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Messages from the Regional Office, 2009

 

From the Regional Secretary

Necta Montes RocasGreetings of Peace and Solidarity!

The year 2009 was indeed a challenging year for WSCF A‐P as we focused on the theme “Identity, Diversity and Dialogue”. When we decided to adopt this theme in the General Assembly, we were thinking mostly of our social milieu, the external environment that impact the life of the young people in the world today. In the words of CCA General Secretary Dr. Prawate Khidarn, “identity, diversity and dialogue represent the core of WSCF identity as a diverse community of student and youth engaged in ecumenical dialogue. “ I thought his view was an important aspect in the study of the theme. In this Annual Report, I invite you to join us in a critical understanding of our environment and an internal review of how, as a Federation, we have responded to these challenges.

Diversity is a lived reality in our region. We live in communities of different languages, culture, race, ethnicity and religion. Sadly, this reality is often used as an excuse to justify and promote violence, such as the case in the violent tension in countries in South Asia. In 2009, Sri Lanka reached the climax of its 25‐year old ethnic conflict when rebel controlled areas in the north and north‐east of the country were captured by Sri Lanka’s government military forces. Further north, the US military build‐up in the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan has ignited underlying tensions among Muslim communities. India has recently reeled from similar violent incidents brought about by intolerance, extremism and politization of religion, threatening peace and stability in this democratic stronghold. In was in this context that the WSCF AP Human Rights Justice and Peace Workshop (HRJP) was organized in Dhaka, Bangladesh. With 30 students from the various movements of WSCF, the participants discussed the issue of peace and conflict in their countries and shared how young people can respond to this situation.

Another challenge is the decline of youth participation and interest in the life of the churches and the ecumenical movement in particular. Young people are leaving the mainline protestant and catholic churches and joining other spiritual movements. Veering away from the ‘old’ and the ‘traditional’ is a popular culture among the young, and this is reinforced by media industry that promotes individualism and mono‐culture. Churches reaction to this trend is varied, however there is a growing tendency to keep the young people working within the denominational confines and prevent them from engaging meaningfully in the ecumenical youth movement. This draws serious concern on the role, participation and leadership of the youth in the churches, the ecumenical movement and society in general. The need to provide alternatives spaces and platforms where young people can engage meaningfully in the mission and ministry of the Churches are much greater in this age of economic globalization.

WSCF AP has responded to the needs of the SCMs and the challenges in the region. The School for Ecumenical Leadership Formation (SELF) and our Women Doing Theology (WDT)have both addressed the need to equip young people with the theology, knowledge and skills to effectively lead ecumenical grassroots student movements. Our Human Rights Justice and Peace Workshop (HRJP), provided the impetus for young people to involved themselves in Human Rights and Justice work. You will also find brief evaluation of these programs at the end of each report. Despite some financial challenges in 2009, we managed to organize these important programs as we cope with the decline in contributions from our partners. A major setback of this was the postponement of our General Secretary’s Meeting.

As we ended the year 2009, we welcome 2010 with greater hope and conviction for the future of our ministry in the region. 2010 begins my final term as Regional Secretary of WSCF. It’s been a privilege and a joy to serve the Federation.

Finally, I wish to thank our Church partners for their continued trust and support to the work of WSCF AP. Despite the serious challenge of funding that they themselves experience, they remained committed to our ministry. Also the members of the Standing Committee both past and present, Women’s Committee and Human Rights Committee, who have shared their time, talent and energy to WSCF AP.

I wish you all the best for 2010! Grace and Peace,

Necta Montes Rocas
Regional Secretary

 

From the Chairperson

Yin Yin MawDear WSCF A‐P Friends and Partners,

Greetings in peace and love of Jesus Christ!

The 2009 Annual Report will give us a detailed presentation of how WSCF A‐P has consistently carried out its mission in the region by addressing the need for Student Ministry in the campuses and by empowering young women among its constituents. We hope that this report will be an inspiration to the Movements and will be a tool for our partners to understand the context and challenges of WSCF AP in the present situation. Through this report, you will find that the WSCF AP is continuously engaged in faith reflections and critical understanding of its mission and active participation in God’s work of justice and peace. I would like to encourage the SCMs to continue to engage in faith reflections, prayer and participation in actions for societal transformation.

Although we faced some financial difficulties in 2009, we were able to overcome them with the understanding and cooperation of our National Movements and our partners. I would therefore like to thank you all for your understanding and cooperation in 2009. In Philippians 4:3, the Bible says “without Jesus Christ we are nothing”. We offer our work to God and thanksgiving for his guidance.

I wish all the best for the SCMs and our partners in 2010. God will guide us and give the power and strength for our continued work in 2010‐2011.

In Christ,

Yin Yin Maw
Chairperson
2008-2010