Rev. Dr Walter Altmann, moderator of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) addressed a plenary session at the general assembly of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI), on 23 May in Havana, Cuba.
Altmann, who was CLAI’s president from 1995 and 2001, valued the relationship between the regional council and the WCC. “Despite the fact that these are two autonomous organizations, there is a strong spiritual bond, a common vision and commitment”, said the Brazilian Lutheran pastor.
“Our organizations were inspired by the Holy Spirit to promote unity in faith and to give witness of God’s love for humanity and all creation,” he added.
For Manuel Quintero Pérez, coordinator for the WCC’s Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, “at the present juncture of the ecumenical movement, CLAI is called upon to renew the involvement of the Latin American churches, to recapture the passion and commitment that gave birth to the Council in Oaxtepec, Mexico, 34 years ago”.
Quintero also underlined the challenge of renewal presented to the ecumenical movement in the region. “CLAI needs to contribute to the formation and development of the new generation of ecumenical leaders, those who will carry on the rich heritage of the council and will contribute to forge the new ecumenical paradigm in this 21th century,” he said.
Held under the theme “Affirming an ecumenism of concrete gestures” the assembly gathered 136 delegates and over 400 participants for an immersion into the Cuban ecumenical context.
Besides the reports about the work being done over the last years and the decision-making processes, participants had the opportunity to know about different projects supported by the Cuban Council of Churches and its partners.