“Ven Espíritu y llénanos” sang conference attendees during the opening plenary session of Caminemos Juntos: North America, held August 4-6 at Rancho Hills Church in San Diego, CA. “Come Holy Spirit and fill us,” a verse from one of the songs written as part of the pre-conference United Adoration songwriters retreat. By the second line of the song everyone was singing as if they done so a hundred times before. Quickly it became the conference anthem and a summary of what the Holy Spirit was doing in our midst.
“Caminemos Juntos is more than a conference, It’s a family gathering,” said Archbishop Tito Zavala in one of his Bible studies from the book of Acts in which he highlighted the rich koinonia enjoyed each year. As the name Caminemos Juntos (“Let’s Walk Together”) suggests, this movement brings together a rich diversity of cultures, countries, ethnicities and languages (English, Spanish and some Portuguese!) under one common mission and purpose. This years' attendees came from Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, USA, Canada and Brazil (Recife). Additionally there were leaders from African-American and Anglo-American backgrounds and immigrants or children of immigrants currently living in the US originally from Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Uruguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, Spain and the Philippines among other countries.
Bishop Miguel Uchoa from the diocese of Recife in Brazil in his address gave an overview of the conference theme “MOVER,” an acronym based on Acts 2:41-47 which means both “move” and “movement” and whose letters stand for Multiplication, Oración Prayer), Verdad Bíblica (Biblical Truth), Espíritu Santo (Holy Spirit) and Renovación (Renewal). He spoke of Caminemos Juntos' desire to see a new move of God in the Americas resulting in the planting of churches through the continent.
Archbishop Foley, during his plenary address, charged the movement to commit to a deeper life of prayer, leading us in a Bible study throughout the book of Acts which brought home the fact that “prayer was like breathing” for the early apostles.
Some other highlights from this year:
· 2 youth dedicated their lives to Christ during the youth track of the conference (New Generation) which brought together more than 30 youth and leaders from around the country.
· 10 Spanish language songs were written during the Adoremos Juntos/United Adoration songwriters retreat which will be recorded in September and taken to the Caminemos Juntos gathering to be held in Chile at the end of September to be used to encourage worship throughout the Americas.
· Seeds of a new congregation were sown across the border in Tijuana, Mexico during a pre-conference cross-border vision and prayer trip.
· The Anglican Immigrant Initiative sponsored a workshop around the topic “Engaging Immigrants as the Local Church.”
This was Caminemos Juntos sixth annual conference for North America. Additionally Caminemos Juntos has held two Mexico specific conferences with the next one to be held in May of 2017. In September of this year, Caminemos Juntos, in partnership with the Anglican Church of Chile and the Diocese of Recife, is hosting the first gathering for all the Americas.
Next year Caminemos Juntos: North America will meet in conjunction with and as a part of the ACNA provincial assembly to be held June 28-30th, 2017 in Wheaton, IL.