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Back to Press Releases main page > December 2004

CCC prepares for Regional Ecumenical Institute

" There seems to be little passion for pastoral care and ecumenism on the part of those leaving the seminaries." This was just one of the observations that were shared as representatives of the varying theological colleges throughout the Caribbean met with the CCC to chart a way forward for the Regional Ecumenical Institute.

The CCC hosted the very first meeting of the Steering Committee of the Institute at the Cascadia Hotel from December 7 th -9 th , where Committee members attempted to state how they saw the Institute functioning to achieve maximum effectiveness vis a vis its stated goals and objectives.

The meeting was hosted by CCC President, Rev. Dr. Lesley Anderson, as well as General Secretary, Mr. Gerard Granado, and head of Ecumenical Relations and Theological Affairs of the CCC, Rev. Dr. Knolly Clarke. Committee members included representatives from the theological colleges of the Caribbean , including Barbados , Jamaica , Trinidad , Suriname and Cuba . The University of the West Indies was also represented on the Committee.

Mr. Granado informed the committee members that the concept of the Institute emerged out of an attempt by the CCC to understand the new period of ecumenism in which it found itself, and how this related to the carrying out of its mandate of promoting ecumenism and social change into the future.

Mr. Granado, in outlining the objectives of the Institute stressed that the Institute was not to be considered as being in competition with the other theological colleges, but rather that the Institute would serve the theological colleges in a supplementary and complementary role.

The Institute, he pointed out, would focus on theological issues, development and community development issues. Mr. Granado stated that the focus on development and community development issues arose out of growing concern about the absence of skills among Church leaders in the area of community mobilization and project management.

Mr. Granado continued that the CCC did not envision the Institute as having a huge physical outfit, with a permanent staff, and mentioned the willingness on the part of different colleges to allow the CCC to be facilitated in their own space, using their resources.

Among the different issues raised, was that of accreditation, curriculum, the incorporation of modern technology, the financing and acceptance of students, the relationship with other tertiary institutions, and how the Institute would maintain its own visibility and be marketed.

In discussing curriculum, Mr. Granado said that the CCC saw the need for the Institute to offer courses that would stimulate critical thinking, a declining skill among students who had ready access to a surplus of information through the internet, and had developed an art of 'cut and paste.'

Dr. Everard Johnston of the St. John Vianney Seminary, stated that there was also a need for the CCC to clarify its mandate of promoting ecumenism so that the Institute would be more reflective of this part of the CCC's mandate, and thus create more of a sense of ownership on the part of the different denominations.

However it was strongly felt by the Committee that such an Institute would be a welcome aid to seminaries where the focus had become largely academic over the years, and where time constraints rendered it virtually impossible to focus on every area of pastoral care especially as it related to the demands of the contemporary Caribbean .

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