"A majority of people there did not know the [COREM] history, but as they heard the various people sharing the stories, they discovered the passion and the vision that was there in the early 1980s," says the Rev. Héctor López, Central Pacific Conference Minister.
By J. Bennett Guess
Editor, United Church News
Not since 1992 have members of the UCC’s racial and ethnic constituencies had an opportunity to come together, in large numbers, to discuss the denomination’s common mission and the church’s future direction, especially as it impacts people of color.
But from July 15 to 17, about 250 people attended the 2004 convocation of the UCC’s Council for Racial and Ethnic Ministries (COREM) in Chicago, where participants relished the diversity of cultures represented and challenged the UCC to stay true to its stated multiracial, multicultural commitments.
"Probably the most valuable thing that happened was our coming together at this point in the church’s history, during a very tough, complex time for the church," says Carol A. Brown, incoming president of United Black Christians, who chaired the convocation’s planning committee. "It was an opportunity to learn from other people’s customs and traditions, and I think we accomplished that."
Created by General Synod 14 in 1983, COREM provides a place where the UCC’s racial and ethnic groups can collaborate and develop a common agenda regarding the mission life of the church and advocate for racial/ethnic concerns within the UCC. In its decision-making capacity, COREM is comprised of 10 persons who meet regularly and advise the denomination on racial/ethnic matters. At the table, two persons represent each of five groups: the Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM), Council for Hispanic Ministries (CHM), Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice (MRSEJ), Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministry (PAAM) and United Black Christians (UBC).