THE CHURCH OF CHRIST MAKING A DIFFERENCE
(NCSA Brazil) The 1st Church of the Nazarene in Nilopolis, Brazil held a very traditional anniversary service on September 7, 2020. In the morning, a baptism service was held, along with the reception of new members. In the evening, a worship service was held to celebrate the independence of Brazil, a tradition that is celebrated every year in the life of the church.
In March of 2020 the 1st Church of the Nazarene in Nilopolis recognized the need to serve its members, while also staying in line with the protocols and recommendations of the World Health Organization, while the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 continued to grow. It was a necessary and urgent decision, given the great number of members and weekly activities that the church regularly holds. The doors were closed for a time, but the work of the church continued responsibly and without disrupting the schedule. The services of the 1st church of the Nazarene in Nilopolis, were online during the pandemic. There was some change in times, but the need for the technology was especially noted during the pandemic. The church had provided services online before, but efforts intensified and were used more effectively during this time. The church saw notable results from the effort.
Despite all that has taken place this year, although it is different, in person services have returned. The celebration of the 54th anniversary of the church was held with all the necessary precautions. The work that has been done online has taken the church into many homes. Many people have made the decision to attend the church and be part of the congregation, because of this work. The Holy Spirit has been at work and provided a harvest in these months.
It has been necessary to provide disinfecting gel and reiterate the importance of using masks all the time. The pews of the church have been arranged to provide social distancing, and a limit is placed on the number of people in the sanctuary. A QR code is scanned as people entered in the morning and in the evening for the baptism service and celebration of another year in the life of the church.
The creative work of the church in this time resulted in 26 people being baptized, and 70 people coming into the church as members transferring from other churches. Most of these people participated in services online. Some people accepted Jesus from their homes and decided to be baptized. There were significant and emotional testimonies, for example the story of Paulo Cesar, a young person who was invited to church on his birthday by Pastor Alessandro Alvarenga. After hearing the preaching and the call, Paulo Cesar surprised everyone by accepting Jesus in his heart. It was a gift from God, and Pastor Alessandro was amazed at how this young person gave his life to Jesus on his birthday.
Finally, an entire family, father, mother, and children, decided to be baptized together after God had worked in the life of the family through several events. God worked miracles, and the family has shown their gratitude to God by giving their lives. The church continues, because in God they must be consistent, taking care of one another, spiritually, physically, and always committing to the work that transforms their community. God changes people’s minds, and people change for the better and to worship God.
Source: 1st Church of the Nazarene in Nilopolis
Translation: Paul Clark