Nearly at the end of the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI in Spanish), taking place in Panama City from February 19-25, the Reverend Israel Batista resigned from his position as Secretary General. Also resigning along with the Rev. Batista, were Regional Secretaries Jairo Barriga (Caribbean), Eduardo Chinchilla (Central America), Elizabeth Salazar (Andes), Program Coordinators Angel Luís Rivera (FES) and Carlos Tamez (Environment), and Administrative Director Acacia Gualán. After reading their joint letter of resignation, those resigning left the meeting without any willingness to discuss their decision.
According to trustworthy sources, the motives for the resignations have to do with an administrative management conflict in the work CLAI was developing.
Concerning the future of CLAI, its President, Bishop Julio Murray, asks for the continuing trust of the member churches and ecumenical organizations. “It is a difficult moment. We affirm CLAI’s direction, maintaining the same organization and programs, just as we have been developing them up until the present moment. The different work groups (youth, women, national teams, etc.) will continue to mark the pulse of the life of CLAI,” assures the letter sent to the member churches by the Board of Directors which was elected a year ago in CLAI’s Assembly held in Buenos Aires.
The Board of Directors has unanimously elected the Reverend Nilton Giese as Interim General Secretary of CLAI, and a transition team made up of Bishop Murray (President), Bishop Mauricio Andrade (Brazil), the Rev. Viviana Pinto (Río de la Plata), Bishop Isaías Ramos (Mesoamérica), the Rev. Emilio Aslla Flores (Andes), and Carlos Gómez (Greater Colombia and the Caribbean.
In the letter from the Board of Directors, Bishop Murray thanks the Rev. Israel Batista and the other secretariat members for their work and dedication to CLAI. “God bless you with his love and grace,” he says.