From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
CANAAC EXAMINES PARTNERSHIP AND ECCLESIOLOGY
05 May 1996 13:06:57
95172 CANAAC EXAMINES PARTNERSHIP AND ECCLESIOLOGY
by Alexa Smith
NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Partnership between women and men in ministry in North
America and in the Caribbean will be the focus of a 1997 conference in
Puerto Rico, after action taken last week by the Caribbean and North
American Area Council (CANAAC) of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches
Information gathered in Puerto Rico will be funneled to WARC's 23rd
general council meeting in August 1997 in Hungary, with the theme: "Break
the Chains of Injustice."
"The idea is that information from this part of the world about issues
related to partnership will be brought to WARC's general meeting ... as
will similar conference material gathered in Asia and in Africa," said the
Rev. Ann Clay Adams of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), newly elected
moderator of CANAAC.
Adams says one issue for CANAAC is the grief some delegates feel about
the longtime lack of representation from Caribbean women at the council's
Adams is part of the planning committee for CANAAC's 1997 regional
conference. Other planners are: Sandra Garcia of Humacao, Puerto Rico,
United Church of Christ; the Rev. Daniel Forget, Quebec, Canada,
Presbyterian Church in Canada; and a yet-to-be-named Caribbean male.
"It is an attempt to reach those whose voices are not heard," said the
Rev. Margrethe B.J. Brown, area secretary and also a member of the PC(USA).
CANAAC allotted $5,000 as seed money for the conference, though
PC(USA) delegate the Rev. James E. Andrews cast the single opposing vote.
Andrews argued that if WARC wants programs carried out by its bodies, WARC
should provide funding.
In other action, delegates passed an ecclesiology statement onto WARC
and sent a resolution appealing to its 17 member denominations to keep
justice ministries as a high priority despite funding cutbacks.
CANAAC's three standing committees discussed the meaning of the
phrase, "Ecclesiology That Feeds, Frees and Serves," throughout the
three-day conference and drafted a statement as "a gathering of the church
which unites a diversity of ethnicity, cultural experience and theological
perspectives, and which includes women and men, lay and clergy, in all
positions of leadership."
Convictions that emerged in the two-page document say that church
models that have freed, fed and served include:
* those which, it seems, appear when the church is under seige
* that the Holy Spirit moves when members think less about polity and
structure and more about needed ministries
* that the church is always more than a set of functions; its essence
is more that what it does.
The ecclesiology conversation, according to Adams, was initiated by
delegates at last year's CANAAC meeting -- many of whom felt concern about
the church. Almost simultaneously, she said, WARC's Geneva office asked
for input on ecclesiology to prepare for its 1997 general meeting.
"It came out of a despairing mood," Adams said of the previous year's
motion. "But when it was dealt with here ... there was a much more hopeful
mood, less attention to the problems of the church and more attention to
the essence of the church and the challenges the church faces in different
The appeal to member churches to regard justice ministries as a high
priority was, in the words of delegate the Rev. Terry Hastings of the
Presbyterian Church in Canada, in light of trends among denominations in
the last decade to cutback budgets and staff.
The resolution asks that CANAAC's member churches "re-examine the
inseparable relationship between the Christian faith and the realization of
justice, exploring ways to promote justice work at all levels of the
church; and to seek innovative ideas to overcome matters of funding with
regard to justice ministries." CANAAC further pledged its prayers and
support as member churches "seek to be people of justice and compassion
within the world."
CANAAC's member churches are located in the United States, Canada,
Guyana, Cuba, Granada, Jamaica and the Caymans, Trinidad and Tobago.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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