Programme committee reflects on relevance of CCA programmes amidst changing Asian situation and ecumenical landscapes in Asia

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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    The relevance of Christian Conference of Asia’s programmes in the context of Asia’s societies, economies and geopolitics and of the changing ecumenical landscape was reflected by the CCA programme committee. Based on an analytical presentation by the General Secretary Dr Mathews George Chunakara, the committee embarked on a process of identifying the programme priorities for the next quadrennium.

    “Although a general assumption has been often echoed that Asia is rising and a future global order will be shaped in the Asia region, possible indicators at sight are that the Asia region will likely be caught up in competition for political hegemony, military clout, and economic control in the twenty first century,” Dr Mathews George Chunakara told the programme committee members who are gathered for the first time to work out a new strategic programme plan for four years.

    His presentation on the theme entitled “Geopolitics in Asia, and Ecumenical Response amidst Ecclesial and Ecumenical Landscape’ Dr Mathews George analysed the underlying factors that will be impacted while being engaged in ecumenical mission.

    The Asia region which has traditionally been subject to power politics will have to face imminent threats at different levels. The socio-economic and political considerations that are being developed will ultimately shape Asia’s geopolitics, geoeconomics and geo strategic considerations, and at the same time complex patterns of competition, conflict, and disintegration also will unfold in Asia, added Dr Mathews George Chunakara.

    In this multifarious context, he urged the programme committee to understand the complex Asian realities where religion intersected with politics, considering the factors of geography, land, economy, military, natural resources, environment, government, society, policies, and mission and witness of the Asian church.  The situation across Asia experiences intensified geopolitical rivalries, increased defence spending, proliferation of the latest military technology and the region is set for a prolonged period of strategic contestation.

    The CCA General Secretary reminded the programme committee to identify the issues, set the programme priorities and evolve innovative strategies not only to implement the planned activities but also to sensitise the Asian churches and the ecumenical movement to be more involved in initiating and promoting cooperation within the ecumenical family.  

    He also pointed out the increasing trend of competition and fragmentation within the Asian churches and ecumenical movement due to confessional and denominational factionalism that are being promoted and imported to Asia by certain mission agencies which resulted in creating separate orbits of “exclusive ecumenical territories” and “ecumenical archipelagos” in Asia.

    Taking into consideration the emerging Asian scenario as well as changing ecclesial and ecumenical landscape, the programme committee started working on programme priorities and strategic programme plans.

    Photo Gallery, please click here: CCA Programme Committee Meeting 2024 Day 2