BRAZILIAN BAPTIST CHURCH
Recognizing the growing Brazilian community in the Richmond area, First Baptist Church and Second Baptist Church of Richmond, along with Virginia Mission Board, developed plans establish a Brazilian church. Reverend Isaias Rufino was invited to serve as the pastor. The church was formally established and held its first service in April, 2002 after Reverend Rufino moved to Richmond from Sao Paulo, Brazil. 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.
Services are held each Sunday evening. 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 and a time of fellowship. Additional evening activities through the week include Portuguese classes, prayer meeting, Bible study in members’ homes, and youth group. 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.
The Brazilian Baptist Church has many outreach activities geared towards the Brazilian community in the greater Richmond Metropolitan Area. For the most part these outreach activities are assimilation services, such as providing airport transportation; locating housing, furniture, and employment; assisting with school enrollment, banking and Department of Motor Vehicle needs; translating (in schools, hospitals, job interviews), 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, Portuguese and English as a Second Language courses are offered throughout the week.
The members of the Brazilian Baptist Church also offer outreach 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 arranged periodically. A ten-day trip to Brazil was coordinated between the two churches, with members of the Brazilian Baptist Church aiding in culture and language training for the Americans going on the trip.
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 Americans who attend regularly as well as a few Spanish-speaking members. English-speaking attendance fluctuates. For example, two families from area churches currently 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, marking the peaceful agreement reached in 1822 between Portugal and Brazil that established 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 observes 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.
In comparison to other Southern Baptist churches, the worship atmosphere is very different for the Brazilian churchas Brazilian culture lacks the formality often seen in American churches. The Brazilian 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 rather a praise group with many different instruments leading the music. The members of the Brazilian Baptist Church are not comfortable with formality and have thus made the worship experience distinctly their own.
Brazilian Baptist Church
[Second Baptist Church]
9614 River Road
Richmond , VA 23229
Profile prepared by Rachel Everley