February 8, 2013
Belated New Year greetings to you. We have begun the year 2013 with our hope in God to accompany us and grant us courage and wisdom to work with churches in Asia and beyond in promoting life, peace and justice for all. We wish you a blessed year in your life and ministry.
We closed our activities in 2012 with a staff meeting from 11-13 December 2012 to evaluate our programs and activities during the year and highlight our Program plan for 2013. As we began the New Year 2013, the first activity we had was a staff meeting from 21-25 January, in which we continued to plan in detail the programs to be held in 2013. We also helped each other in improving our skills for program implementation and financial management. The culmination of the week was a 2 day staff retreat, to reflect on our common call as workers of an ecumenical organization in Asia, seek God’s direction and guidance in our ministries with the churches in Asia, and strengthen our team spirit as CCA staff. The integrated schedule of CCA programs and activities will soon be posted on the CCA website. We are now working on producing the Narrative and Finance Reports of CCA Programs and Activities 2012, which will be sent out to CCA Member Churches and Councils, General Committee and Program Area Committees and Ecumenical Partners. We are very grateful for the cooperation of the Member Churches and Councils and the collaboration of other Ecumenical Organizations. We deeply appreciate the continuous support of Ecumenical Partners which has helped us with our programs and activities in 2012.
The year 2013 is a special year for the churches in Asia as the Assembly of the World Council of Churches is planned to be held in Busan, South Korea from 30 Oct – 8 Nov 2013, the theme of which will be: “God of Life, Lead us to Peace and Justice.” We are grateful to the WCC member churches and National Council of Churches in Korea, who have invited this Assembly to be held in Asia region. This will be the third WCC Assembly to be held in the CCA area of ministry; the first one was the 3rd WCC Assembly at New Delhi in India, in1961, and the second was the 7th WCC Assembly at Canberra in Australia, in 1991. Let us pray for the churches in South Korea as they work hard to host this Assembly. May God strengthen them and grant them the Spirit of unity to work together for the success of this Assembly and for the glory of God. Let us pray for the leadership and the staff of the WCC as they prepare the agenda of the Busan Assembly. Let us also pray for all those who are preparing to participate in this Assembly, especially the delegates from WCC member churches.
In conjunction with the preparation of the WCC Assembly, I was invited to Geneva from 14-15 January 2013 for a preparatory meeting of the Asia Plenary which will be an integral part of the Assembly program. It has been a tradition to have a special plenary session during WCC Assemblies, which provides the opportunity to highlight the issues relevant to the region where the Assembly is held, in the light of the Assembly theme. Further, I was invited by the WCC to join the Team Visit of the leadership and senior staff of WCC to Seoul and Busan from 27- 31 January, 2013. We were able to meet with the WCC member churches in South Korea, National Council of Churches in Korea, Korea Host Committee, President of South Korea and the Mayor of Busan, and church leaders in Seoul and Busan. We also visited the site of the Assembly, namely Busan Exhibition and Conference Center. Let us uphold the preparation of WCC Assembly in our daily prayer.
A prayer on the way to Busan
On the way to Busan, may we humbly walk with you, God of life.
On the way to Busan, guide us as we gather, pray and deliberate as disciples of Christ.
On the way to Busan, lead us in the way of justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
We continue to be concerned with the escalating violence in our communities, especially towards women and children. We were terribly disturbed by the recent incident of the brutal attack and gang rape of a young girl in New Delhi, India and the police action on women and children while they were protesting against POSCO, a multinational giant that threatens to exploit their land and natural resources in Orissa also in India. “How to make our neighborhood, village, town and city secured places for everybody” is becoming a great challenge to all in every community. The government and leadership of the community in each area should give serious attention to this matter; justice should be applied so that peace may prevail. We need to continue to pray for the communities who have recently suffered from natural disasters, particularly the people whose life has been affected by floods in Queensland, Australia, and the severe snow storm in North East USA.
We are saddened by the passing away of three senior ecumenical leaders and former CCA and WCC staff, namely: Rev. Harvey Perkins of Australia on November 25, 2012, Dr. Oh Jae Shik of South Korea on January 3, 2013 and Rev. Tosh Arai of Japan on January 16, 2013. But we are grateful to God for their life and ministries. They have done their best and contributed meaningfully in the life of the churches and the ecumenical movement in Asia and the world. May God continue to comfort and support their beloved families.
God bless us all,
With best regards,
Henriette Hutabarat Lebang
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