Moving toward… Colombia!
Shantha READY ALONSO
Plans are underway for the August 2014 General Assembly in Columbia. In the 2012 meeting of the Executive Committee in Berlin, we added Columbia advocacy and solidarity as a programmatic focus in the WSCF Strategic Plan, at the recommendation of the WSCF Advocacy and Solidarity Committee (ASC). The ExCo also decided to hold our next General Assembly (GA) in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Region, as it is the region’s turn in our “regional rotation” system and the LAC Region enthusiastically invited us to come. The original suggestion was made for Mexico, and upon further reflection and discussion, the region suggested that we hold our Assembly in Colombia, in part as a tangible sign of our commitment to support genuine peace with justice in Colombia.
WSCF Chairperson Horacio Mesones, General Secretary Christine Housel, and Latin America and Caribbean Regional Secretary Marcelo Leites made their first visit to Columbia in July 2013, accompanied by WSCF senior friend and ASC member Chris Ferguson, who is currently living in Columbia. The group met with the SCM, churches, and church agency partners. All expressed welcome and support, and confirmed that it is a timely moment for an international ecumenical meeting in Colombia. The country is going through political peace talks as well as new levels of development and there is much to uphold and affirm, much to challenge, much to learn from the changes in the country. Our partners were eager to support our preparations, both in planning and in sharing stories of their work as an input into deliberations about WSCF’s role in mission, peace and justice advocacy, and development. We hope to bring visibility and support to the work for peace and justice in Colombia with the General Assembly’s presence there.
The agenda of this October’s global Executive Committee meeting in Seoul, South Korea will be focused primarily on planning for the General Assembly, knowing that this Assembly is important for the life and future of the WSCF. We will discuss the Assembly’s content and how to prepare the GA in a participatory way throughout the coming year. We will also count on the SCMs to make the GA financially feasible in these strained times for ecumenical organizations. In the WSCF General Assembly planning and preparation, the global staff will also promote the We are the Federation communication campaign, endorsed by the Executive Committee in Berlin. This campaign’s goal is to engage SCMers in developing an understanding of and opportunity to partake in the global community of the WSCF.
The ExCo meeting will be in conjunction with the World Council of Churches Assembly and with the peace and justice work of SCM Korea. This WCC Assembly is an important moment in the ecumenical community as global Christianity is shifting into new ways of being, and we all need to use these opportunities to think about how to move forward, together. The WCC Assembly also offers an important space for WSCF to lead in and to share the importance of our mission with the churches and ecumenical partners.
Stay tuned for more updates!