World Student Christian Federation - Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP)
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Regional Programme

CCA-WSCF Joint Consultation

December 3 to 4, 2003
CCA Center, Hong Kong

Report of the Consultation

 

Day 1 – 3rd December 2003

The Joint Consultation started off with an opening worship facilitated by Cora Tabing, CCA’s Executive Secretary of Ecumenical Formation, Gender Justice and Youth Empowerment, that affirmed the participants’ commitment to ecumenism partnership and development amongst the students and youth. An opening address was given by Dr, Ahn Jae-woong, General Secretary of CCA. He emphasized the needs and importance of student ministry in order to enhance the vitality and richness of the ecumenical movement.

Following the opening worship and address, Ms. Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz Duremdez, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, gave the keynote presentation that follows:

  1. The educational system remains to be elitist, commercialised and colonial. Thus education has become a privilege and no longer a right
  2. Higher Education is simply producing individuals to become part of the globalised workforce and not students who are critical and analytical
  3. The academic community institutionalises rugged individualism at the expense of community and solidarity.

 To this, the following challenges are posed:

The following are the main points of the three comments on the keynote presentation:

A) Importance of Student Ministry in the Local Church – by Rev. David Gill

B) SCM’s Role in the Society – by Mr. Wong Kaishing

C) SCM’s Relations with the Faculties and Chaplains in Higher Education –
by Dr. Betty C. Abregana

The following points are the main points from the discussion from the floor on the keynote presentation and the three comments:

It is believed that the universities have created a sense of competitiveness amongst the students, and that it is very much part of the real world. There is a fear that the competitiveness has replaced the vision to change the society, thus this is the challenge for the Church and the SCM to bring this vision back to the ministry.

It is important to bring back the vision to the students and youth, the support from the church is needed. This support could come from the encouragement and support of resources to the student ministry as it creates venues for critical thinking. There is a need to encourage continuous and constructive dialogues between the church and the SCM at different levels.

While affirming the uniqueness of the SCM, the challenge is how do the SCMs articulate its analysis, create spaces for change and explore different approaches in working with the church and church youth.

Reflection on the partnership of the CCA and WSCF AP

Rev. Shin Seung Min, Regional Secretary of WSCF AP, gave a brief report on the previous consultations done together by CCA and WSCF AP. He also highlighted on the evaluations of these consultations made by the NCCs and SCMs.

Group Discussions

Thereafter, the participants went into 3 group discussions to further discuss on the topics of:

Common Agenda
  1. Evaluation on joint programs, particularly from 1997-2002
  2. Reflection on the partnership between CCA/WSCF AP in terms of structure, program and resource sharing
  3. Articulation on a vision of CCA/WSCF AP cooperation in the ecumenical student ministry. 
Specific Agenda

 

Day 2 – 4th December 2004

The second day of the joint consultation started with a morning devotion led by Mr. Samuel Jayakumar, General Secretary of SCM India. Samuel emphasized on the ecumenical student and youth ministry and requested the participants to re-affirm and re-commit themselves to develop and support the student and youth ministry.

The morning devotion was followed by the plenary of the group discussions held on the previous day.

Reports from 3 Groups

Group 1 – SCM relationship with faculty and chaplain

The group started with an evaluation on the joint programmes particularly from 1997-2002, and commented on the following:

Common agenda:

The joint efforts of CCA and WSCF AP are good ones but it is noted that there is an importance for these programmes to have a continuity because in some countries such as Hong Kong, there was no follow up activity after the joint national consultation;

Reflection on the partnership:
On Specific Agenda – SCM Relationship with the Faculty and Chaplains
Some Recommendations:
  1. Tripartite talks and discussions between Asian Christian Faculty Fellowship, SCM and the NCC
  2. Networking with the chaplains
  3. Networking with the faculty, introducing SCM to the faculty members. In Philippines there are some notable experience of faculty support to the SCM in terms of providing an amount of time by supportive professors in their classes for the SCM to present its orientation and issue focuses

Group 2 – SCM relationship with churches

The group members reflected on:

Recommendations by CCA
  1. CCA could help set up a neutral ground for good communication for addressing the issues discussed above
  2. CCA could help promote SCM in a more positive aspect through various types of mediums and media, examples: Pamphlets, Newsletters etc.
  3. CCA could help with resource sharing especially in terms of open dialogues among Church members, WSCF AP and SCMs in their respective countries
  4. CCA could help in the efforts to help raise money to support the cost of accommodation of the WSCF General Assembly in 2004.

Group 3 – SCM relationship with the society

The group members came up with the following comments and observations:

1. Evaluation of joint programmes, particularly from 1997-2002

Members of the working group shared the following observations:

2. Reflection on the partnership:
The group members came up with the vision of:

3 areas were seen as the most important for future vision and action between CCA and WSCF/SCMs in:

  1. Higher Education
  2. Ecumenism
  3. Globalisation
    • The importance of SCM maintaining itself as a faith based movement was critical. Methodology was also seen as critical: being clear about integrating social aspects and having a holistic approach;
    • It is important to stay within the church and maintain that relationship: to learn from the mistakes of the 1960s but to also maintain the importance of social action in conjunction with being a faith based movement;
    • The importance of the student’s role in promoting dialogue and social discourse is critical. Unlike in previous eras though, SCMs are no longer the only groups voicing these things. We are now one of many, both within the church and in the NGO community. We cannot claim to have a prophetic voice in this day and age. This fosters a sense of elitism which we must avoid;
    • The group also promoted the importance of interfaith dialogue.

Action Plans

Following the plenary on the group discussions, the actions plans that were recommended are:

A. Short Term

  1. Monitoring of programmes and partnership through strengthening the Joint Committee. The Joint Committee will be composed of one committee member and one staff from both the CCA and WSCF AP
  2. A regular page in the CCA Newsletter for WSCF as part of promoting SCMs in the churches
  3. CCA commits $20,000 for WSCF General Assembly for accommodation costs. CCA will contact some NCCs to make appeals to churches to contribute some funds to the General Assembly
  4. Promotion of Common Programmes that will bring together church youth and SCM e.g. Youth Week
  5. Asia Student and Youth Gathering (ASYG) and Ecumenical Asia-Pacific Student and Youth Network (EASYNet) National Coordinators’ Training in 2004, are venues for the young people to get together and to develop young leaders on joint efforts
  6. Resource sharing not only in terms of finances but on other resources of the church, e.g. church venues where SCM could use at a discounted basis or for free
  7. CCA Assembly to invite SCMs to attend and vice versa for WSCF Assembly
  8. Ecumenical women’s meetings and programmes where WSCF can be invited
  9. Asian Conference of Theology Students (ACTS) to address the ecumenical student ministry, and the possibility of including the student ministry in the theological curriculum

B. Medium Term

  1. Joint Meetings of CCA-member NCC Youth Secretaries and General Secretaries/National Coordinators of the WSCF AP region at least once in five years
  2. SCM to initiate dialogue with the church. (For Hong Kong, Rev. Gill will broker the dialogue for SCM and HKCC, in order to pave the way for a start of dialogue)
  3. Future National Consultations in Indonesia, Australia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Thailand, and another regional consultation for evaluation
  4. Joint SELF Programme

C. Long Term

  1. Tripartite Meeting between Asian Christian Faculty Fellowship, Student Christian Movement and the National Council of Churches
  2. Mobilising the Senior Friends for finance and other resources
  3. Defining the relationship and partnership of SCM and NCC. Study what structure will be appropriate for each country (Some countries have SCM as NCC’s associated member or SCM’s as the main arm of NCC’s in its student ministry)
  4. Accompaniment/Internship programmes for students and youth

A Consultation Statement

The consultation participants adopted a statement and asked CCA and WSCF AP to send it together with a consultation report to their constituencies.

Closing Worship

The closing worship was facilitated by Rev. Stephen Hsu, Chairperson of WSCF AP. Rev. Hsu stressed on the importance of the ecumenical partnership that CCA and WSCF AP has and the need to help and support each other in the overall people’s ministry because all of us are doing God’s work. Thus, it is important to lift each other up in times of difficulty and to journey together in mutual respect and understanding so as to stimulate learning process and growth.

With these closing words, the CCA-WSCF Joint Consultation of 2003 came to an end.