10-11 October 2005
The WCC, in collaboration with the Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) and the Dominica Council of Churches (DCC), hosted it's pre-Assembly meeting for the Caribbean at the "Holy Redeemer Retreat House" in Eggelston, Dominica, 10-11 October.
There were around 40 participants at the meeting, coming from 22 islands or states (Grenada, Jamaica, Suriname, Cuba, Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Belize British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Monserrat, Nevis, Panamá, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines). We also had two WCC staff from Geneva.
Since the Assembly is taking place for the first time in the Latin American region, the Caribbean churches were invited to "host" the Assembly as well - an invitation that was warmly accepted.
The delegates were reminded that this global gathering would be an occasion to analyze critically how the churches and the ecumenical movement in general are changing and experiencing a "re-configuration".
Gerard Granado, general secretary of the CCC, stressed the similarity of themes between the recent CCC assembly on "Healing & transformation. Given in Christ, fulfilled by the Holy Spirit," and the WCC Assembly theme of "God, in your grace, transform the world".
Among the challenges facing the churches in the region, the participants identified:
- crime and violence;
- unemployment, that forces youth to migrate which is a loss for the region ("brain drain");
- drug trafficking and addiction;
- unfair trade competition: bananas, rice, sugar
- economic development after the hurricanes and natural disasters;
- human sexuality, in particular as it affects the young people, including HIV/AIDS, but it goes beyond this - for example, same-sex relations;
- migration as connected with violence and crime;
- structures to help people to survive;
- root causes of the problems which produce poverty, and need to be named;
- criminals deported from the North;
- irresponsible tourism and the problem of climate change;
- US political hostility against Cuba and Haiti;
- destruction of social and political institutions in the region;
- increasing need for the healing and reconciliation ministry of the church;
- need for a platform for inter-faith collaboration, mainly with Islam, Judaism and Hinduism.
The Caribbean churches are bringing these major challenges to the Assembly, in order to address them with the global ecumenical family, for transformation by God's grace.