Fruitful discussions permeated the Asia Ecumenical Youth Assembly, where more than 350 youngsters from 23 Asian countries participated. Photo: Jebasingh Samuvel/CCA

Fruitful discussions permeated the Asia Ecumenical Youth Assembly, where more than 350 youngsters from 23 Asian countries participated. Photo: Jebasingh Samuvel/CCA

After five intense days, the Asia Ecumenical Youth Assembly (AEYA) closed Wednesday evening with spectacular performances where participants from across Asia featured their respective cultures through music and dance.

More than 350 participants from 23 countries across Asia came together in Manado, Indonesia, under the theme ”Lord, send your Light and Truth to lead us”, to share knowledge and discuss critical issues facing youngsters in today’s globalized society. The gathering also provided plenty of opportunities to learn more about ecumenism, to worship together and to make new acquaintances.

In his closing remarks, Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) general secretary Dr Mathews George Chunakara thanked the Evangelical Christian Church in Minahasa (GMIM) and the North Sulawesi provincial government for their hospitality and active support before and during the assembly.

”The care we have been provided here is unbelievable and everything has run very smoothly”, Chunakara said.

After also thanking the Local Organizing Committee and his own CCA staff for a fantastic job, he turned to all the participants and praised them for their engagement in the ecumenical movement.

”I am very proud of all of you. You are much more talented, more visionary, bring more insights and have more confidence than we from previous generations had when we embarked on our ecumenical journey,” Chunakara said, recalling his own involvement in the Asian ecumenical youth movement as a participant at the 1984 Asia Youth Assembly in New Delhi, India.

GMIM president Heins Ariana once again affirmed the discipleship of Christ that ecumenical youngsters carry with them, while the vice governor of North Sulawesi, Stephen Kandoe expressed hopes for young Asians to overcome obstacles facing them, strengthen relationships and to strive in faith and love for a better world.

Covering today’s most pressing issues, such as religious intolerance, human trafficking, poverty, gender inequality, sexuality, environment and family values, the AEYA undoubtedly has been an inspiration and an injection to continue ecumenical work back home, according to several participants.

”My vision has been to strengthen the ecumenical movement and the youth engagement in Asia, which I feel this assembly has accomplished. Now we must nurture this spirit and continue to provide opportunities for young Asians to meet and to flourish in their ecumenical engagement”, Chunakara says.

Communication is high on CCA’s agenda and a potent tool to share programme strategies, stories, statements and event outcomes. Throughout the event a daily printed paper, summing up each day’s plenaries, has been distributed to all AEYA participants and published on the CCA website.

The final outcome of the AEYA and the commitments it entailed, are outlined in the AEYA Manado Statement 2018, where bold responses to a broad array of pertinent issues are articulated.

O God, dear friend,
We will hear Your voice in silence
We will walk with You in darkness
We will touch Your pain in all creatures
We see Your broken bodies in Asia
We will dance with You in the rhyme of Hope
We will sing with You in the gesture of Justice
We will play with You in the land of Peace

The above prayer concluded the AEYA 2018 statement summarizing the aspirations of the participants.

”Meeting and parting are sacred. But we are again going to meet and you will never depart from the ecumenical movement”, a proud and pleased CCA general secretary summed it all up in his closing remark.

Christian Conference of Asia