THE arrest of pastor and former federal deputy Flordelis dos Santos de Souzain August last year, caused the closure of the last church she founded – the Mutondo unit, in São Gonçalo -.
Prior to the murder of her husband, Pastor Anderson do Carmo, the Flordelis ministry had, in addition to its headquarters, five branches, a new temple under construction, and thousands of followers.
After the crime, in June 2019, the churches plunged into a crisis that came to a head when Flordelis was behind bars, accused of being the mastermind of the crime. After two adjournments, his trial was set for December. She denies having participated in the death.
The death of Anderson, the chief administrator of the temples, was the first blow. Then, the revelation of a conspiracy that had taken place within the family removed not only the faithful, but also the pastors, some from the family itself, with important roles in the churches.
Little by little, branches in Jardim Catarina, in São Gonçalo; Pendotiba and Piratininga, in Niterói; in Itaboraí and Itaipuaçu, in Maricá, the activities have ended. Finally, he closed the seat.
With the end of services, pastors migrated to other churches in their areas of operation or founded new temples, taking with them some of the congregants who frequented the Flordelis ministry. The last to take this step was Gerson da Conceição, Gerson Baiano, considered a son by the former deputy.
The pastor remained in charge of the Mutondo headquarters until it closed, after the arrest of the former deputy. Later he opened his own church, Comunidade Evangélica Manasses, located about a kilometer from the old headquarters.
Members of the large family — Flordelis has more than 50 children — came to transfer Mutondo Point to another church — the Assembly of God Ministério Saracuruna. It was also agreed to sell all the furniture of the Flordelis ministry, as well as the equipment.
The new church functioned for a few weeks, but temple officials backtracked and abandoned their activities. Currently, there is a slab factory on site.
Another loving son of Flordelis, Carlos Ubiraci sought his wife’s help to start a new church while he was behind bars, also accused of involvement in Anderson’s death.
Until his arrest in August 2020, Carlos was responsible for the Piratininga branch. He had also become president of the Flordelis ministry. At the end of that year, he broke up with the pastor after his wife and daughters were kicked out of the family home.
In September 2021, the Yeshua Ministry was founded in Piratininga, with the participation of former members of the Flordelis Ministry. In May of this year, after being acquitted of involvement in Anderson’s death, Carlos resumed preaching at the new church, of which he is president.
Anthropologist Carly Machado, who has studied the ministry, says the closing of churches can be attributed not only to the crime scandal, but also to the administrative difficulties that began to arise:
“What happened is not just the crime. It is clear that the scandal was very important, in the media it caused a lot of wear and tear for the family members. But the problem is that while there are people who may not be convinced who is to blame (for the crime), central figures like Anderson and Flordelis were missing. It’s very difficult to sustain the project like that.
Carly recalls that the departure from the church of another emotional son, Wagner Andrade Pimenta, Misael, also had a big impact, as he helped Anderson with administrative and financial matters. After the crime, Misael broke up with her mother. Although a pastor, he did not preach often. With Anderson’s murder, he began attending another church, but without a position.
Along with Misael, days after Anderson’s murder, equally affectionate son Alexsander Felipe Matos Mendes, known as Luan, broke up with his mother and moved out. An important member of the Mutondo headquarters, he is currently an assistant pastor at CEI Trindade, also in São Gonçalo.
Pastors Moisés and Gessica Muniz, who were in charge of the Itaboraí branch, left the Flordelis ministry a month after the crime. The couple, who have Pastor Anderson as their great religious mentor, say the decision to start a church was a natural one, the result of contact they had with church elders. According to Moisés, they continued to support former members of the ministry, even when they were away.
— People began to understand, as in the Bible, that God gives shepherds to the sheep and not sheep to the shepherds. And we started a new process, a new church – explains Moisés, who founded, together with his wife, the Cema church.
— I look at the people who are part of the Cema church and I see a very resilient people. A people who have managed to overcome pain, frustration, disappointment and have come to understand that Jesus is the goal of our life. We are happy, walking. New people have arrived and many people have stayed with us — adds Pastor Géssica.
In a statement to police, Flordelis said her churches had income of more than BRL 2 million per month in 2018, a value she said she only learned about after the crime. Expenses were also high, as all the temples were rented.
In addition, the family spent large sums on the construction of a new headquarters in Laranjal, São Gonçalo, a project mainly by Pastor Anderson. The place was to house five thousand faithful. The work was taken over by another parish priest, Leonardo Sale, of the IPTM cathedral, who opened a branch on the site.
from the O Extra agency
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