"With living hope, we invite our member churches to renew and strengthen our joint testimony and continue to raise their voices and working for abundant life,” said Rev. Milton Mejía, general secretary of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI), as he announced a new structure for the region’s largest ecumenical body on 14 April.
The board of CLAI met from 9-14 April in Lima, Peru, where CLAI was founded 34 years ago, to evaluate and approve a new strategic plan and structure.
The core of the new structure is based on three main action areas: ecumenical formation; diakonia and advocacy; pastoral and social networks.
The CLAI board released a letter to its member churches and partner organizations highlighting the importance of the decision and the process of reflection that led to it.
“The restructuring will provide a new institutional logic that allows us to have greater impact and to promote processes of advocacy together with our churches in a more efficient way, using economic resources available in a responsible way and increasing the contribution of the member churches to support CLAI,” reads the letter.
Representatives of most of CLAI’s international partners, such as the World Council of Churches, ACT Alliance and the Lutheran World Federation, were invited to meet the board to discuss the new structure and envision the future of the cooperation.
These partners handed a joint letter to CLAI’s general secretary stressing the need to have a schedule of commitments with specific deadlines to resolve issues.
“Making the structure smaller does not mean decreasing the strength of the movement you are part of,” reads the letter, entitled “We Continue to Walk Together.”
“Our trust in continuing to support depends on a clear attitude of CLAI towards its member churches in the search for genuine resources and the empowerment of these churches”, continues the letter.
The letter is signed by ACT Alliance, AIPRAL/World Communion of Reformed Churches, Church World Service, Church of Sweden, General Board of Global Ministries IMU, Global Ministries (Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ), ICCO/Kerk in Actie, The Lutheran World Federation, Mission 21, Presbyterian World Mission – PCUSA and the World Council of Churches.