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Messages from the Regional Office, 2010

 

From the Regional Secretary

Necta Montes RocasLet me begin by thanking all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve the Federation in the more than 5 years as the Regional Secretary. In the 2010 Annual Report, I share my reflection on the vision of WSCF and a summary of the programs and activities in 2010.

The world today as we know it, is far from the vision of the establishment of God’s Kingdom and the OIKOMENE (household of God). The hegemony of modern-day Empire, comparing it to Mammon in the biblical times, brings so much destruction and misery to the household of God, so that it’s easy to lose hope and give-up the vision. Neo-liberal capitalist economic systems not only failed miserably to reduce the enormous gap between the rich and poor, let alone reduce poverty, but it created a global ecological crisis unprecedented in the history of the world and humankind. The “Global War on Terror” and the ensuing conflicts and violence in the Middles East, South Asia and East Asia, instigated by global military power, completely contradicts the vision of God’s Kingdom of Love, Peace and Justice, the Basileia. WCC aptly describes this situation in the AGAPE (Alternative Globalization Addressing People and Earth) process “We live in a time of Empire, the coherence of economic, cultural, political and military power that constitute global systems of domination directed by powerful nations and organization.” We as Christian are therefore called to resist the Empire and be transformative agents in building alternative Just, participatory and sustainable communities.

The Asia-Pacific region is a pidgin of these glaring problems of inequalities, contradictions brought about by the ideology and systems of the Empire. We have 2 of the world fastest-growing economies and population, China (1.3 B) and India (1.18 B) comprising 40% of the total 6.8 billion people, we are also home to the poorest of the poor. We continue be the second front of the US global” War on Terror” happening in peripheries of South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan), North-east Asia (North Korea), South- east Asia (Philippines, Indonesia). World church leaders have predicted that the center of Christianity has shifted from the West to the South, Africa, Asia and LAC in the 21st Century. What does these challenges means to us as SCMers and the ecumenical movement in general?

Dietriech Bonhoeffer, in his book The Cost of Discipleship tried to answer "What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today?" He surmises that sacrifice is an essential component of our Faith, because following Christ is a “costly discipleship.” Christian life means a continuing commitment to be involved in the contemporary Jesus’ Movement, the Movement that struggle to resist the Empire, to take part in the transformation of our world and truly build God’s Kingdom or Basileia within our different contexts. We are called to desist any form of idolatry, as the Barbem Confession reminds us that, “ Jesus Christ, as he is proclaimed in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God to which we have to listen, and which we have to trust and obey in life and death.”

We come together as SCMers because of our faith in God and Jesus Christ. A faith that liberates, empowers, brings hope and inspires us to act with love, justice and compassion. We believe in a common ecumenical vision of the Basileia and strive to achieve this vision. I begin with the context and the vision as a challenge to remind ourselves that we do as SCMers, are not for ourselves, as we sing in the SCM Solidarity song, but as faithful witnesses of God’s will in today’s world. Let us therefore reflect on how far has WSCF AP and the SCMs have been faithful to this great ecumenical vision.

Necta Montes Rocas
Regional Secretary

 

From the Chairperson

Jahartap Yustin PasaribuDear Friends of WSCF Asia-Pacific,

Shalom!

2010 was indeed a challenging and rewarding year for WSCF AP as the pages of this 2010 Annual Report will hopefully illustrate. This year, we focused on Climate Justice as an over-arching theme to deepen our understanding and provide new perspective on God’s command to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:27-28, “to multiply and subdue the Earth.” Re-reading the text with critical lens gives us new insight on the intrinsic and symbiotic relationship between human beings and nature and our role as God’s stewards of his creation.

In light of this theme, our major programs and activities in 2010 such as the 19th Regional Committee Meeting in Indonesia and the Student Empowerment for Transformation (SET) in 2010 Sri Lanka engaged our student members on the challenges we face due to the ecological crisis. Although this theme is not new to the work of the Federation, we have made special effort this year to expand the space at the regional level for the SCMs to explore and adopt this in their national SCMs. It is therefore our hope that through our work in 2010, the SCMs will develop their own initiatives on Climate Justice at the grassroots level.

This year, we also celebrate the growing life and dynamism of new movements in Nepal, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea (PNG). While some of our more established movements are experiencing some ebb in their life, we have hope and continue to celebrate the growing life in some movements that have been dormant for years but are now being revived with new students and young people taking the lead.

Finally, I wish to thank my predecessor, Daw Yin Yin Maw and the previous members of the Standing Committee for their leadership in the previous term and the regional staff for their work and steadfast commitment to WSCF AP.

God bless and Terima Kasih!

Jahartap Yustin Pasaribu
Chairperson 2010-2012