The recently concluded Members’ Mission Forum (MMF) of the Council for World Mission (CWM) Caribbean region was challenged to consider whether the church would be more faithful to its roots as a movement than as an institution. The charge was delivered by Rev. Norbert Stephens, General Secretary of The United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI), to the gathering of participants from the member churches in the region in Georgetown, Guyana March 10-13, 2019.
In a keynote presentation on the topic, ‘Mission in an Age of Uncertainty’, Norbert Stephens, noted that “the human temptation to institutionalize and to standardize is often more for control and power than for efficiency and purpose”, and encouraged participants to consider that missional church in a changing environment meant a shift from a paradigm “which no longer satisfies”. Calling on the church to re-imagine itself in this post-modern age, the UCJCI General Secretary suggested that the church use symbols and liturgies with clear meaning, effective tools in communicating the gospel and “resist the temptation to defend and preserve symbols and methods which ensure maintenance and perseveration of denominational identity at the cost of renewing and transforming lives”.
Over four days representatives from Guyana Congregational Union (GCU) and UCJCI met for worship, discussion and mission planning. Among the celebrations noted by both member churches is the vitality of youth ministry. The importance of being responsive to the situations of injustice faced by human beings was reaffirmed. It is anticipated that the two member churches will work together with CWM in addressing issues of concern identified locally and globally. Significant time was also spent engaging in CWM’s Strategic planning and review process.