By Matters India Reporter
Yangon: More than 6,000 Christians on Oct 15 attended the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) in Yangon, Myanmar.
Among them, 5,600 participants came from Myanmar and the rest from around the world. A few Catholics from Asia and Myanmar also attended the celebrations.
The diamond jubilee is a “celebration of journeying together of the Asian Churches and all members of the wider ecumenical family and fellowship,” said CCA general secretary Reverend Mathews George Chunakara.
He said the conference is grateful to God as it marks the 60th anniversary of its founding as the first regional ecumenical organization in the world.
The conference was set up in 1957 at Prapat, Indonesia.
The theme, “Journeying Together: Prophetic Witness to the Truth and Light, in Asia,” which was chosen for the Asia Mission Conference that coincided with the diamond jubilee was linked to the role and relevance of the CCA in the Asian context. It resonates with contemporary situation in Asia and in the world, that stressed the hope and trust in God’s promises.
“As the theme resonates with the present realities in Asia, it will be helpful for Asian churches to reflect on the mission and prophetic witness of Asian churches in the midst of many adverse realities, and to emphasize the hope and trust in God’s promises for all God’s people in Asia,” Chunakara said.
CCA has significantly contributed to the nurturing and strengthening of the ecumenical vision and mission in Asia.
In his speech, Chunakara paid great tributes to the founding members of CCA and its successive leaders who have contributed hugely to its growth and urged all to take the conference into greater heights with much dedication.
Speaking on the occasion, Reverend Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), said the CCA is a sign of hope and prayer in the Asian Churches’ commitment to journeying together. WCC, he added, sees CCA as a “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.”
He said journey together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will resonate at the upcoming World Conference on Mission and Evangelism in March 2018 at Arusha, Tanzania.
“Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship” is the theme of that meeting. He said their pilgrimage aims to transform communities, nations and world by bringing to them the prophetic message of hope amid modern complexities.
Another key figure, Bishop Willem T P Simarmata, CCA moderator, said that the diamond jubilee was a reminder for all to work for the transformation and reformation of Churches and society and to bring peace and harmony to the poor and needy.
Mission and dialogue are inseparable. So all have to work for it in collaboration with people of other faiths and religions, he added.
All Churches have to ceaselessly work to spread God’s kingdom in the present grave realities, an official of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences told congress.
The Christian witness is the need of the hour amid adverse situations one faces today, said Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado of Vasai, chairman of the Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the (FABC).
FABC and CCA formalized an agreement to work together in 1995, although cordially and friendly relations dated back to many years before, the Archbishop said.
“Our joint efforts, to promote ecumenism, have been through the Asian Movement for Christian Unity (AMCU); this endeavor has been fruitful in the promotion of ecumenical movement in Asia. Obviously, we still have miles to walk in order to reach the goal, which our Lord has set for us and the Holy Spirit urges us to tread. We have been trying to reactivate the Asia Ecumenical Committee (AEC), which was formed in 1995. May the Spirit always accompany us,” Bishop Machado said.
On behalf of event organizing committee, Kaythi Min Din, Associate General Secretary of Myanmar Council of Churches, shared how hosting CCA’s Diamond Jubilee was a matter of pride and privilege.
Various programs marked the commemoration of the diamond jubilee of the CCA. The participants worshiped in the morning with local Christians in Yangon, held a thanksgiving service and public meeting in the afternoon, a spectacular cultural program in the evening along with a sumptuous dinner. A short video documentary on the CCA history was screened during the event.
The event coincided with the Asia Mission Conference, which began on Oct 11 in Yangon, Myanmar, Buddhist majority country in South East Asia.
Myanmar Baptist Convention and Myanmar Council of Churches organized the CCA jubilee as well as the Asia Mission Conference that ends on October 17.