Christ Church, Rio’s English speaking Anglican Church
Christ Church, Botafogo, is the only English speaking Anglican Church in Rio de Janeiro, where Anglicans in Rio gather. Our mission is to serve the English-speaking community of the city and beyond, whether they are permanent residents, here on short contract or simply visiting the city. The first Anglican services in Rio de Janeiro took place 200 years ago, before there was a Church building. In 1819, the first Church was constructed, originally sited in Centro near to the Municipal Theatre. The present building has been in constant use since 1944.
Christ Church is a welcoming, friendly church for people of all ages and backgrounds, church or not. We meet together every Sunday in the beautiful church building at Rua Real Grandeza, 99, Botafogo. We are well served by public transport and secure, private car parking is available.
We meet at 8 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. every Sunday. The 8 a.m. service is a said Holy Communion followed by breakfast; the 10.30 a.m. is a Family Service on the first Sunday of the month. On the other Sundays it is a Holy Communion with activities for younger members. When there is a fifth Sunday the service is one of Morning Praise. Our services are conducted in English and according to the liturgy of the Anglican Church. All are welcome to stay behind for refreshments afterwards. There are always opportunities for those looking to offer their time and commitment in a number of ways.
Other than on Sundays, we also meet to learn more about faith in Christ through Bible Study and Discussion Groups, in the daytime and on Thursday evenings. For nine months of the year, there is a said Communion Service on Tuesday mornings at 9.00 a.m., to coincide with the meetings of the Women’s Diocesan Association. By request, services can always be taken in other parts of Rio state, such as Teresopolis or Petropolis.
Our church building is also used for Weddings, blessings, Baptisms and Memorial services. We hold an annual All Souls’ Day service in November at the English Cemetery in Gamboa, and later the same month, the Remembrance Day service in Christ Church. The Community Carol Service has become an established fixture in the community calendar.
There is also an Anglican Church in Niterói, known as All Saints Niteroi, located in Rua Otávio Carneiro, where a Communion service is held on the last Sunday of the month at 6.00 p.m. and a Carol service in December. This church is also used by the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil)
The church can be contacted through the following numbers:
Church Office (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) 2226-7332 Fax: 2226-7053
The History of Christ Church
At the main entrance to the Church in Rua Real Grandeza, there is an inscription on a marble plaque which reads as follows: “In 1819 was erected to the Glory of Almighty God and for celebration of divine service, according to the use of the Church of England, the Church of SS George and John the Baptist, afterwards known as Christ Church, on a site then adjacent: to the Bay of Rio de Janeiro but subsequently to form part of the Rua dos Barbonos, since renamed Rua Evaristo da Veiga, in which the last services were held on 5th December 1943. To provide for the uninterrupted continuance of the ministry connected with the former Church, the erection of this building was commenced on the 6th October 1942 and the ceremony of dedication was performed on 29th October 1944.”
At that time, war was raging in Europe and in a general address to the entire British community in Rio in August 1940, H M Ambassador Knox said, “Finance in wartime is the only medium through which the civilian can bear his full share of the burden. This is particularly true as regards the British abroad.” The community responded with cash donations, proceeds from the sale of valuables, financing repairs to damaged ships, hospitalising wounded seamen, one-way passages home for volunteers and so on. The original organisations were directed by the Chaplain of Christ Church and the British Consulate, with assistance later on from the Royal British Legion and the British and Commonwealth Society. As in the First World War, many volunteered for active service and once a year, on Remembrance Day, the names of those who lost their lives are read out by the Chaplain during a special service. After the war, the Royal British Legion installed allied flags around the Church. There are presently flags of the UK, Brazil, USA, Canada, Norway, Nigeria, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and three ensigns.
In 1987, the building of Christ Church was declared “tombado” or listed, as it was considered architecturally a fine example of yesterday’s Rio. It has the status of “imóvel tombado pelo Patrimônio Histórico e Cultural da cidade do Rio de Janeiro”. Besides guaranteeing its perpetuity, this gives the Church important tax benefits.
Please contact us if you are researching your family history, as we have Baptism, Marriage and Burial records dating back to the early 1800’s.
MUSIC IN CHRIST CHURCH
Most years Christ Church is chosen as one of the many venues for the series of concerts known as “RICE” – Rio International Cello Encounter – organized by David Chew and performed by well known Brazilian and visiting musicians. Three times a year the church is packed for the SCM – Society of Choral Music – choral concerts, usually accompanied by the organ, but also by an orchestra if the music demands it. Soloists are both amateur and professional.
On most days of the week, if you visit the church in the evening, you will find choirs rehearsing in the church itself, in one of the cloisters rooms, or in the hall. It is not all sacred music, and it is not all English music. On Mondays the main SCM choir rehearses in the church or hall (70 voices take up quite a bit of room). On Wednesdays the “Coral Paratodos” rehearses in the hall, and at times a group made up of SCM choir members and others rehearse Beatles music in the church on Wednesdays, for the BCS – British & Commonwealth Society – Beatles Night. On Thursdays the SCM chamber choir is in the church, and the “Seresta Choir” rehearses in one of the rooms along the cloisters. Every so often the Julio Moretshon choir also rents out the Hall or church for a series of rehearsals for a specific presentation. You may wonder how the Christ Church choir fits in with all this, well choirmaster Ruy Wanderley rehearses the church’s own choir on Sundays, before the 10.30 church service. The British School also uses the church for teaching music, rehearsing and certain specific events such as the Christmas Carol Concert.
Many of those who use the church for musical events felt that the visual presentation would be much enhanced if the wonderful stained glass windows behind the altar could be illuminated at night, as they are during the day. This means illuminating from the outside, and the lighting for this sort of illumination is quite special, and has to be designed and installed by professionals. Christ Church ran a successful campaign in 2010 to raise money for this project.
In 2009 the church received a very generous donation – a new Johannus Organ, imported from Holland. It was donated in memory of Lucy Jackson Williams, a faithful member of the congregation during her lifetime, and whose family still supports the church in many ways. The organ had not yet been inaugurated, so it was decided to hold an organ concert, both to dedicate the organ and to raise money for the illumination of the stained glass windows. This took place on October 22nd, 2010, when there was a short ceremony of dedication of the organ, followed by the SCM choir singing Benjamin Britten’s Te Deum in C, accompanied by Inês Rufino on the organ. This was followed by recitals by four well known and talented organists, namely Benedito Rosa, organist at Rio’s Metropolitan Cathedral; Eugene Gall, organist at the Martin Luther church in downtown Rio; Lys Gazanego, organist in Christ Church for St Lukes, and Klaus Braun, organist and teacher at the Corcovado School.
The concert was free, sponsored by members of the church and community to raise money for the illumination project, and was a great success, and was followed by a short reception in the Jubilee Hall. Thanks to the fund-raising campaign, the lighting had already been installed, and at a signal from Chris Hieatt, who was MCing the concert, it was switched on, drawing an appreciative “aaaaaaah!” from the audience.