27 January 2012
– Member Churches and Councils
– Officers and Members of the General Committee
– Members of the Program Area Committees
– Ecumenical Partners and Friends
Dear Ecumenical friends,
New Year greetings from CCA office in Chiang Mai. We have tasted the wonderful love of God as we all begin the new year of 2012. May the wisdom of God continue to guide us in our life and ministry this year.
Spirit of unity
As Christians around the world celebrate the week of Christian Unity, let us also work and pray for the unity of divided Christian communities and seek to reconcile our differences with the understanding, compassion and forgiveness that Christ taught us in His redeeming love, so that we can become a credible witness of the Gospel in the midst of a fragmented world.
The arrival of the new staff
The year began with feelings of expectations and joy, just as all new years do. New Staff and their families were welcomed to the CCA Chiang Mai family, and the office itself had a new and clean look due to rearrangements in the interior and some routine cleaning.
Towards the end of 2011, the General Committee appointed two CCA Executive Secretaries, namely Rev. Grace Jung-Eun Moon from the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK), as Executive Secretary for Faith, Mission and Unity (FMU), and Ms. Sunila Ammar from the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, as Executive Secretary for Ecumenical Formation, Gender Justice and Youth Empowerment (EGY). As has been planned, both of them have commenced their term of service from 1 January 2012 for four years. In addition, the General Secretary has appointed two Consultants, namely Dr. Alphinus Kambodji from the East Java Protestant Church (GKJW) in Indonesia (for HIV and AIDS Program) and Ms. Susan Jacob from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in India (for Communications). Both of them have also started working from 1 January 2012 for the period of two years. Dr. Kambodji works from Indonesia and Ms. Susan Jacob from Chiang Mai. With Mr. Carlos Ocampo, the present Executive Secretary for Justice, International Affairs and Development and Service (JID) and myself as General Secretary, the composition of Executive Staff team as advised by the General Committee 2011, is complete.
The week of staff planning and community building
The Staff members of the CCA – altogether 15 including support staff – ushered in the New Year with expressions of faith, hope and optimism on the opening day of a week long program on Personnel development, which included sessions like Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of Programs, Finance and Accounting, In-house Management and an overview of Programs planned for the year 2012. The staff worked together to develop a more coordinated and integrated program plan for 2012. This program that was held from 16 – 25 January, included a retreat in a resort not far away from Chiang Mai. The retreat, in a quiet and lovely place, provided a welcome break from office routine, and an opportunity for fellowship, introspection, sharing and team building.
This was followed with a seminar on ‘Child Protection Policy’ – facilitated by Mr. Alastair Muir, from the office of Child Protection of the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT). This was held for all staff as part of staff leadership development, in order to make them aware and sensitive to the increasing incidents of child abuse, a concern that the CCA needs to address in the coming years.
I am glad to share that this program served as an orientation for new members of staff and at the same time, gave an opportunity to collectively evolve a work culture of mutual support and co-operation. It also was an occasion to reaffirm their common commitment to serve the churches in Asia together.
CCA Programs and Activities 2012
The schedule of CCA programs and activities has begun to take shape. You can find the list of some of the major CCA programs in 2012 as well as the involvement of CCA staff in various programs of member churches and councils, and various ecumenical activities during the year in CCA Website. This list is tentative and subject to change, because even though it has been prepared with much discussion and deliberation, this has been projected very early and staff needs to further discuss the plan with the hosting church or council.
You may notice that the General Committee (GC) is scheduled to meet in August 2012 in Taiwan and will be hosted by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. An Asian Church Leaders Theological Consultation addressing “Emerging issues in Asia today” will immediately follow the GC meeting in Taiwan. The series of meetings in Taiwan will culminate with a Thanksgiving Service for the 55th Anniversary of the CCA, in fellowship with the churches in Taiwan.
Prior to that, the Constitutional and Structural Review Committee (CSRC) will meet in March 2012 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Congress of Asian Theologians (CATS VII) will be held in Seoul, Korea, in early July 2012, hosted by the Methodist Theological University.
A conference of Asian Muslim – Christian Religious Leaders is planned to be held in Indonesia in October 2012 initiated by CCA and FABC (Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences) and will be co-hosted by the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Indonesia and the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS) in Jakarta.
A Consultation on Advocacy for Conflict Transformation, focused on Resisting Trafficking and Promoting the Right and Dignity of Children in Asia will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in May 2012, and a Consultation on Ecology, Economy and Accountability: Asian Churches’ Response, will be held in June 2012.
In addition, there are a few capacity building programs that have been planned for this year, such as: School of Peace in Mindanao, Human Rights Training in Nepal, national and regional Asia Ecumenical Course, Youth and Women Leadership Training in Malaysia, Ecumenical Enablers Training in Cambodia and Timor Leste, as well as several sub-regional programs on Mission, HIV &AIDS Concerns, Peace and Justice issues.
Cyclone “Thane” was the strongest tropical cyclone in 2011 to hit the eastern coast of India in December, causing widespread damage to life and property in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. We continue to uphold the victims in our thoughts and prayers.
We mourn the sad demise of Rev. Kang, Young-sup, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) on 21 January 2012. Let us uphold the bereaved family and our Christian brothers and sisters in North Korea in our prayers.
We were delighted to receive Ms. Bern Jagunos, Asia Secretary of the United Church of Canada at CCA Chiang Mai office on 23 January and appreciate her visit as she was the first visitor of the year 2012. We look forward to the visits of ecumenical partners and friends, especially because it creates an opportunity for mutual exchange of information and to strengthen our relationship.
Thank you for your attention and looking forward to your continued support and cooperation.
Henriette Hutabarat Lebang