The Caribbean and North American Area Council, a regional expression of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) to which the Christian Reformed Church in North America belongs as an ecumenical partner, met last month in Georgetown, Guyana, for its general assembly. Colin Watson, director of ministries and administration for the CRC, participated on behalf of the denomination and was elected to the council’s steering committee as deputy convener. Serving until the next assembly in three years’ time, the steering committee keeps regional partners connected and works on planning the next gathering.
“Having an international understanding of the region and having spent my adult life in the United States, I think it gives me a little bit of a unique perspective of what some of the needs of both areas might be and what are some of the areas of sharing,” Watson said of why he agreed to let his name stand for the position. Nine candidates put forth by the nominating committee were all elected to the steering committee.
While in Georgetown from October 25 to 30, delegates to the assembly worshiped together, took part in immersive experiences of ministry in the Guyanese context, and held four themed plenaries from the WCRC’s established priorities. Watson led gathered delegates in devotions one morning, using three passages of Scripture to explore themes of mutual understanding, peace, and unity. “As we talk about churches participating together, I think those are three key attributes that we need to continue to keep in mind,” he said.
Watson was born in Guyana and first came to the United States in 1970 to attend university. The October trip was his third opportunity to return to Guyana. He described being struck by the similarities of ministry despite the fact that different contexts encompass different physical needs. “I could say that I’ve seen similar kinds of action and reaction in the United States, in some of our urban areas, and I’ve seen the same thing in Africa—in terms of the spiritual needs of the people and the responses of the people,” Watson said. “It really brought home the idea that all ministry is local.”
The Caribbean and North American Area Council has held three assemblies since the formation of WCRC in 2010. The communion was formed by the joining of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council. At the conclusion of this gathering, the council issued a message to its member churches.
In addition to his new role on the steering committee, Watson serves on the boards of two other ecumenical organizations: the National Association of Evangelicals and Christian Churches Together; and on the board of Sojourners, a Christian social justice organization that publishes a monthly magazine of the same name.