At the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly, the Asia region shared current realities through churches’ voices, cultural symbols and artistic performances.
A continent of diversity and religious plurality, Asia is filled with contradictions of wealth and poverty, and a strong resilience. As its churches seek paths toward “justice and peace” in their societies, Asia offers an impressive range of experience.
The assembly plenary on Nov. 1 featured varied reflections from women, men, youth and church leaders from Asia, speaking on the WCC assembly theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.” The assembly is currently underway in Busan, Republic of Korea, continuing until Nov. 8.
The plenary session moderated by the WCC president for Asia, the Rev. Soritua Nababan, featured a wide range of issues, setting the tone for addressing issues of concern for the Asian churches.
Themes shared in the plenary included opportunities and challenges of multi-cultural and multi-religious societies, specific to Asia. It also included the history of colonialism, as well as the neo-liberal economics of capitalism and its effects on communities.
Migration, threat of extremism, situations of human rights, gender justice, a critique of the dominant development paradigm and its impact on indigenous lives and ecology, were also among issues raised by the Asian presentations.
At the session the Rev. Henriette Hutabarat Lebang from Indonesia, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, said, “Asian churches are reflecting on the real meaning of the prayer ‘God of life, lead us to justice and peace.’” She mentioned theological responses to several issues pertinent to Asia which she said become significant for churches witnessing armed conflicts, exploitation and violence.
Lebang went on to say that in order to “respond to the mounting problems in promoting life, peace and justice for all, the churches need to work much closer than ever before.”
“In the midst of these negative forces that deny justice and peace, we need to find hope; hope, in the midst of despair. We the Asian Christians believe that the God of life will show us the path and lead us to peace with justice,” she added.
Dramatic presentations were made by Teatro Ekyumenikal of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Among other speakers were YangYa-Chi of Amnesty International Taiwan, the Rev. Connie Semy Mella of the Philippines Central Conference of The United Methodist Church, the Rev. Daniel N, archpriest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Deepanna Choudhrie from India.
The plenary also featured greetings by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Prince Guneratnam from the Calvary Church in Malaysia and the Rev. Yasutaka Watanabe, chair of Rissho Kosei-kai's board of trustees, a Buddhist organization in Japan.
아시아지역이제 10차 WCC 총회에서교회들의목소리와, 문화적상징들, 그리고예술적행위들을통해현실의모습들을표현해주었다.
다양한대륙이면서수많은종교들이존재하는아시아는부와가난이라는모순들로가득차있지만, 또한튼튼한탄성을지니고있다. 아시아의교회들이사회속에서 “정의와평화” 를위한길들을모색해나감에따라, 아시아는매우인상적일만큼다양한경험들을제공해주고있다.
11월 1일총회에서는아시아의여성들과남성들과유쓰들과교회지도자들이 “생명의하나님, 우리를정의와평화로이끄소서”라는이번총회주제를가지고다양한각도에서강연을하였다. 현재한국의부산에서진행되고있는 WCC는 11월 8일까지진행된다.
WCC 아시아총재소리투아나바반(Soritua Nababan) 목사에의해진행된본회에서는여러다양한범위의이슈들을다루었는데, 특히아시아교회들에대한염려사항들을 제기하는분위기가조성되었다.
본회에서다룬주제들에는다문화와다종교사회들, 특별히아시아가지니고있는기회들과도전들이포함되었다. 또한식민주의역사도다루었고, 자본주의신자유경제(neo-liberal economics)와그것이지역사회에미치는영향들에대해서도다루었다.
이주(Migration), 극단론의위협, 인권상황들, 성별에관한정의(gender justice), 우성개발패러다임에대한비판과, 그러한패러다임이원주민의삶과생태에미치는영향또한아시아발제자들이제기한이슈들이었다.
아시아기독교회사무총장인인도네시아의헨리에트후타바라트르방(Henriette Hutabarat Lebang)목사는 “아시아교회들이 ‘생명의하나님, 우리를정의와평화로이끄소서’라는기도의참된의미를깊이묵상하고있다”고말했다. 그녀는아시아와관련된몇가지이슈들에대한신학적반응들을언급하면서, 교회들이무력충돌과착취와폭력에대해증언하는것이매우중요하다고말했다.
르방목사는 “모든사람들을위해생명과평화와정의를증진시키는것을방해하는문제들이증가하고있는데, 이러한문제들에적절히반응하기위해서는교회들이그어느때보다문제들에훨씬더가까이에서일해야한다”고말을이어갔다.
그녀는또한 “정의와평화를거부하는이러한부정적인세력들속에서, 우리는소망을발견해야한다; 절망속에서의소망을말이다. 우리아시아교회들은생명의하나님께서우리에게길을보여주시고, 우리를정의와평화로이끄실것이라고믿는다”고덧붙였다.
필리핀 교회 협의회의 티아트로 에큐메니칼(Teatro Ekyumenikal)에 의해 극적인 공연도 이루어졌다. 다른 여러 강사들 중에 타이완 국제 사면 위원회의 양 야-치(Yang Ya-Chi), 필리핀 연합 감리교 중앙 회의의 코니 세미 멜라(Connie Semy Mella) 목사, 인도의 에큐메니칼 부서와 디파나 초드리(Deepanna Choudhrie)지역의 수석 사제인 다니엘 N(Daniel N.)이 있었다.
본회의에서는 또한 캔터베리 대주교인 죠스틴 웰비(Justin Welby)와, 말레이지아 갈보리 교회의 프린스 구너라트남(Prince Guneratnam)목사, 일본의 불교 기관인 리쇼 코세-카이(Rissho Kose-kai)이사회의 의장인 야슈타카 와타나베(Rev. Yasutaka Watanabe)의 인삿말도 선보였다.