With the overarching theme focusing on God’s assurance and divine grace of healing, peace, and security in the ‘new normal’ context, the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) has finalised its programmes for the year 2021.
The year’s events and activities will be based on the theme ‘Affirming God’s healing for peace and security’, which is derived from Jeremiah 33:6—“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace with security.” The planned activities will focus on a variety of issues and analyse the impacts on Asian churches and communities in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
The General Secretary of the CCA, Dr Mathews George Chunakara, said, “‘Affirming God’s healing for peace and security’ has been selected as the general theme of the year as it reflects God’s divine grace for healing and sustained peace in which humanity’s collective actions will be needed to restore the brokenness of this world. Although the pandemic wrought global suffering, we have prevailed with resilience and are now called upon to be channels of healing and peace. The work to be done is laid clearly in front of us, despite the challenges being many.”
“All our programmatic concerns for the year 2021 will be anchored in the message of God’s divine grace and assurances for healing—healing not just from the medical perspective, but also from the psychological, social, and economic damage caused by the pandemic. When we affirm God’s healing for peace and security, we are empowered into action to fulfil God’s promise of the wholeness and abundance of life for all people. It is imperative that we design our ‘new normal’ world based on the principles of peace with justice, and security,” stated Mathews George Chunakara.
“The CCA vows to be at the forefront of such efforts and aims to enable all its member churches and councils to better serve people and communities in the ‘new normal’ era,” said the CCA General Secretary.
To ensure that justice and fairness are addressed and incorporated as the world begins to rebuild in the aftermath of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the CCA’s major programme areas—Mission in Unity and Contextual Theology, Ecumenical Leadership Formation and Ecumenical Spirituality, Building Peace and Moving Beyond Conflict, and Prophetic Diakonia and Advocacy—will organise programmes on health and healing, mission in unity, human rights, women and child rights, interreligious dialogue, and artificial intelligence, among others.
Major programmes planned and scheduled for 2021 include: International Consultations on ‘Mission and Evangelism in the New Normal Era’, ‘Artificial Intelligence and Post-Humanism: Theological and Ethical Challenges’, ‘Emerging Trends in Religious Freedom in the context of Religious Minorities in Asia’, ‘Economic Impact of COVID-19 and Increasing Human Trafficking’, ‘Health and Healing in the Context of the Impact of COVID-19’, ‘Situation of Asian Diaspora Migrants in Arabian Gulf in the post-COVID-19 era’, ‘Upholding the Dignity and Rights of Children in a ‘New Normal’ Era’, ‘Changing Family Values in Tradition and Modernity in Asia’; Capacity-building Training on HIV and AIDS Advocacy; the annual Asian Ecumenical Institute (AEI); regional and sub-regional programmes and seminars on ‘Ecumenical Women’s Action Against Violence’; week-long training in human rights and peace and conflict resolutions such as ‘Institute on Human Rights’, ‘Young Ambassadors for Peace in Asia’ (YAPA); Youth Leadership Development Training Programmes at national levels; and Contextual Theology Training for Faculties of Theological Institutions and Church Leaders in Burmese Refugees Theological Institutions.
Given the international travel restrictions which are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CCA has decided to continue with its adoption of the virtual format for its consultations and programmes. However, depending on the improvement of the COVID-19 recovery situation, in-person programmes may be conducted only in the latter half of the year.
Preparations are also underway for the CCA’s 15th General Assembly, slated for early 2022. The General Assembly will focus on the theme, ‘God, Renew Us in Your Spirit and Restore the Creation’.
The CCA’s Calendar of Programmes and Activities for 2021 can be found here.