Focus on crime, violence and HIV/AIDS
The following statement was issued after the 7th General Assembly to member churches:
We the members of the Seventh General Assembly of the Caribbean Conference of Churches meeting at Hotel Riande Continental in Panama City , Panama , from June 10-15 greet you in the name of our God who calls us to renewal, oneness and fullness of life.
Having sought healing and transformation through our faith in Jesus Christ and been challenged by various speakers and mutual interactions guided by the Spirit, we recommit ourselves to the work of ecumenism in the region. As was made clear by Professor Neville Duncan and reiterated by Professor the Rev. Kortright Davis, the time for embracing new theological and programmatic experiences is upon us.
As we recommit ourselves to our role as the "right hand of God" we focus our attention on particular social issues of concern in the region. We have been deeply moved by the harsh reality of the plight of our brothers and sisters in Haiti , as was forcefully portrayed in the CCC -produced video entitled "Haitian Paintings".
As we met, foremost in our minds was the ever present reality of seriously escalating levels of violence and alien forms of criminal activity which are producing a high degree of social disease. The member Churches of the CCC must immediately engage this emerging reality and provide viable, pertinent and effective alternatives.
The tragedy of the HIV/AIDS pandemic compels us to enter into new, exciting, and life transforming ministries with fellow Christians and men and women of other living faiths. The newly produced template for inter-faith action creates a moment for this to receive living expression.
The membership also communicated a message of solidarity with all the people of the region who have recently suffered disasters, especially those most prominent in our minds. These recent events have heightened the fragility of our economies, but simultaneously re-invigorated our spirit of generosity, and mutual accountability. The use of appropriate technology in constructing, retrofitting and maintaining our structures needs to be underscored.
We also voice our support for the work of the Ecumenical Committee of Panama in the reaching an amicable resolution to the dispute surrounding the new social security legislation. We offer our prayerful support.
Furthermore, the Assembly affirms the importance of and contribution to the life of our churches made by women and youth. Their presence and input to the Assembly was re-energising, uplifting and added important dimensions to our deliberations.
In order to more effectively carry forward our deeper commitment to ecumenical action and programming it is important that our member churches take financial ownership of the CCC . No longer can we, nor should we, depend on external funding agencies for our major support. It was heartening for delegates to both suggest new internal funding models and pledge themselves to the continued sustainability of the organisation.
In closing, we call our member churches to a recommitment to the living experience of ecumenism, and the CCC in particular as a channel for this expression, demonstrated by your prayers, financial support and the sharing of your abundant resources.