CCA Assembly adopts statements on ecumenical responses to emerging concerns and issues

Programme Review and Programme Direction

Two key deliberative sessions during the 15th CCA General Assembly are the Programme Review and Programme Direction sessions.

The Programme Review and Programme Direction sessions will both be conducted in three groups relating to the CCA’s programme areas, namely, (i) General Secretariat (GS), (ii) Mission in Unity and Contextual Theology (MU) and Ecumenical Leadership Formation and Spirituality (EF); and (iii) Building Peace and Moving Beyond Conflicts (BP) and Prophetic Diakonia (PD).

Assembly participants will have the option to join one of three groups for both the Programme Review and Programme Direction sessions. For the sake of coherence, the assigned group will remain the same for both sessions.

General Secretariat

The General Secretariat oversees the coordination of programmatic, administrative, and financial activities of the organization. The GS comprises various departments such as church and ecumenical relations, relations with ecumenical partners, finance, administration, and communications, which provide crucial support and services for the implementation of programs and contribute to the overall functioning of the CCA.

Programmes: Relations with member churches and councils, ecumenical partners; advocacy at the United Nations; ecumenical responses to emerging issues in solidarity; income development and finance; and communications.

Mission in Unity and Contextual Theology (MU) and Ecumenical Leadership Formation and Spirituality (EF)

Under the MU programme area, the CCA accompanies Asian churches to strengthen their mission and witness in multi-religious contexts, revitalise and nurture church unity and the Asian ecumenical movement, and develop contextual theological foundations.

Programmes: Asian Movement for Christian Unity (AMCU); Congress of Asian Theologians (CATS); Asian women doing theology in the context of wider ecumenism; contextualisation of theology in Asia and ecumenical theological education.

The EF programme area focuses on nurturing and developing ecumenical leaders in Asia. The programme aims to enhance spiritual formation and theological understanding, enabling people to actively engage in ecumenical dialogue and collaboration.

Programmes: Ecumenical Enablers’ Training in Asia (EETA); Asian Ecumenical Institute (AEI); Youth and Women Leadership Development; Ecumenical Spirituality and Nurturing of Contextual Liturgical Traditions; Asia Sunday

Building Peace and Moving Beyond Conflicts (BP) and Prophetic Diakonia and Advocacy (PD)

The BP programme area is dedicated to promoting peace, justice, and reconciliation in Asia’s diverse contexts. Through training, advocacy, and dialogue, the programme addresses the root causes of conflicts, empowers communities, and fosters sustainable peacebuilding initiatives.

Programmes: Pastoral Solidarity Visits; Churches in Action for Moving Beyond Conflict and Resolution; Young Ambassadors of Peace in Asia (YAPA); Ecumenical Women’s Action Against Violence (EWAAV); Eco-Justice for Sustainable Peace in the Oikos.

The PD programme area focuses on promoting justice, human rights, and social transformation in Asia. Through advocacy, capacity-building, and raising awareness, the programme addresses systemic injustice, empowers marginalised communities, and advocates for prophetic actions and meaningful change.

Programmes: Human Rights advocacy; Migration, Statelessness, and Trafficking in Persons; Asian Ecumenical Disability Advocacy Network; Asian Advocacy Network on the Dignity and Rights of Children (AANDRoC); Ecumenical Solidarity Accompaniment and Diakonia in Asia (ESADA); Health and Healing; Good Governance; Action Together to Combat HIV and AIDS in Asia (ATCHAA).

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    Kottayam, India: The 15th General Assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia discussed a wide range of emerging concerns and issues and adopted statements such as ‘Against Increasing Militarisation in Asia’, ‘Australia’s First Peoples Voice’, ‘Exploitative Extraction of Natural Resources leading to Environmental Crises and Forcible Displacement’, ‘Peace in the Korean Peninsula’, ‘Creation Care’, ‘Human Dignity and Wholeness of Life’, ‘Public Debt’, ‘Human Trafficking and Forced Migration’, ‘Ending Human Rights Violations in the Philippines’, and ‘Situation in Nagorno-Karabakh’.

    The statement on ‘Australia’s First Peoples’ Voice’ affirmed, “We recognise that the struggles faced by indigenous peoples are not confined by geographical borders, but are universal in their call for recognition, empowerment, and reconciliation. In this spirit of solidarity and faith, the 15th General Assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia presents this statement on the issue of Australia’s First Peoples referendum and voice, reaffirming our unwavering commitment to accompanying the indigenous peoples of Asia and beyond on their collective journey towards justice and reconciliation.”

    The statement on ‘Exploitative Extraction of Natural Resources leading to Environmental Crises and Forcible Displacement’ addressed the pervasive issue of extractive exploitation and exploitative business practices that continued to afflict Asian indigenous communities, who faced exploitation by profit-focused industries. The statement specifically referred to the ecological crisis in Indonesia.

    ‘Reconciliation and Peace on the Korean Peninsula’ was the statement that acknowledged the 70th anniversary of the armistice between South and North Korea and said “We are reminded once again that the Korean War is not over; peace is imperfect, and war can break out at any time. On this 70th anniversary of the armistice, we fervently pray for true peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

    ‘Let Peace be the Imperative, Not the Alternative’ was the statement that called to attention the “alarming surge in militarisation and the frenzied arms race sweeping across Asia”. The statement further elaborated, “Billions of dollars that could be redirected to address pressing issues, like hunger and poverty, are instead squandered on building up vast arsenals. This diversion of resources is exacerbated by the onslaught of neoliberalism and cut-throat competition among affluent nations, which exploit economically vulnerable communities in Asia and inflict devastating consequences on their people. The environment suffers, and precious resources that communities rely on for their livelihoods, such as fishing and agriculture, are depleted.”

    The statement on ‘Creation Care’ reiterated the importance of the 15th General Assembly theme, ‘God, Renew Us in Your Spirit and Restore the Creation’, amidst the ‘poly-crisis’ of the world with dimensions of hunger, poverty, economic discrepancies, inequalities, ethnic, political, religious, and gender violence, conflict and tensions, migration, trafficking, religious fundamentalism, and the struggles of minority faith communities, among others. The statement exhorted CCA constituencies to “give increased priority to advocacy and strategies that directly address the sources of the poly-crisis”.

    ‘Human Dignity and Wholeness of Life’ formed the focus of the sixth statement. “Health, healing, and wholeness are central to God’s divine grace and purpose for humanity, which involves harmonious living-in-community with God, people, and the entire creation. The Church can play a greater role in witnessing and participating creatively in the divine ministry of healing, restoring wholeness in broken human lives with compassion, and being one with our Lord in His self-emptying and unconditional love. In this spirit, we acknowledge the need to address sensitive issues specifically pertaining to disability, mental health, geriatric and palliative care, and sexual and reproductive health within our diverse communities,” read the statement.

    The statement on ‘Public Debt’ drew attention to the situation in Sri Lanka which had caused the country to declare bankruptcy, which had given rise to a serious political and economic crisis. Citing Sri Lanka as an example, the statement highlighted the vulnerabilities of several Asian countries to such debt crises and called upon the CCA constituencies to “initiate and advocate appropriate processes to prevail upon the countries that have provided such loans, to seriously consider debt cancellation, which alone would enable the people of such nations to emerge from such crisis within a democratic space that ensures their dignity”.

    ‘Human Trafficking and Forced Migration’ was the statement that shone a light on the complex nature and interconnectedness of different patterns of mobility and migration that are to be seen in Asia today. The statement called upon CCA constituencies to strengthen their migrant ministries, become places of welcome, healing, and hospitality for victims of human trafficking; to educate congregations on the reality of trafficking and forced migration, and engage in advocacy at the national and international levels, among others.

    The statement on ‘Ending Human Rights Violations in the Philippines’ expressed “grave concern over reports from our siblings in Christ in the Philippine churches regarding the unabated human rights violations (HRVs) under a worsening climate of impunity in their country”, such as extrajudicial killings, red-tagging, and other violations in relation to the government’s counter-insurgency programme.

    The Statement on ‘Situation in Nagorno-Karabakh’ urged the immediate lifting of the blockade in Nagorno-Karabakh and expressed deep concern about the worsening humanitarian crisis within the blockaded region. It called for dialogue and diplomatic initiatives to establish just and lasting peace in the region.

    The Pre-Assembly Statements from the Asian Ecumenical Youth Assembly, the Asian Ecumenical Women’s Assembly, and the Asian Ecumenical Migrants Advocacy Network Pre-Assembly meeting were also received by the General Assembly.

    All Assembly and Pre-Assembly Statements can be found by clicking the links below:

    1. Australia’s First Peoples’ Voice
    2. Exploitative Extraction of Natural Resources
    3. Peace in the Korean Peninsula
    4. Against Increasing Militarisation in Asia
    5. Creation Care
    6. Human Dignity and Wholeness of Life
    7. Public Debt
    8. Human Trafficking and Forced Migration
    9. Ending Human Rights Violations in the Philippines
    10. Situation in Nagorno-Karabakh
    11. Asian Ecumenical Youth Pre-Assembly Statement: We Have a Vision of Heaven on Earth
    12. Asian Ecumenical Women’s Pre-Assembly: Asian Ecumenical Women Journeying Towards the Renewal and Restoration of God’s Creation
    13. Asian Ecumenical Migrants Advocacy Network (AEMAN) Pre-Assembly Forum Meeting: The Rights and Dignity of Asian Migrant Workers in the Diaspora

    For more photos (photo gallery) please click here: CCA Assembly adopts statements on ecumenical responses, 3 October 2023