A former Roman Catholic priest, Daniel Genovesi, was consecrated March 16 in Buenos Aires Cathedral as Interim Bishop of Uruguay.
He and his wife, Mercedes, will start their new ministry in Uruguay on April 1.
The missionary diocese of Uruguay was created by the Anglican Church of South America more than 30 years ago. Before then, the mainly English chapels at Montevideo, Fray Bentos, and Salto were part of the Diocese of Argentina. During that time it has developed a distinctive style and sought to grow as a local church.
Differences in theology and worship style led to a bid from the diocese to leave the Anglican Church of South America and join the Anglican Church in Brazil. The province declined that request.
Matt Townsend wrote for TLC in August 2017:
The diocese is “at a crossroads, huge crossroads,” the Rev. Cynthia Dickin told TLC. Dickin, who was in the first group of women ordained to the priesthood in Uruguay, has worked with [Bishop Michael] Pollesel in the cathedral. She also served at a church in Malvín, a Montevidean suburb, for a year. “We’re very tiny. In fact, if we read our canons — and I don’t like to be legalistic — but if we read our canons we’re not a church. We’re a mission, still.”
In contrast, the church in Argentina, led by the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, has been able to develop a pattern for church growth that involves transition from Anglo chaplaincy and toward ministry to young, evangelical, Spanish-speaking families. Venables is presiding bishop of the Anglican Church of South America (formerly the Southern Cone), of which Uruguay is a part.
Argentina’s success with such transitions may translate to Uruguay. The Rev. David George, who served as archdeacon in Argentina for many years, has now been assigned as vicar general of Uruguay during the transition following Pollesel’s retirement.
Venables, a British native, told TLC that Argentina’s experience led to the Uruguayan church’s request to work with George. “I think the fact that the Uruguayan Anglican church has asked us as a province, and particularly us in Argentina, reflects that,” he said. “They’re looking for more church identity. It’s been very much a kind of chaplaincy of social work, which has done some wonderful things. But I think now it’s a question of Where’s the community? How are we going to be a Christian community? it’s a challenge, but it’s a wonderful opportunity.”
Dickin described George as “a man with a lot of understanding of the whole context.”
She said, “I believe that he is very well positioned to listen and, therefore, afterwards to counsel us; but also take back, hopefully, an objective point of view to the rest of the province.”
In response to an approach from Uruguay’s Diocesan Council, the province’s House of Bishops proposed the appointment of an interim bishop who would work, with help from Venables and other colleagues, to strengthen the diocese.
Genovesi, who served as priest of San Marcos in Hurlingham, Buenos Aires, for nearly 12 years, responded to the appointment with surprise and joy, as well as “enthusiasm and the desire to go to a new place in order to listen, accompany, encourage, orientate, and re-create in the name of Jesus.”
Both the bishop and his wife are professional psychologists. Before their marriage, he was a Roman Catholic priest and she was a nun. They have lived for many years in Buenos Aires, but are originally from the interior of the country.
Expanded from ACNS