CCA e- Letter- 24/3/11

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ – Japan still takes center stage in our prayers these days. The CCA Office receives updates from members in Japan. Rev. Songwan Hong, General Secretary of the Korean Christian Church in Japan said that basic commodities for refugees are in short supply, and there is serious lack of gas for heating and transportation that consequently affects delivery of emergency relief supplies to refugees. Aftershocks are still felt in the in areas of East Japan. In addition, the nuclear crisis adds to the fear of the spread of radiation and its after-effects. Many church members had to stay in shelters in order to receive food and relief materials. Some churches in Sendai have been seriously damaged. In a CCA Pastoral Letter to the members in Japan released last week, I mentioned that contributions to the emergency relief work of NCC Japan can be channeled through the CCA Emergency Fund account in Hong Kong. I entreat you, friends and colleagues in the ecumenical movement, to continue supporting Japan with ardent prayers as well as financial resources. We need each other especially at this time of despair and fear. Here again is our bank details:

Account name: Christian Conference of Asia Bank: Hang Seng Bank Branch: Hankow Road (4 Hankow Road Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China) Account No.: 295-4–709594 Account Type: Multi-Currencies Account Swift Code: HASEHKHH

The Rev. Claudia Genung Yamamoto, NCC Japan International Churches Liaison officer, in a recent email shared that

“The news from many sources contradicts itself. Worrying will not change things but we can be comforted to realize that we are not alone just as Jesus was never without God in the desert – we, too, have God with us. Lent is a journey and this year is no exception but more a journey than we ever expected or realized. However, we journey towards the cross, the tomb, the empty tomb, and the risen Christ.”

Let us remain faithful in accompanying each other in the journey, for indeed we are assured that God journeys with us. The CCA General Committee (GC) Meeting The GC meeting on March 7-9, 2011, took place here in Chiang Mai. The GC spent time to understand the mandate of the KL Assembly, and adopted the Vision and Mission statement and Goals for 2011-2015 based on the mandate of the Assembly, including the CCA Program Thrusts for 2011-2015. It was emphasized that CCA member churches and councils shall be actively involved in the implementation of the mandates of CCA by integrating them in their own programs, especially on issues that are relevant to the context of their ministries. This strategy is expected to strengthen the sense of ownership of CCA members, and facilitate the effective development, implementation and better integration of CCA programs. The GC also adopted the budget for 2011, subject to review in June 2011 if necessary. In the midst of tight financial conditions, it was strongly felt that strict budgetary control needs to be undertaken. The GC also spent time to discuss the recommendations of the CCA Review Process undertaken in 2008-2010, and specifically discussed the recommendations of ecumenical partners on this matter. Some of the recommendations from the CCA Review have constitutional implications. There is thus a need for a constitutional and structural review. The GC formed the Constitutional and Structural Review Committee to address this concern. Prior to the GC meeting, the CCA Round Table meeting with ecumenical partners took place on March 4-5, 2011, also in Chiang Mai, Thailand. CCA partners who participated are from the Church of Scotland, Bread for the World, Evangelisches Entwicklungsdienst c.V. (EED), ICCO-Kerk in Actie, United Church of Canada, Foundation for Theological Education in South East Asia (FTE), National Council of Churches in Australia – Act for Peace, Evangelisches Missionswerk in Deutschland (EMW), Church of Sweden, Global Ministries, and the Christian Church (DOC)-United Church of Christ. The CCA Officers, Executive Committee members and staff were also part of the meeting. We live in a time of transition, a time of challenges. We are challenged to work within the limited resources that we have, hopefully without sacrificing the quality of CCA’s work and losing our sense of direction. This situation urges us to develop effective policies and strategies that enhance our efforts to accompany the churches in responding to Asian struggles. It encourages us to consistently do what we say. It may push us to take painful decisions for the sake of CCA. It requires us, especially staff, to be more flexible and realistic about what we can do and cannot do. At the same time, it provides opportunities for us to build and strengthen our network and collaborative efforts with those who share our priorities. Above all, this challenge reminds us to have faith in God and in ourselves that together we come out of this situation wiser, humbled and found faithful to our calling to be prophets, healers and reconcilers. The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) Meets in Chiang Mai Fifty members and partners of EAA participated in the HIV Consultation in Chiangmai Grandview Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand on March 20-22, 2011. Majority of the participants came from the host country, Thailand, especially from Chiang Mai. CCA is a member of EAA, and the former General Secretary Dr. Prawate Khid-arn is a member of its Board of Directors. There was one new member from Asia, the National Council of Churches in India and one re-application for membership from The Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT). The staff members of The Church of Christ in Thailand AIDS Ministry (CAM) participated in full force and helped in the organization of the HIV Consultation. Consultation participants divided in four groups participated in the local worship services on March 20. The aims of the consultation were to strengthen the Christian advocacy on HIV of members and to discover how members are working on the theme: “Live the Promise” particularly on the framework for Action (2009-2012): • Addressing the root causes of vulnerability to HIV • Achieving Universal Access • Eliminating stigma and discrimination • Ensuring accountability and sufficient resources. The consultation formally began with welcome greetings from CCA given by Mr. Carlos Ocampo on my behalf, and from the CCT given by Rev. Prawate Khid-arn on behalf of Rev. Sayam Muangsak, General Secretary of CCT. The Opening Worship was led by the staff of CAM. Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, United Church of Christ (USA) and member of the EAA Strategy Group on HIV lit the Christ candle. Dr. Prawate Khid-arn, a Board Member of the EAA gave the reflection and the red ribbon was presented by Rev. Sanan Wutti. The opening plenary on March 20 was on the Global Response to HIV and AIDS – Where we (EAA) are and where we need to go now. Those who presented were: Mr. Steve J. Kraus, Director, UNAIDS, Regional Support Team – Asia Pacific, Dr. Jean-Louis Lamboray, Chair, Constellation for AIDS Competence, Rev. Johannes Petrus Mokgethi-Heath, Acting Executive Director , INERELA+, and Dr. Erlinda N. Senturias, Consultant of HIV and AIDS of CCA. Mr. Kraus shared the vision of “Zero New Infections”, “Zero discrimination” and “Zero AIDS-related Death” in a world where there are more than 33 million people living with HIV. Dr. Jean-Louis shared the success of HIV prevention in Phayao, in Northern Thailand using the constellation approach of building AIDS competency in the village level. Rev. J. P. Heath shared the SAVE approach towards the prevention of HIV promoted by INERELA. This involves Safe Practices, Access to Treatment, Voluntary Counseling and Empowerment instead of the usual ABC approach (Abstinence, Be faithful, and Condom use) that focuses only on sex. Dr. Senturias presented the faith-based responses to HIV in Asia that has around five million people living with HIV to date. The continuing challenge is to harness the potential of faith-based communities in building inner and outer competencies on HIV, rights based approach to programming, theology and HIV and securing a safe space for dialogue on HIV and Human Sexuality. Four case studies were presented: The Christian AIDS Bureau for Southern Africa (Inviting Channels of Hope Facilitators on a Gender Journey presented by Ms. Lyn Van Rooyen; World Association of Christian Communicators (Eliminating stigma and discrimination in Ghana) presented by Ms. Lavinia Mohr; Christian Aid (Promoting the SAVE Approach in Sierra Leone) presented by Ms. Winnie Sseruma; and National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) (Light a Lamp – Pledge for Rights) presented by Mr. Christopher Rajkumar, Executive Secretary for the Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation of NCCI. Mr. Rajkumar presented the poster for Easter: Stigma Nailed and Life Celebrated – a campaign that will start beginning this Lenten period in churches in India. The participants were divided into three groups to visit: “My Story” organized by CAM, a Buddhist monastery to learn about another faith response to HIV and to The Thai Government’s Care Center for children affected by HIV. On March 22, there were group discussions to identify priorities for joint action within the “Live the Promise” Campaign Framework and simultaneous group sessions on three areas of concerns of the EAA: Strengthening religious leadership in the response to HIV facilitated by Ruth Foley, HIV Campaign Coordinator, EAA; Deepening theological reflection on human rights and HIV facilitated by Peter Prove, Executive Director, EAA; and Improving faith-based advocacy on access to medicines facilitated by David Deakin, Tearfun UK and Chair of the EAA Pharma Working Group. During lunch time, there was an introductory session to the Global Fund led by Michael O’Connor and after lunch, Dawn Foderingham led in building shared advocacy capacity on Plenary on actions for the United Nations General Assembly 2011, and an input from World Vision by Stuart Kean of World Vision UK and Ruth Foley of EAA. A one- day capacity building workshop on Accessing the Global Fund on March 23 was also held. (with news from Erlinda Senturias) NCCP ready to start their program on HIV The Rev. Fr. Rex R. B. Reyes invited Dr. Erlinda N. Senturias on February 14 to help the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) start conceptualizing and fast tracking the HIV Ministry of NCCP this year. With the rise in the incidence of HIV especially in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Davao City and Olongapo City, NCCP would like to engage in direct services for the key affected population, among them the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). Physical bases will be opened up to welcome key affected population to share their stories and get help from experts. Networking and linkages will be established with the St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Center in Hong Kong. The Anglican Center is actively helping in the HIV education and empowerment of the migrant workers in Hong Kong. There is also the interest in building the inner competence of the Member Churches to respond to the theological, ethical, human rights, prophetic and pastoral challenges of HIV for the faith communities. Young people and women will be given initial training on building HIV competency. Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes will lead in writing the theological basis for the HIV ministry of NCCP. Ms. Darlene Marquez-Caramanzana attended the HIV Consultation of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance at the Chiangmai Grandview Hotel on March 19-22. Mr. Ariel Siagan of the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF), a participant in one of the HIV workshops conducted by CCA in New Delhi on November 2008, is now part of the staff team that will help in the HIV Ministry. (with news from Erlinda Senturias) Peace advocates planning meeting The Working Committee of the Interfaith Cooperation Forum met at the Brokenshire Convention Center in Davao City, Philippines on February 7 to 9, 2011. Composed of Max Ediger and Bruce Voorhis from ICF, Kohei Yamada from the Asia Pacific Alliance of YMCAs, and Charlie Ocampo from CCA, National (country) Coordinators Hor Hen, Cambodia; Umi Farida, Indonesia; Ait Bahadur Tumbahangphe, Nepal; Nor Samad, Philippines; and Pornpimon Ponprom, Thailand. The different roles of the ICF national coordinators and working committee members were discussed with the national coordinators being responsible for ICF activities within their countries and the working committee members focusing on ICF programs throughout the region. The role of the ICF national coordinators was further defined as holding one or two meetings annually with other SOP alumni and planning and organizing activities in their countries with them, expanding the ICF network in their countries and recommending SOP alumni in their countries for ICF internships. Possible workshops for 2011 discussed at the meeting include a writing workshop to produce a book on indigenous spirituality, a similar writing workshop on the topic of Justpeace education for children and youth and other workshops on faith and gender, how to initiate interfaith dialogue and conducting media campaigns and producing documentaries. CCA runs a School for Peace Advocates in the Churches, a week-long workshop and exposure but also recommends peace advocates to the ICF for longer training period and in efforts at strengthening the role of Muslims, Buddhists and other faith traditions in peace building. Immediately following the Davao Meeting, Charlie Ocampo met with the Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in the Philippines; and Ms Carmencita Karagdag, Coordinator, Peace for Life Foundation, to discuss future collaboration with CCA on peace and human rights. (with news from Charlie Ocampo) The 2011 Asia Sunday The Worship Resource Guide is now out and can be accessed from the CCA website – We request that this material be promoted and circulated further for wider reach. May God bless our desire to be healers! Yours in Christ,


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