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Sound the Bamboo
[CCA Hymnal]



The Asia Ecumenical Course: What an experience!

Poulima Salima, a young Samoan man from the Mt Albert Methodist Parish in Auckland attended the Asia Ecumenical Course in April. This included participation in the Christian Conference of Asia General Assembly. He has come back enthused about ecumenism. Some extracts from his presentation to the Mt Albert congregation follow.

The overall theme for the ecumenical course and assembly was Called to prophesy, reconcile and heal. A powerful and purposeful theme that resonated in the hearts of all participants during the course and assembly.

The theme resonated through the music, lyrics, art, performing arts; through testimonies, sharing of faith and reflections, and faith-powered prayers. The theme was very appropriate, reflecting the complex and conflicting Asian realities such as: institutionalised corruption, bad governance, human trafficking, human rights violations, and religious extremism.

All participants including the course leaders were very energetic, courageous and fun to be with! I was amazed with the creativity, passion and enthusiasm, the unity and family spirit within group. It was strong, encouraging and infectious. We had fun learning, speaking and singing in various languages. It was an uplifting experience!

The richness and diverse cultures represented, the uniqueness of languages, and seeing the hearts of all participants worshipping God their way - was an experience to remember. I remember our group preparing for the opening worship for conference. We had to come up with our own cultural dance. The music set-piece was short and catchy so we had to translate it into our own language. The choreography and dance gestures represented the identity of each culture. The power and spirit of the lyrics sung in their respective languages was soul-stirring and edifying. It was a performance to see! We had all the Asian instruments and percussion you could possibly think of to accompany the action songs. Participants were encouraged to wear their cultural costumes, outfits that represented their country and culture.

Some of the church leaders commented that it was the best opening worship service since they had been coming to CCA general assemblies. This was encouraging because all of the ecumenical course participants worked very hard. We wanted to deliver well, and it was important that we did because this was our message to the church leaders: that the up-and-coming ecumenical leaders were just as passionate about the ecumenical movement as they were.

In the evenings before worship at the conference I was inspired by the testimonies from pastors and church ministers who shared their faith, hardship and the darkest moments of their lives, of being beaten and tortured because of their faith in Christ and mission. Hearing them testify about God’s goodness and faithfulness during times of suffering and hardship was inspiring for all participants to carry their cross as well!

I thoroughly enjoyed the Asian Ecumenical Course and the Christian Conference of Asia General Assembly. It was definitely the highlight of my life and the beginning of my ecumenical journey. My prayer for the Methodist Church of Aotearoa-New Zealand is continued unity, celebrating and sharing our diversity, with the purpose of advancing God’s kingdom.

The Methodist Church’s delegates to the CCA General Assembly were Manukau Synod Super-intendent, Prince Devanandan and Te Taha Maori Tumuaki, Diana Tana. Prince was elected to serve on the CCA General Committee which is the oversight body between CCA assembly meetings. Diana has been appointed Moderator of the Ecumenical Formation, Gender Justice, & Youth Formation Programme Committee. Prince and Diana are producing a joint written report that is still in process. There will be more news about the CCA Assembly in the June issue of Touchstone the Methodist Church newspaper.


posted by cbs on Friday, April 30, 2010  

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