Over 100 Asian church and ecumenical leaders representing the Christian Conference of Asia’s (CCA) member churches and national ecumenical councils have gathered in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta from May 1–5 to attend the Asian Church and Ecumenical Leaders’ Conference (ACELC).
CCA’s member church, the Protestant Church in the Western Part of Indonesia (GPIB), is the main host of the ACELC, in coordination with the Indonesian national ecumenical council, the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI).
The ACELC began with a grand opening worship service led by the GBIP.
The CCA General Secretary Dr Mathews George Chunakara said, "The ACELC, a high-level summit of church and ecumenical leaders in Asia, brings together heads of churches—primates, moderators, and general secretaries—and general secretaries of national councils of churches belonging to CCA member constituencies to discuss the changing ecclesial and ecumenical landscapes as well as Asian churches’ common witness and ecumenical accompaniment in Asia."
"The ACELC will be a prelude to the forthcoming 15th General Assembly of CCA and will also serve as an opportunity to deliberate upon some of the most pressing concerns pertinent to the witness and mission of churches from Asian ecumenical perspectives," he added.
The overall thematic focus of the ACELC, ‘Changing Ecclesial and Ecumenical Landscape in Asia: Our Common Witness and Accompaniment’, is divided into two parts. The first part (May 1 and 2) focuses on good governance, integrity in leadership, mutual accountability, and consensus decision-making.
The second part of the ACELC, to be held from May 3 to 5, will be organized in collaboration with the World Council of Churches (WCC), focusing on ‘Ecumenical Diakonia: Call to Transformation’.
The second part will focus exclusively on strengthening ecumenical diakonia (service) and ecumenical accompaniment through sessions such as effective partnership models in witness and diaconal mission, enhancing capacities in Asia for diakonia, and prophetic diakonia of Asian churches through equipping for participation in the struggle for peace with justice.
Chunakara pointed out that "there are strong potentials among the Asian churches to further develop and enhance the effectiveness of Asian ecumenical diakonia, given that this has not yet been fully recognized."
The CCA General Secretary further added, "The ACELC will be an opportunity for Asian church and ecumenical leaders to reflect upon and offer ideas on how Asian churches could consider the most effective manner of pooling resources within Asia and work towards our common ecumenical accompaniment in Diakonia for the wider community."
As the ACELC is being held as a prelude to the CCA General Assembly, which will be held from September 27 to October 4 in Kottayam, south India, special sessions will also be held on the CCA General Assembly as a pivotal event in the Asian ecumenical journey.
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