist Church are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Rituals and Activities
Services are held each Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. Currently all services are conducted in Portuguese. However, there are plans to have dual language services (Portuguese and English) in the future. During this time worship, prayer, offering, scripture readings, and a sermon from the pastor is the typical program for the day. The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is observed once a month. After the Sunday service, the congregation shares a light snack together and has a time of fellowship.
Additional activities are planned throughout the week, including:
- Tuesday night Portuguese classes at 7:30 p.m.
- Wednesday night prayer meeting at 7:00 p.m.
- Friday night Bible study at 8:00 p.m. [different member’s house each week]
- Saturday night youth group at 7:00 p.m.
The congregants of the Brazilian Baptist Church celebrate the traditional holidays of Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, combining both American and Brazilian cuisine at all holiday festivities.
Due the small membership size, and its close relationship with Second Baptist Church, the congregation does not have any associated units, but instead shares it resources with Second Baptist.
Programs and Outreach
The Brazilian Baptist Church has many outreaches geared towards the Brazilian community in the greater Richmond Metro Area. For the most part these outreaches are assimilation services, such as: airport transportation, locating housing, furniture, and employment; school enrollment; banking and DMV assistance; translating (in schools, hospitals, job interviews, etc), providing food and clothing; and teaching English as a Second Language to new immigrants. These services are offered to members and non-members of the church.
In conjunction with Second Baptist Church, language courses are offered throughout the week. ESL courses are offered on Monday and Wednesday nights, and Portuguese courses are offered on Tuesday nights. All classes are free and open to the public.
The members of the Brazilian Baptist Church also offer outreaches in the form of mission work. They financially and prayerfully support a Brazilian missionary who will soon be departing to serve in Europe. Together with Second Baptist Church, mission trips are periodically arranged. A ten-day trip to Brazil was coordinated between the two churches, with members of the BBC aiding in culture and language training for the Americans going on the trip.
Membership size and composition
The average attendance for Sunday evening worship is approximately 65. Average attendance rises to approximately 100 during the observance of holidays. Ninety percent of the congregation is Brazilian. There are a few (3-4) Americans who attend regularly as well as a few Spanish-speaking members. English-speaking attendance fluctuates. Currently, two families from area churches attend to learn the culture and language as they prepare to move to Brazil to serve as missionaries. Since the church’s establishment in 2002, more than 200 Brazilians in the Richmond community have attended a service.
In addition to celebrating the traditional Christian holidays, the congregation also celebrates the Brazilian Independence Day on September 7 th, marking the peaceful agreement reached in 1822 between Portugal and Brazil, establishing the independence of the country. Celebration occurs on the closest Saturday or Sunday to the holiday, with no special service being held. Discussing what independence means, praying for their country and its leaders, discussing the current situation in Brazil and singing the national anthem marks the day. Brazil also has the national holidays of Mother’s and Father’s day, which are celebrated in August. The congregation however, has chosen to celebrate both holidays on the American dates.
The worship atmosphere is very different for the Brazilian church, in comparison to other Southern Baptist churches. The service is much more contemporary. Members often wear jeans and shorts as opposed to the more traditional attire usually associated with a church service. There is no choir or pianist, but a praise group with many different instruments leading the music. Brazilian culture itself lacks the formality often seen in American churches. The members of the BBC are not comfortable with this formality and have thus made the worship experience distinctly their own.
Created by Rachel Everley, 1 August 2005