CWM at UCJCI Convocation 2024: Be rooted in Christ

by Cheon Young Cheol

The United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI) celebrated her 2024 Convocation on 5 May in Montego Bay Convention Centre. The event, themed “Rooted, Resilient: Re-ignited by the Spirit,” was marked by a large turnout of 8,000 people, most of whom were adorned in varying shades of red.

The Convocation was an especially significant event for the church as it marked the first time in six years that it was able host large gatherings.

Rev. Glenroy Clarke, minister of the Lucea United Church, preached to a packed convention hall filled with hearts eager to be touched by the words of God.

Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, General Secretary of the Council for World Mission (CWM), was specially invited by Rev. Norbert Stephens,​ General Secretary of the UCJCI, to grace the event as the guest of honour and to bring CWM’s greetings to the congregation.

Keum highlighted the close relationship between UCJCI and CWM as part of the global ecumenical family with a common purpose to realise God’s vision for the world. He also acknowledged the Caribbean and North America Council for Mission and International University of the Caribbean members who were present as CWM’s steadfast partners in the collective missional journey.

Addressing the event’s theme, Keum emphasised the profound importance of being rooted in God and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform and forge in believers a sense of spiritual resilience in their lives and in mission.

This is especially crucial in a world that is increasingly volatile in the face of financial crises, pandemics, climate disasters, rising levels of injustices and inequalities, geopolitical turmoil, wars and rumours of more wars to come.

“The Caribbean region, especially, has been facing numerous sociopolitical and economic challenges impacting the development and stability of the communities,” Keum pointed out.

“Amidst these numerous challenges that we are facing today, both globally and locally, it is important to be rooted in the values and teachings of Jesus Christ,” said Keum, who further added that a rootedness that is biblically-grounded is foundational for Christian mission and witness.

Keum also exhorted the audience to extend their Christian witness to local communities and engage in deep relationships with one another and with God.

Using the point of being rooted in the local communities, Keum segued into the upcoming CWM Assembly where he highlighted the importance of the event as one that gathers the global churches in mission to not only worship, fellowship, and network with one another but also explore God’s mission in today’s world and the role of CWM in doing God’s mission.

“May God may use this Assembly as a transformative event in the life and mission of CWM, igniting a fire within us, renewing our spirits and empowering us to make a difference in our communities and the world.”

Besides attending the UCJCI Convocation, Keum’s 5-day visit to the Caribbean region from 1-6 May also saw the CWM leader paying visits to notable local dignitaries such as the President of the International University of the Caribbean, Rev. Dr Roderick Hewitt; Rev. Newton Dixon, General Secretary of the Jamaica Council of Churches; and former CWM General Secretary, Rev. Dr Collin Cowan.

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