Twenty-seven young ecumenists from across Asia are currently attending the month-long Asian Ecumenical Institute organized by the Christian Conference of Asia. The programme aims to provide ecumenical formation and leadership development training for prospective church and ecumenical leaders. It is being held at the Christian Conference of Asia headquarters in Payap University Campus in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Focusing on the theme “Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Struggle for Peace with Justice in Asia”, this year’s Asian Ecumenical Institute commenced on 1 July.
Dr Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, stated: “The month-long intensive training course and opportunities for interactions and dialogue while living together with their peer groups from multi ethnic and cultural Asian contexts will enrich and enable each participant to be more proactive and nurture ecumenism in their respective local context”.
Romella Robinson, an ordained woman minister from the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, shared her hopes and expectations from the Asian Ecumenical Institute, stating: “Ecumenism is not well known and is unheard by many in my local context. I am here to learn from the participants belonging to different church traditions in Asia and to develop strategies for nurturing much-needed grassroots-level ecumenism in Pakistan. I am fascinated to be part of this training”.
This year’s outdoor study sessions include visits to the village of Mae-ai on the Thailand-Myanmar border, interactions with refugees and stateless people, visits to the stateless children’s school in Chiang Rai, and meeting with Buddhist monks for dialogue on faith in the context of religious plurality.