Caribbean and North American consultation, call of Accra Confession more important than ever

For Caribbean and North American consultation, call of Accra Confession more important than ever

A Caribbean and North American consultation on the 10th anniversary of the Accra Confession concluded that “in the ten years since the Accra Confession was adopted, nothing much has changed.”

World Communion of Reformed Churches/ALC
Saturday, March 29, 2014

BY PHIL TANIS

Ocho Rios

The Accra Confession, a prophetic statement on economic and environmental justice, was created in 2004 by the then World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC). WARC has since become a part of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC).

The consultation’s open letter presented to Caribbean and North American church leaders also stated that “many of the economic, ecological, social and political realities have deteriorated and become deeply entrenched” and called for a renewed “spiritual engagement against evil” in the world.

“The Accra Confession was developed not as an ideological piece to present a particular social ideology,” said Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the WCRC in comments at the consultation. “It was born out of the anguish of the hearts of people of faith reading the signs of our times and reading the Word of God–and concluding we can do no other.”

“It places demands on us,” said Nyomi. “It is humbling–and we too, churches and church structures, individuals and groups in churches need to acknowledge that we stand in judgement under the claims of faith inherent in this confession. If we are not living out the implications of the Accra Confession we are still part of the problem.”

Leander Warren agreed: “The church needs to be an example of looking into ourselves and see where we have failed and where we may have actually facilitated the evils that we see.”

“The matters the Accra addressed as injustices 10 years ago are still cries we hear even louder and more painfully than before,” said Dora Arce-Valentín, WCRC executive secretary for justice and partnership. “The Accra Confession should be part of what frames our mission as churches because it is a biblically rooted, powerful and prophetic document.”

The consultation on the Accra Confession was held immediately before the joint meeting of the WCRC’s Caribbean and North American Area Council and the Council for World Mission’s Caribbean and North America Council for Mission. Both sets of meetings were held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, from 20-29 March 2014, and were hosted by the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Lisa Vander Wal, a member of the consultation’s writing team, presented the open letter to the joint meeting. She then challenged the participants to engage the letter and confession, asking them what they heard, how their own context intersects, and what concrete steps could be taken.

The consultation itself proposed “three areas of partnership toward justice that can bring action to the tenets we confess in the Accra Confession:” human trafficking; poverty, inequality and unemployment; and seeds for life (agricultural reform).

This was the first of several regional consultations on the Accra Consultation. The consultations are organized by the Justice and Partnership Programme Office of the WCRC in dialogue with the regional councils. For more information, please contact Dora Arce-Valentín: dav@wcrc.eu.