The CWM Caribbean Pre-Assembly Orientation was marked by hopeful anticipation. Delegates from Cayman, Guyana and Jamaica represented the Guyana Congregational Union and the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, gathered at Knutsford Court Hotel Friday January 29 – 31, 2016.  The days were filled with worship, discussion, fellowship and information sharing as the group formed and got to know each other whilst learning more about CWM and the Global Assembly.

Sessions were facilitated by global and regional staff:

  1. Introduction to CWM – Karen Francis (Regional Secretary)
  2. CWM Structure & Governance – Norbert Stephens (Deputy Moderator)
  3. Role of Delegates and the Assembly – Janet McConnell (former Trustee for Caribbean region)
  4. Election Guidelines – Rev. Dr. Collin Cowan (General Secretary)
  5. Assembly Logistics  – Rev. Dr. Collin Cowan

Delegates raised questions to boost their understanding of CWM and the expectations of delegates and were excited by the description of the tone and atmosphere of the gatherings at the Assembly as described by Janet McConnell and Rose Wedderburn. Vickeisha King Burke took the opportunity to share plans for the youth assembly with the youth delegates – Delon Grandson (GCU) and Natasha Anderson (UCJCI).

Worship was ably coordinated by Rev. Nicole Ashwood who is a part of the Assembly Worship Planning team. On the first day the focus was on personal healing and preparation for mission. On the second day the focus turned to the mission of Christ and involved naming ‘legion’ the issues with which many are struggling such as climate change, domestic violence, child abuse; issues which need to be exorcised in pursuit of fullness of life for all creation. The sessions were filled with music of the region and celebrated the work of secular and gospel artistes.

The Keynote address was delivered by Rev. Dr. Burchell Taylor of the Jamaica Baptist Union. In his presentation Dr. Taylor spoke about healing of memories as ‘the urgent missional tasks of the people of God as bearers of hope’. He highlighted ‘a culture of neighbourliness’ as an outcome of healing. Dr. Taylor challenged CWM to name ‘structures and systems which disadvantage and deprive people’ and expose them as being ‘anti-neighbourly’ and antithetical to wholeness. Members of the ecumenical and wider community as well as leadership in UCJCI attended the Keynote address.

Delegates departed determined to arm themselves with information in order to fulfill their roles as delegates at the upcoming Assembly in June.

Karen Francis

Mission Secretary
Council for World Mission Caribbean Region

CWM Communications Team

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