March and April negotiations came to fruition with the creation of a GNRC-Guatemala Acting Committee. GNRC presence in this country is firmly supported by the Guatemalan Ecumenical Council and its Secretary General Rev. Vitalino Similox, who convened the first meeting with this goal, together with Mercedes Román, GNRC Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. Preliminary negotiations for this meeting benefitted from the unconditional support of Rev. Carlos Tamez of CLAI, who has extensive work experience and ecumenical relations in the Mesoamerican region.
GNRC dialogue and relations previously established with regional level institutions such as CELAM, CLAI and the Bahá’í Community, have also borne fruits; in the case of Guatemala their national chapters are present on the new Committee.
The organizations which have formally agreed to join GNRC-Guatemala are: The National Family Pastoral Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, Episcopal Church of Guatemala, CLAI Native Pastoral Services, Bahá’í Community of Guatemala, Christian Ecumenical Council of Guatemala, YMCA-Young Men’s Christian Association of Guatemala, Parrish of San Cristobal Jutiapa, Ecumenical Center for Pastoral Integration – CEIPA, Evangelical Church of Saint John Apostle, Kaqchikel Presbytery. The new Committee has also committed to incorporating other institutions and to seek out the participation of other religious communities such as the Jewish and Muslim communities.
The new committee in a Mesoamerican country with a strong native cultural heritage, was born with the express commitment by its members to make special efforts toward Ethical Education, raising awareness and promoting children’s’ rights, in the context of the Convention and of the Day of Prayer and Action for Children, and incorporating into interfaith dialogue the richness of native spirituality, which was discussed and reaffirmed during the first meeting.
The Committee coordination is in the hands of the Ecumenical Council of Guatemala, through Ismael Mendez. The committee has begun preparations to carry out its first Ethical Education workshop.