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Sound the Bamboo
[CCA Hymnal]



Challenges and Issues for Indochina Mission Work

Part of the concern of CCA-FMU is the growing mission expansion in Asia that is carried out not only by Western mission organizations but also by various Asian mission bodies. In order to situate mission work in the overall ecumenical movement in Asia, CCA-FMU staff has tried to make linkages with CCA member churches that are now among the "mission-sending bodies" in Asia and elsewhere.

In response to this, the Presbyterian Church of the Republic of Korea (PROK), through the office of Rev. Shin Seung Mi who is in charge of ecumenical relations of the PROK General Assembly, invited the CCA-FMU staff to provide a keynote presentation at a retreat of the PROK mission co-workers in Indochina in Pattaya, Thailand, on August 1, 2006. Rev. Jeong Jin-Woo from the PROK headquarters was also there to give the opening message. Rev. Kim Hyung Ki, an ecumenical church pastor now based in Phnom Penh, served as coordinator of the meeting.

The title of the keynote presentation made by Hope Antone was "Challenges and Issues for Indo-china Mission Works in the Wider Asian Context." She began by recalling the rich legacy of the PROK in its involvements as a church in human rights advocacy, minjung theology, care for migrants, and empowerment of women, among other things. She then reminded the group of the perennial challenges and issues in mission in Asia which are the context of Asian plurality and the context of Asian suffering and struggle for life.

With these, Asian churches and their mission agencies face ecumenical challenges. Borrowing the shifts in mission thinking from Wesley Ariarajah, these are ecumenical challenges are: (a) from an exclusive to an inclusive understanding of God's mission; (b) from conversion to healing as our objective of mission; (c) from desiring to be majority to contentment with being minority in the community; and (d) from mere doctrinal issues to deep spiritual concerns.

Hope went on to share four more shifts needed for Asian churches to be in tune with Asian plurality: a) shift from competition to cooperation among denominations; (b) from condemnation to dialogue with other religions; (c) from isolation to collaboration (working with) with civil society or ideology-based groups; and (d) from disintegration to integrity of creation.

She challenged the PROK missioners that "the type of mission we do in Asia should not simply repeat the mission orientation that we inherited from the past. Our context in Asia has its own peculiar issues and challenges and we need to address them accordingly as people and churches of Asia. We need to guard against the conquest approach and to be open to the possibility of the dialogical approach."

posted by hope on Tuesday, August 15, 2006  

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