Cuban theologian will lead Reformed church justice office
Cuban theologian and pastor Dora Arce-Valentin has been appointed to head the Justice and Partnership program of the Geneva-based World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). She will begin her work in January 2012, according to a WCRC news release.
“Dora Arce-Valentin is moving into a key role,” said WCRC General Secretary Setri Nyomi. “Her experience of grassroots ecumenism and her involvement in social justice initiatives give her strong connections to the local contexts of member churches.”
Arce-Valentin will serve for two years as a consultant based in Cuba and spend up to eight weeks per year at the WCRC office in Geneva. She is expected to travel widely to connect with WCRC member churches, the WCRC said.
Arce-Valentin will be working closely with the Justice Network co-moderated by Yueh-Wen Lu of Taiwan and Helis Barraza Díaz of Colombia. “With a spirit of cooperation and respect we will accomplish much that is good and necessary,” Arce-Valentin said in a written response to news of her appointment.
Arce-Valentin was ordained by the Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba following studies at the Evangelical Seminary of Theology in Matanzas. She has a Masters degree in theology from Matanzas and is completing work on a Masters degree in Gender Studies at the University of Havana.
Arce-Valentin began her career as a civil engineer before switching to theology. She has served as a parish pastor and as a teacher at the Evangelical Seminary of Theology of Matanzas.
In reflecting on her priorities for 2012, Arce-Valentin wrote: “We must continue to involve ourselves in efforts to put a brake on the destruction of our planet — both ecological and economic. It will be important as well to make gender issues visible as key components of economic and social justice.”
As a pastor, Arce-Valentin brings a parish-level perspective to her involvement with global ecumenism, saying: “We can’t think of global justice if our own local churches are not a witness to the love which we proclaim and which engenders justice from a biblical perspective.”
The WCRC was created in 2010 through a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council. Its 230 member churches represent 80 million Christians.