Representatives of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM) in North America and the Caribbean have concluded a joint assembly in the Dominican Republic with a promise to continue working together to meet the needs of the region.

“There is a focus on collaborating on issues related to immigration and migration concerns in the region as well as on Indigenous communities,” says Robina Winbush, director of the Department of Ecumenical and Agency Relations in the Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).

Representatives of WCRC’s Caribbean and North American Area Council (CANAAC)  and CWM’s Caribbean and North America Council for Mission (CANACOM) met from Sept. 24-30 here under the theme “Who is my neighbor?” The joint assembly marked the 25th anniversary of CANACOM.

WCRC’s regional vice-president, Yvette Noble-Bloomfield of the Cayman Islands, says the objective of the meeting for CANAAC was to implement WCRC’s strategic plan for working more closely with member churches through regional groups.

“Over the next two years, CANAAC will seek to respond to the needs of the region  through  dynamic theological engagement and interpretation, with a strong focus on youth networking and mission  as well as an emphasis on the ‘Covenanting for Justice’ program in North America and the Caribbean,” says Noble-Bloomfield. 

Delegates encouraged joint advocacy initiatives on behalf of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic and in response to the embargo by the United States against Cuba.

CANAAC discussed its commitment to the WCRC Endowment Fund, Noble-Bloomfield reports, noting that churches in the Caribbean will be invited to support the fund.

Building on the success of a joint program for young theologians held in parallel with the joint assembly, CANAAC committed itself to strengthening a network of theologians, inclusive of younger theologians and leaders, and to supporting their engagement and action.

The CANACOM/CANAAC Theological Institute was led by Paulette Brown of the Presbyterian Church of Canada and Ofelia Ortega of the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba.

By unanimous acclamation, CANAAC elected its steering committee and officers for 2011-2014:

Brenda Bullock, convener ― Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago

Bill Thomas, deputy convener ― United Church of Canada

Karen Georgia Thompson, treasurer ― United Church of Christ/USA

Abigail Butler ― Guyana Congregational Union

Lisa Vander Wal ― Reformed Church in America

Joel Ortega Dopico ― Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba (IPRC)

Kelvin Marte Sena ― Dominican Evangelical Church (IED)

Gustavo Vasquez ― Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Departing Convenor Neal Presa of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), says: “It has been a true pleasure in serving alongside each and all of you these past 5 and a half years.  I am grateful to God for our work together and for the critical witness that the WCRC, its member churches, regional councils, and networks provide for God's transformative justice in the world.”

Presa was recently endorsed by the Presbytery of Elizabeth as the first candidate for moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The assembly will be held June 30-July 7. 2012 in Pittsburgh.

WCRC was created in June 2010 through a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC). Its 230 member churches representing 80 million Christians are active worldwide in initiatives supporting economic, climate and gender justice, mission, and cooperation among Christians of different traditions.