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
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
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 .