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A Latin American Perspective

A Latin American Perspective-Presented by the Plenary on Caring for Life at the WCC Central Committee, Sep. 2003

02 September 2003

World Council of Churches
CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Geneva, Switzerland
26 August - 2 September 2003

Plenary on Caring for Life: A Latin American Perspective


The plenary will focus on a historical view of the witness of the churches in Caring for Life in Latin America, a theological reflection on the Grace of God and the Human Dignity, and finally a reflection on the challenges for the churches.

During the past thirty years the WCC member churches, together with other churches and church organizations, have played a very important role in protecting the life of people affected by authoritarian regimes, promoting human dignity, and struggling for justice, democracy and freedom. They have tried to respond in a prophetic way to the challenges coming from their specific contexts through pastoral care, advocacy efforts, theological reflection, worship, fasting and prayers. In this process they have accompanied the hopes and pain of many people throughout the region and have learnt many lessons.

The World Council of Churches have accompanied this witness of the churches. Some examples: in 1973 the WCC was involved in the creation of the Committee “Cooperation for Peace in Chile” which played a very important role in the protection of the life of the people affected by the military regime. In Argentina the WCC strongly supported the work of the MEDH (Ecumenical Movement for Human Rights).

In the present situation they are trying to contribute to the search for alternatives to the critical economic, social and political situation that most of the countries in the region are going through. The plenary will offer them the opportunity to share their stories and identify the new challenges.

Main Objectives:
· To share some of the stories of the Latin American churches in Caring for Life emphasizing the importance of keeping the memories alive and encouraging the Central Committee members to remember and learn from their own stories.
· To share the emerging theological reflection on the Grace of God and Human Dignity.
· To highlight regional and global challenges to the churches and the ecumenical movement in the framework of the preparation process for the next WCC Assembly to be held in Brazil in 2006.
· To encourage WCC member churches to reinforce their efforts to make the dignity of life a central part of their Christian witness in the middle of globalization.

Methodology

The plenary will be introduced by a Latin American musical group. The group will perform musical pieces during the plenary.

· Panel: Presentation of two testimonies from Central Committee members: Rev. Cibele Kuss from the Lutheran Church in Brazil and Rev. Gerard Green from the Moravian Church in Nicaragua.
· A bible study on the Grace of God and Human Dignity led by Dr Tania Mara V. Sampaio. Discussion at the tables.
· A calling/challenge for churches by Bishop Federico Pagura.