Caribbean Conference of Churches
The Caribbean Conference of Churches (CCC) is the regional ecumenical organization formed by churches in the Caribbean. From its inception it has had Roman Catholic membership, through the Antilles Episcopal Conference. Its role is to serve the churches in the cause of unity, renewal and joint action. The CCC is also one of the major development agencies at work in the region today.
The CCC grew out of Christian Action for Development in the Caribbean (CADEC) which later on became one of the two major departments of the CCC. The other was Action for the Renewal of the Churches (ARC). The founding assembly of the CCC took place in 1973, in Kingston, Jamaica. The preamble of its constitution reads: "We, as Christian people of the Caribbean, because of our common calling in Christ, covenant to join together in a regional fellowship of churches for theological reflection, inspiration, consultation, and cooperative action, to overcome the challenges created by history, language, culture, class and distance. We are therefore deeply committed to promoting peace, the holistic development of our people and affirming social justice and the dignity of all persons. We pledge to journey together in Christ and to share our experiences for the strengthening of the kingdom of God in the world."
The churches that make up the CCC represent a vast diversity of people and cultures, spread over many islands and mainland territories of south and central America, and function in four major languages (English, Spanish, French and Dutch). They share their common conviction that, despite the divisiveness of the long colonial heritage, there is an authentic, unifying Caribbean identity through which Caribbean people must articulate God's will for them and make their response to it. Over the years, they have together taken many initiatives in the areas of theology and Christian education, holistic development, youth and women's concerns, family life, human rights, and communications. Some of the most significant achievements of the CCC have been the media channels Contact and Caribbeat, the Caribbean Contact monthly newspaper and the textbook on Christian education Fashion Me a People.
The CCC has brought the Caribbean churches together in the following assemblies:
Kingston (Jamaica) 1973 (Inaugural Assembly)
Georgetown (Guyana) 1977 Working Together with Christ
Willemstad (Curaçao) 1981 Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory
Bridgetown (Barbados) 1986 Jesus Christ: Justice, Hope, Peace
Port of Spain (Trinidad & Tobago) 1991 Participants in God's World - Preserve, Renew, Recreate
Havana (Cuba) 1997 New Vision, New Hope, New Life
Panama City ( Panama) 2005 Healing and Transformation. Given in Christ, Fulfilled Through the Spirit
In 1983, the mandate of the CCC was formulated to include the "promotion of ecumenism and social change in obedience to Jesus Christ and in solidarity with the poor". Since then, the Conference has developed a strategic approach and implemented an integrated programmatic response to the many socio-economic issues and social ills impacting the Caribbean. Among these are endemic poverty, a high incidence of HIV/AIDS infection, drug-trafficking and addiction, and uprootedness as persons move from one territory to another in search of work and a better life. The policy of the CCC is a deeper ecclesial engagement with, and accompaniment of the member churches, through their existing agencies and institutions, and right down to the local congregations. The five major programme initiatives are:
- Priority Regional Initiatives (HIV/AIDS, drugs, violence, family, food, uprooted people)
- Sustainable Socio-economic Development (poverty reduction, project fund, disaster preparedness)
- Advocacy and Communications (public awareness, information, dialogue and exchange)
- International Relations (regional integration, solidarity visits), and cultural affairs.
- The Regional Ecumenical Institute (issues of theology, social justice, development, culture, etc.).
Along with these, the CCC has established a Regional Forum of National Councils of Churches (NCCs), as a space for greater networking of these councils in the region. The Forum has met annually since 2001. The CCC has 33 member churches in 33 countries. Councils of churches may hold the status of associated organizations. The regional office and one of three sub-regional offices of the CCC are located in Trinidad; the other two are in Jamaica and Antigua.
Periodical: Ecuscope Caribbean