International Fellowship Seeks to Win Over Brazil's Evangelical Christians
(Rio de Janeiro, June 3, 2016) —
After decades of building bridges between Christians and Jews in North America, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) is engaging Brazil’s burgeoning evangelical Christian population to generate new support for Israel and global Jewish needs.
The Fellowship’s Founder and President, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, is in the midst of a two-week trip to a series of mega-churches across Brazil, speaking to many thousands of parishioners about The Fellowship’s work supporting poor Jews, helping Jews immigrate to Israel and fortifying Jewish institutions threatened by terrorism.
Since arriving last week, Eckstein has been speaking to churches of between 1,000 to 5,000 members, part of Brazil’s rising evangelical community that represents 22 percent of the general Christian population of nearly 50 million people -- the second largest evangelical community in the world behind the United States. Each church in turn claims ancillary churches that, via social media, are reaching millions across Brazil with Eckstein’s message.
The Brazil trip is the latest effort in The Fellowship’s campaign to build on its close relations with U.S. Christians and create new strategic Christian alliances worldwide for Israel. These new alliances will counter deepening anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment including pressing challenges like the BDS movement. The Fellowship has also begun operating an office in Brazil as part of this strategy.
Eckstein’s itinerary, which began May 26 and concludes June 7, includes speaking before The Way of the Trees Baptist Church in Salvador, Bahia; the Baptist Church of Jardim Sao Paulo and the Assembly of God Victory in Christ Recife, in Recife, Pernambuco; the Getsemani Baptist Church in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais; the Calvary Evangelical Church and Light of Life Church in Brusque, the Assembly of God More of Christ in Florianopolis, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of God Church in Balneario Camboriu, all in Santa Catarina.
Church members have warmly embraced Eckstein. At the Way of the Tree Baptist Church, members sang “How Great Is Our God” in Hebrew and stood to applaud the rabbi; at the Baptist Church of Jardim, a group of pastors surrounded the rabbi and prayed for forgiveness for centuries of Christian persecution of Jews, moving many church members to tears.
“It’s been an amazing and humbling experience to speak with many thousands of Brazilian Christians about Israel, and to underscore our belief that those who bless Israel will in turn be blessed,” Eckstein said.
About The Fellowship
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews, and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces in helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide – and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Led by its founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $140 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $1.3 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, Seoul, and Sao Paulo. For more information, visit www.ifcj.org.
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