Indonesia flower bowl

It was titled “Walking through the Valley in Faith” and moderated by Rev. Jimmy Sormin of the Persekutuan Gereja-gereja di Indonesia, or the Communion of Churches in Indonesia.

The Zoom meeting began with prayers and song, followed by an open and lively discussion about challenges affecting the southeast Asian island nation, where Christians are believed to be about 10 per cent of the estimated population of 275 million.

In opening remarks, Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, noted that the world has much to learn from thousands of years of Indonesia's rich heritage. She said the country has vibrant and diverse communities, languages, religions and cultures, and a long history of people living in harmony.

Phiri cited Psalm 121: 1-2, "I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."

She said, "The discussion on the WCC Assembly theme: 'Christ's love moves the world to reconciliation and unity', and assembly process will go a long way in deepening your engagement with the global ecumenical movement."

Christ’s love in the pandemic’

Rev. Prof. Joas Adiprasetya, president of the Jakarta Theological College, said that next year's postponed 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany, would bring the world churches together proclaiming "Christ's love in the midst of the pandemic."

"We are not only people who lament, but we need to praise God and have a more mature kind of thanksgiving," said Adiprasetya.

He urged delegates from Indonesia who will attend the assembly to read ecumenical articles and come prepared. They should share their experiences, widen their network and go beyond their local and national context before reporting to their sending churches.

Rev. Dr Benjamin Simon, WCC programme executive for church relations, said, “It is not we the staff in WCC who are the WCC, but its member churches, like the church members in Indonesia.”

Rev. Dr Henriette Hutabarat-Lebang of the Toraja Church in Indonesia and a member of the WCC's central committee said, "What churches have done in the crisis affects Indonesia and the world." She said Indonesia also had problems relating to climate, and the churches had offered support.

"The pandemic helped to improve faith life," said Hutabarat-Lebang. She called for people's faith to "transform us, how we act as friends and interact with one another and as churches."

Another WCC central committee member, Rev. Abednego Adinugroho of the East Java Christian Church of Indonesia, said, "The church has been a prophetic voice and a bridge-builder.”

He said the churches had done their bit to help the government getting people to stick to the protocols necessary to fight the pandemic and aiding in the distribution of medical equipment and medicines. The crisis should help in developing ecumenical efforts, he said. "If all of us work together, God's name will be praised."

WCC central committee member Rev. Kristi said, "Even though we work in a crisis, as God's people, we work in hope.”