Kottayam, India: The 15th General Assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) ended on 3 October 2023 with a closing worship service and Holy Eucharist celebration held at the Jerusalem Mar Thoma Church.
More than 500 participants of the Assembly and the members of the Assembly Host Committee representing five CCA member churches in Kerala and the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) took part in the Holy Eucharist service, which was conducted according to the Lima Liturgy, and led by representatives of various Asian churches.
The Most Rev. Joel Ocop Porlares, the supreme head of the Philippine Independent Church (IFI), delivered the homily at the closing worship. “The use of God’s Kingdom language can be an effective means for safety and protection. As we pursue closer solidarity among ourselves as a means of renewal, there is no better alternative than the essence of God’s Kingdom because it allows us to look beyond ourselves,” he said.
Most Rev. Porlares left a challenge to the Asian church, and ecumenical leaders gathered for the assembly, and said he “ the Asian church and ecumenical leaders, you now hold the power and persuasion in leading the ecumenical movement in Asia; , lead us using the Kingdom-oriented language of Jesus.”
The newly elected executive committee members and the officers were introduced and installed at the end of the closing worship. The installation service was led by the outgoing Moderator of CCA, Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey.
Prior to the closing worship, a concluding plenary session was held at the Juhanon Mar Thoma Memorial Hall.
While thanking all participants, the members of the sub-committees of the Assembly Host Committee, and the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), the CCA General Secretary Dr Mathews George Chunakara stated that one of the important outcomes of the 15th General Assembly was the opportunity for blending the strength of the member churches and their local congregations together with national and regional ecumenical organisations, which successfully facilitated a major ecumenical event in a historic ancient church centre like Kottayam.
“The context is that certain CCA and NCCI member churches from the same historic roots and traditions are divided in Kerala, although the divisions are mainly due to non-theological or doctrinal reasons. As the CCA Assembly is being held in Kerala, the coming-together of these churches to host the CCA Assembly ultimately reduced the distance in relations among these member churches from Kerala as they all worked together in a common ecumenical platform during the past several months to ensure that the 15th CCA Assembly was a great success,” added the CCA General Secretary who hails from the same region.
The 15th General Assembly in Kottayam was hosted by five CCA member churches––the Church of South India, the Malabar Independent Syrian Church, the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
The Assembly Local Host Committee and various sub-committees were coordinated by the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), which is the national confederation of 30 member churches in India; among these 12 churches are members of CCA.
The CCA Officers expressed deep appreciation to the General Secretary of the NCCI Rev. Asir Ebenezer, the Executive Secretary Rev. Dr Abraham Mathew, and other members of the NCCI staff team as well as all CCA member churches of CCA in Kerala for their hospitality and committed work in hosting the Assembly and making the 15th Assembly a great success.
The next CCA General Assembly will be held in 2028.
For more photos (photo gallery) please click here: Closing Worship 15th CCA General Assembly day 6, 3 October 2023