Christian conference strengthened ecumenism in Asia: world council official
By Matters India Reporter
Yangon: A top official of the World Council of Church says the diamond jubilee of the Christian Conference of Asia is an occasion to celebrate the ecumenical movement in the continent.
The Asian conference is “a vibrant and living forum of continuing cooperation among the Churches and national Christian bodies” in the continent within the framework of the wider ecumenical movement, says Reverend Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches.
He was speaking at a function on October 15 at Yangon, Myanmar, to celebrate the 60 year of the CCA.
“You are participating in the mission of God in Asia – and you are working for the benefit of the wider world,” Reverend Tveit told more than 6,000 people from various parts of the world who attended CCA diamond jubilee.
“The 60th anniversary celebration is an occasion for both (CCA) and the global ecumenical movement to celebrate our common ecumenical commitment in Asia,” he added.
An anniversary, he added, is “a benchmark on the road, a place to pause and to reflect, but not to stop. It is significant the theme begins with a description of the past that also points to the way forward.”
“You have been journeying together, and you are ready to move forward together. This is also the literary meaning of mission: To be sent, to move forward, out there, with the people, where God is present as creator, savior, and life giver. That is where we shall reflect the light of God,” he stressed.
“CCA was founded to find new ways to pursue the mission and the unity of the Church in Asia.
“Mission is our common work, our joint witness, it is God’s mission. It is a response to the call to preach and show that the Kingdom of God is near. It is a journey together to live in reconciliation between God and us, between us, and to share the call to reconciliation. The qualities of these relationships are the expressions of the Kingdom of God; the relationships developed among us should carry the values of justice and peace,” the WCC general secretary said.
The occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the CCA is a celebration that reminds all the historic formation of the vital heart of ecumenism in Asia, he said.
“There are so many forces dividing human beings, but also Christians. It has been an era of profound contradictions, tensions, divisions, even conflicts and wars. There are so many powers and interests that are driving Christians apart that are breaking down the bonds of fellowship, the qualities of relations among Christians. In this context we need to work together to achieve the goal of ecumenism and the ecumenical movement,” Tveit added.
“The world and Asia are in great need of another vision for the future than pursuing only their own interests or building closed units based on political, economic or traditional privileges. We do not need unity that is exclusive, that makes the diversity among us to walls of separation, of conflict, even a motivation for violence. Ethnic, national, political and religious identities are used to define who is included and who is excluded. We have to remember that we all have a mixture of roles, relations, and identities,” he said.
In his welcoming address, CCA general secretary recollected WCC’s role at the 1957 Prapat Conference in Indonesia and the participation of its the then general secretary Reverend Willem A. Visser’t Hooft.
“WCC’s accompaniment and support to the formation of the erstwhile East Asia Conference of Asia (EACC), the forerunner of CCA, opened a new chapter in ecumenical and ecclesiastical history as it was the first time that the WCC would play a significant role in the formation of a regional ecumenical organization”.
CCA was the first regional ecumenical organization founded in the world in 1957.