March 12 to 16, 2003
The current financial situation in WSCF has led to the Inter-Regional Office’s (IRO) decision to postpone holding the General Assembly (GA) in 2003, since then, the Officers of WSCF have also recommended various cutbacks to ease the financial burdens of the Federation. Because of GA being postponed to 2004, WSCF AP’s Regional Committee Meeting (RCM) was also affected as it has been a tradition to pledge the RCM alongside a GA if the RCM were to be held in a year when the GA is also being held. The Standing Committee (SC) of WSCF AP thus made the recommendation to postpone the RCM until 2004. This recommendation was unanimously agreed by the exco-members in the WSCF. Hence, this Extraordinary Standing Committee (ESC) was called to meet to discuss on the pertinent issues especially on the financial situation of the whole Federation which will cause a tremendous effect on the regions. This Extraordinary Standing Committee Meeting was held in WSCF AP’s regional office in Hong Kong on 12-16 March 2003.
Before the meeting starts, a short morning devotion was conducted using the liturgy developed for the WSCF Universal Day of Prayer. Stephen Hsu, chairperson, gave a short biblical reflection on the Peace in Isaiah 71:19, calling for peace in the world, as well as within ourselves in this chaotic times as the war on Iraq looms.
Stephen then started the meeting with a welcome to all members of the SC and the regional staff. The roll call was made and members absent were the two Members-At-Large, Kaythi Min Din from Myanmar and Kim Sung Ran from Korea. Kaythi could not get her passport and Sung Ran could not get leave from her current job.
Rev. Stephen Hsu (Taiwan) – Chairperson
Edwina Hunter (Australia) – Vice-chairperson
Glenda Rocas (Philippines) – ExCo
Vinay Kumar (India) – ExCo
Rev. Shin Seung Min – Regional Secretary
Wong Yock Leng – Regional Women’s Coordinator
Kaythi Min Din (Myanmar) – Member-At-Large
Rev. Kim Sung Ran (Korea) – Member-At-Large
Stephen presented the proposed agenda and that since there would be a peace rally in Hong Kong on the following Saturday, suggested that we could try finishing the main agendas before Saturday so that the members could participate in the rally. All members agreed and the following agenda was presented and accepted by the Committee.
Stephen agreed to be the moderator for the day and led the SC members to go through the previous minutes page by page. The necessary corrections are:
- On page 1, it was corrected that Vinay Kumar, ExCo, did not come for the meeting.
- On page 7, the date of the Women’s Programme, Trafficking in Women, held in Taiwan should be 1-9 March 2002.
- On page 17-20, the number sequence for the section on Movement Building was incorrect.
- On page 33, the number sequence for the section Other Activities for the report on Regional Women’s Coordinator was incorrect.
VOTED 03:01 To accept the minutes of the 15th Standing Committee Meeting as corrected.
Shin presented his report. The following issues were discussed by the SC:
1. Financial situation of WSCF
Shin reported that the Ecumenical Assistance Programme (EAP) funds for 2003 were finally approved as the senior friends whom WSCF contacted to help in the negotiations, had argued a strong case with the funding agency, EED, that the EAP should not be withdrawn suddenly without notice. However, this approval does not mean an assured continuation in future and hence, there might still be withdrawals or serious cuts in the coming year.
Vinay explained that the reasons for EED to withdraw its support were the structural changes of the funding agency, EED. Previously, the funding agency that was supporting the EAP was EWM but it has merged with EED and thus, many structural changes were made. Shin further explained that EWM is a church organisation that understands ecumenism and the mission of Christian faith, however EED is an organisation that wants to see more funds for development work, so it has a tendency to fund development projects, like digging wells, building schools etc.
Edwina and Vinay suggested that WSCF should need to look for new funding partners who support the mission of SCM/WSCF.
Shin reported that the Officers of WSCF met 2 weeks ago and made some suggestions. It was suggested that the Federation needed to look for alternative ways to survive and sustain our future, which will be the main agenda for near future. Although WSCF AP has managed to survive without a deficit and did not sacrifice any programmes till now, the future is uncertain as the deficit of WSCF on the whole will definitely impact on all regions. Hence, in the last SC, there was already a recommendation of forming a Financial Support Group consisting of senior friends. This group has been informally formed a few months ago and the first meeting will be held after this SC Meeting. Hence, we need to put a lot of energy on this group and 1st meeting should set the pace and needs for the future.
Shin went on to explain that this group will help raise funds for AP’s general budget, and there is a targeted amount of funds this group needs to raise and the targeted amount may be higher if the results are satisfactory in this trial year. The group is not within the structure of the SC and they could only give suggestions and comments, but they should not involve in any decision-making process in the WSCF AP. The current senior friends whom we have asked to join in this group are Stephen Hsu from Taiwan, Georgia Yam from Australia, Lee Jung-Mo from Korea, Fung Chi-Wood from Hong Kong and Taku Kumakiri from Japan.
Edwina asked about the outcome of the Human Rights Internships. She explained that hosting Human Rights (HR) workshops could give the movements a lot of energy to re-build the movements. Thus it depends on the advantages of having HR workshops or the HR internships.
Shin said that we could give the HR Internships one more trial year and we could revert back to holding HR workshops. The next internships could be collaborated with secular NGOs. Shin called for more women SCMers to apply for these internships. Shin further explained the logistics for our Australian delegate, Ann-Marie, chosen to study in Bossey Ecumenical Institute. Bossey usually does not give full scholarship to European and Pacific (Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand) applicants thus we are still waiting for an answer from Bossey if they are giving full scholarship to Ann-Marie. If Bossey does not give a full scholarship, AP will help to bear some costs for Ann-Marie’s study in Bossey. It was also suggested to Ann-Marie to raise funds for herself from her church or other organisations. In the event there is insufficient funds raised for Ann-Marie, we may need to forfeit this year’s participation to Bossey but this is undesirable as we need to keep our collaborative partnership with Bossey.
Shin briefed the SC on the development of the History Project. The writer, Dr. Ninan Koshy has already written a few chapters. The first chapter which was long and comprehensive, was entirely devoted to WSCF. The book would probably be launched in September.
VOTED 03:02 To accept the Regional Secretary’s report
Wong Yock Leng presented her report and following were the points raised:
Stephen commented that the various alternatives raised in the report were feasible and recommendable as ways to reach out to more movements and students while maximising the tight budget. But he does not support the alternative of having the Regional Women’s Coordinator to work from her own country. Stephen felt that the regional office needs both the Regional Secretary and Regional Women’s Coordinator to work from the same office so as to support each other in terms of work coordination and moral support.
Yock Leng said that these alternatives will be thoroughly considered before any concrete decisions were to be made.
VOTED 03:03 To accept the Regional Women’s Coordinator’s report
Vinay reported on behalf of the 2 ExCo members of AP. The report raised the following points:
1. Due to the current financial situation and high deficit suffered by WSCF, IRO initially wanted to hold an emergency staff and officers meeting in Geneva in February. However as the staffs could not afford to pay for their own airfares as requested by IRO, the meeting was postponed. However, the Officers met and came up with a list of recommendations to tighten the budget of the Federation.
Stephen suggested that we need to take some time tonight to ponder on the recommendations made by the Officers and we could develop our own alternatives and relay these to them.
VOTED 03:04 To accept Vinay Kumar’s ExCo’s report
Shin gave a report on 2002 accountant’s report and the following points were raised:
1. Edwina asked about the reliability of funding partners of WSCF AP for the next few years.
Shin replied that WSCF AP’s funding partners are not long-term partners (approved funding is based annually, not 3-5 years), hence there is no assurance that funding will be approved every year. We work with the staff of the funding agencies and not the board members who make the decision of continuation and amount of grants given. However for the past 6 years, the partners have been quite stable.
VOTED 03:05 To accept the Accountant’s Report
The first term of the Regional Women’s Coordinator, Wong Yock Leng, will expire at the end of April 2003 and Yock Leng has expressed an interest to renew for another 2 years. The Regional Women’s Committee (RWC) has already agreed to Yock Leng’s term renewal and Glenda will write an official letter to the SC on the decision of RWC. Stephen will write to the National Movements for their endorsements on Yock Leng’s term renewal when Glenda has written to the SC.
The SC also made some recommendations to this group:
- The SC should trust this group to develop some standards and tasks of fund raising
- Fund raisers should have good connection with the local in order to raise funds for AP
- Fund raisers should look for local funding agencies and not outside resources
- AP office could develop a brochure so that the fund raisers could use it as a fund-raising tool
- On one hand they will find funds for AP, on other hand, they could be free to look for opportunities to look for funds for their own SCMs
- Regional staff to share the group’s discussions to the SC.
Mandy Tibbey, senior friend of ASCM, has recommended that AP could work with the National Council of Churches’ Youth Desk to review SCM-Pakistan. On Mandy’s recommendation, Shin met Victor Aziriah (NCC General Secretary) and Sokhail (NCC Youth Desk). According to NCC-Pakistan, some structural changes need to be made and it takes around 6 months for that to enable some form of a renewed formation of the SCM. AP has to wait for the result from NCC-Pakistan till October 2003. Shin mentioned that NCC-Pakistan would need us to make another visitation again this year, and might request for movement grants, and re-opening of invitations to regional programmes. AP office will continue to assess the situation and results that NCC-Pakistan would develop for the SCM. The SC recommends that in the next Regional Women’s Programme, one student from the SCM could be invited.
Edwina suggested that AP could work with Helen Hill (senior friend of ASCM) who has been working in East Timor and who has suggested that more developed SCMs could send English teachers to East Timor as a start. There are 2 Frontier Internship Mission (FIM) interns in East Timor who are senior friends from SCM Philippines, we could contact them. Shin will check with John Moyer, director of FIM. It was said that it is a long-term project in reviving the East Timor SCM that needs a lot of energy, priority and focus. A long-term project requires devoted, sincere and committed SCMers to spend 3-4 years there to help re-build the movement, while the AP needs to work with these few SCMers intensively. Edwina will work with Helen Hill to make an assessment of the situation.
There is no progress since recommendations made in the last SC meeting. There was no response from the Chinese-speaking Methodist Church which Stephen tried to make contact with. Shin will make a last attempt to seek advice from Ting Jin (senior friend of WSCF) and will report to the SC.
Edwina reported that the SCM is doing well but is lacking in women leadership. They are also trying to work out some programmes with the West Bengal SCMI unit who speaks the same language, hence there could be joint programmes. Yock Leng will visit the SCM in middle of year for their women’s programme, and will see what are the needs and requirements of the women leadership in BD SCM.
Nina Nayoan, who was former participant of SELF and WDT, has become the first female General Secretary of GMKI. Nina is very capable and would bring new ideas to GMKI.
Shin reported that the general situation in Myanmar is getting more difficult and many repressive actions are being imposed by the government such as not issuing passports, restricting the amount of money to be withdrawn by people. There are limited jobs and there is a general declining and worsening of the economy. One reason why Kaythi could not participate in this SC Meeting was she was not issued with a passport. In response to these situations, it was felt that we need to continue give our solidarity and assistance to the SCM.
KSCF is presently very active in the anti-war campaigns.
ASCM is at present feeling very excited about the Movement Exchange Programme and it was hoped that ASCM could receive some valuable lessons from SCM Philippines to help ASCM to re-energise the movement. The programme will start in June 2003.
Yock Leng reported that the SCM wanted to start a Bible Study series with some senior friends and are making plans for this programme. However, there is still no staff and the morale is rather low. Yock Leng will continue to discuss with some senior friend to help re-energise the SCM.
The SCM is very active in the Article 23 and anti-war campaigns. They had a candle-light prayer meeting in front of the US Consulate together with the Catholic students and NCC-Hong Kong youth last week. Though small in number, the SCM members are all very committed and sincere in the works of the SCM.
Prasan, former General Secretary of Thailand SCM, resigned from the Christ Church in Thailand and had withdrawn from all other position in the church including SCM work. A new GS was appointed, Apicha, a young professor in Payap University and a senior friend. He has promised to work hard to revive SCM and will put priority on the GA preparation. Thai SCM is still relatively weak at the moment and there has been no significant activity in the previous year. Shin will soon visit Thai SCM and also, the SCM Myanmar branch in Bangkok is able to render some help in the GA preparation as well.
Stephen reported that the SCM is stable. Each local unit has autonomy to design their own programmes and there are over 60 units all over Taiwan. The local units are composed of students and there are 2 student representatives in the national level. Each local units have senior friends to give financial, moral and resource support to the units. Recently the SCM held a national Bible Study Camp with 250-300 participants, and the participants could bring new ideas back to their local units after the programme. The future plan is to develop programmes on indigenous issues and has already established 2 centres for indigenous students.
Edwina suggested to explore possibilities on how WSCF AP could help in supporting organising indigenous student/people in countries where SCM’s are operating.
SCM Philippines had just hosted the Women Doing Theology programme. They are very active in the anti-war campaigns as well as in the women’s movement and still maintaining very good relationship with NCCP. The SCM also has a new General Secretary Dion Carlo. The SCM is currently preparing for its National Assembly in May 2003.
SCMA is doing fine and they hosted the Women Doing Theology programme in 2002 and had put in a lot of effort in the programme.
SCMI has a new General Secretary as the former General Secretary has left for a job offered by the council of World Mission (CWM). The new GS is Samuel Jayakumar who is the youngest GS in the history of SCMI. Samuel is a very active SCMer and has participated the Women and Men in Partnership programme in 2001. SCMI has continued to implement many programmes including the Counselling Centre for Youth and HIV/Aids victims. This coming May, SCMI will hold the General Committee Meeting. There have been discussions and plans on reviving the SCM units in Northern India.
Yock Leng has made a movement visit last October. The Miriam programme is still implementing its regular women’s programmes and there are now regular gatherings between senior friends of Miriam who are giving much financial support to the programmes and staff.
SCM SL has just recently elected a new General Secretary and a new Chairperson. Yock Leng will make a movement visit to SCM SL in April and will inform the SC on the latest development of the movement.
The movement is stabilising and the new General Secretary is Im Thano who has participated in a couple of regional programmes. But the SCM needs much outside help and advice to build the movement. Emma Leslie who senior friend from ASCM and is now working in Cambodia is willing and keen to help rebuild C-SCM. Also C-SCM has applied for the Movement Exchange Programme to get support and help from a more established movement to work together with Emma Leslie. The movement which is keen to work with C-SCM is SCM Aotearoa/NZ who will send one person there to start an English class as well as discussion groups relating to the SCM perspectives. Saw Shwe Lin, GS of SCM Myanmar is also keen to make a trip to Cambodia to offer help and support to the C-SCM.
VOTED 03:06 To accept the programmes for 2003
There will be no Regional Allocation from IRO for 2003. If IRO were to cut regional staff’s salary by 10% and stop all Regional Allocations effective from May 2003, AP will be affected and this would also mean Shin’s salary would be reduced.
The AP ExCo, Glenda and Vinay will discuss and negotiate on our positions on the Regional Allocations and the effects of a cut in regional staff’s salaries with the Officers of WSCF through emails next week. Glenda and Vinay will keep the SC and regional staff informed.
AP will also work harder to look for new funding partners to cover any deficit that were to happen in the AP region.
Budget for 2003
- United Methodist Church in the USA – 31,000 (11,000 for Movements, 10,000 for women and 10,000 for administration)
- Church of Sweden – 18,000: designated for women and Human Rights and Peace internship
- Taiwan – 8,000: undesignated
- NCCA – 11,000: Mainly for SELF and admin.
- CWM – 10,000: women
- CCA – 7,000: designated for CCA-WSCF Program
- Canada (Anglican Church and United Church of Canada) – 12,000: designated for publication and Human Rights and Peace Internship
- Japan – 1,000: SELF
- Korea – 2,000: SELF
- Global Ministry in the US – 1,000: SELF
- Asian Christian Higher Education Institute – 13,000: GA support
- Movement contribution – 6,000
- Others – 15,000: 7,500 from Financial Support Group
- Total 135,000
- Salary – 36,000: Women’s coordinator and two part-timers (one day per week)
- Movement Grant – 10,000
- Movement Visit – 2,500
- Praxis and Publication (women’s resource book) – 7,000
- Standing Committee Meeting – 3,000
- SELF – 18,000
- Women’s Program – 12,000
- CCA-WSCF Joint Program – 5,000
- EASYNet Contribution – 2,000
- Bossey Study Subsidy – 3,000
- Human Rights and Peace Internship – 8,000
- Movement Exchange Programs – 4,500
- Administration – 8,000 (Management fee, Government rent and rate, insurance, electricity, telephone, gas, water, web, photo copy, postage)
- Financial Support Group Meeting – 2,000
- GA reserve – 12,000
- Contingency – 2,000
- Total 135,000
- The above figure does not include the IRO income for the Regional Secretary’s salary.
- Movement Exchange Programme:
- USD3000 to Cambodia SCM/SCMA
- USD1500 to SCMP/ASCM
- Movement Grants (in USD):
- Myanmar: 1500
- Indonesia: 1500
- Philippines: 1500
- Thailand: 1000
- Cambodia: 1500
- Sri Lanka: 1500
- Bangladesh: 1500
- Total: 10,000
VOTED 03:07 To accept the 2003 Budget
Shin’s term officially ends in December 2003 but due to the postponement of GA, Shin decided to extend his term until GA finishes. The extension of Shin’s term should be discussed and approved by the National Movements. The Search Committee needs to be formed now and SC recommends Chairperson, 2 ExCo members, and Regional Secretary to be in the committee. The announcement of Regional Secretary’s position will be out by February 2004, applications will be collected by May. In May/June, the Search Committee will be able to make a decision. The appointment of the new Regional Secretary will be informed in June and in July when the RCM takes place, s/he will be endorsed by the Movements. The new Regional Secretary will attend GA. The transition work between incoming and outgoing Regional Secretaries will take place thereafter.
As informed by IRO recently, GA will take place in August 2004. If GA were to be postponed again, AP will still hold the RCM in July 2004. The search process for the new RS will start in March 2004 (Shin will end his term in September).
By end of November 2003, AP will be able to provide a clearer picture of the Budget for 2004. AP will keep SC informed.
Please see attached appendix 4 for the full letter to IRO on SC’s recommendations
Paddy Noble was selected to be the intern to the Movement Exchange Programme between C-SCM/SCMA. The SC briefed Paddy on the Expectations, Orientation, Tasks and Responsibilities of this programme as this is very important to the C-SCM as a project to continue the movement.
There was no more official matters for discussion and the Extraordinary Standing Committee Meeting officially ended in the afternoon of 15 March 2003.