Caribbean Missional Imperatives

Caribbean existence has been saddled with the inherent social, geographical, economic, and political challenges of poverty, fragmentation, dependence, and unemployment. These challenges have in more recent times been aggravated by surges of cultural miscegenation, moral and ethical relativism, family re-alignments, the atomization of society in various and subtle modes of institutional, industrial, and civic arrangements. As if to make matters worse, the general ability of Caribbean peoples to resist the challenges that have just been outlined, Caribbean societies in general have been saddled with nefarious increases in crime, the drug culture, diseases from abroad, health disparities, unequal distribution of wealth and access to self-sustaining means of existence, rising un-employability due to skill-deficits, decreasing avenues for emigration, diminishing remittances from abroad, and the surges of deported criminal elements from Northern countries. Each of these challenges demand in-depth study and urgent attention by churches throughout the Caribbean region. In the meantime however, the Mission of the Church is to face these human challenges as best it can, and to develop an Action Plan to be adopted by various diocesan and regional judiciaries. The following Action Plan therefore seeks to respond to the Imperatives for Mission inherent in the faithful proclamation of, and witness to, the Gospel of Jesus Christ for such a time as this:

ONE: Effective pastoral and practical ministries to the sick, the shut-ins, the aging and infirmed members of our churches. These ministries should be in partnerships with those institutions and agencies that are specifically established to bring healing and hope to the millions of our people who suffer patiently and quietly, without much professional guidance and assistance.

TWO: The establishment of programs and projects for Civility Training especially for our younger generations. These patterns of training and formation are essential for the rearing of men and women who are the future parents, leaders, and shapers of the society.

THREE: Programs for the development of Transformational Leadership through our civic and ecclesial institutions. The patterns of leadership development have tended to be more incidental than intentional. The Church has an important obligation to engage in the creative ways of leadership formation that will bring about the positive transformation in homes, families, schools, and other places of social and civic gathering.

FOUR: There can be no question that Social Media is here to stay. There is abundant evidence that it has already made a significant difference to modes of information and communication, and not always for the better. The Church has an opportunity to become more purposefully engaged in participating in Social Media in ways that will not only guide its membership in the responsible uses and functions, but also in effectively producing the kinds of functions that will re-orient the value of these facilities towards the proclamation of the Gospel in multiple ways of engagement.

FIVE: The political climate in the region is obviously in need of improvement, especially if it is to provide measurable benefits for the peoples of the region. The Church has a basic obligation to provide courageously, and prophetically, the kinds of ethical critiques that will correct and hopefully enhance the programs, policies and projects that bring hope and health to those who most need it, rather than merely to those who are on the “right side” of the political spectrum.

SIX: In order to bring greater strength to the efforts of those groupings in society that are engaged in social development, the CPWI should become more active in establishing socio-economic partnerships with such agencies and organizations that are committed to the highest values of human growth and development. There are innumerable resources and gifts at the disposal of, and under the governance of the church, that could readily be linked with other extra-ecclesial resources (particularly with human capital), that all strengthen the ministry to the poor, the marginalized, and the dispossessed.

SEVEN: The CPWI should once again take the lead in engaging in Ecumenical Partnerships wherever possible, not merely for the broadening of the Christian presence in society, but more particularly for the deepening of the means of spiritual enrichment and moral formation of the broad masses of our people who generally believe that organized religion is not geared towards their highest, noblest, and most productive well-being. A most urgent and important imperative has to consist in the fact that the church itself believes, and seeks to demonstrate in multiple and creative ways and works that the will of God is to bring life to all, and to bring it in all of its fullness (John 10:10).

 

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