A historic moment in the life of the churches in Indonesia was observed in Jakarta from 17 to 18 May in a Celebration of Unity that brought together 100,000 Christians representing many churches and traditions from all across the country.
This event was organized by the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), the Communion of Evangelical Churches and Institutions in Indonesia (PGLII), the Pentecostal Fellowship of Indonesia (PGPI), the Baptist Fellowship of Indonesia (PBI), the Orthodox Church in Indonesia, the Salvation Army and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
At a seminar held on 17 May at the Integrated Convention Centre in Jakarta and attended by 2,500 leaders and representatives from Indonesian churches, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of WCC, stated that “Christians receive the sign of life which Christ himself, the symbol of life, has given to us. United, the church is called to share life and to care for life.”
Tveit noted that the Celebration of Unity was envisioned as an event to acknowledge and welcome the WCC’s 10th assembly in Asia, only the second WCC assembly that will be convened in the region.
Referring to the WCC’s assembly, which will be held from 30 October to 8 November, Tveit made a connection of the quest for unity and the theme of the assembly, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.”
Inviting the Indonesian Christians to pray with the theme of the assembly together, he reminded them that this prayer is not “triumphalistic and self-righteous regarding the context of religious plurality. It underlines that Christian faith is faith in the God of life who cares for all living beings and not just for some.”
He continued to emphasize the connectivity between unity, life, justice and peace by noting that the unity of the church is “to witness God’s reconciling and redeeming grace and the coming of God’s reign which is marked by justice and peace.”
During the main event held in the foremost stadium of Jakarta and attended by more than 70,000 Christians from all traditions and regions of Indonesia, Tveit quoted from Psalm 133 commenting on the goodness and pleasure of God’s people living in unity.
Recognizing that celebration of unity event in Jakarta held just before Pentecost Sunday, Tveit referred to how the gift of the Holy Spirit united the disciples of Christ in carrying the life-giving gospel of Christ to the ends of the world, across all boundaries and without prejudice.
He encouraged the Indonesian Christians to utilise this passion for Christian unity as an opportunity to serve others with God’s gifts of life, justice and peace.
Tveit’s visit to Indonesia also included a lecture he delivered during the Asian Ecumenical Course organized by the Christian Conference of Asia at the Jakarta Theological Seminar. He also met with inter-religious leaders and church leaders from the WCC member churches.