24 June 2023, Geneva, Switzerland: WCC president Rev. Dr Henriette Hutabarat-Lebang of Toraja Church (Indonesia) shares on behalf of the Asia region as the World Council of Churches central committee gathers in Geneva on 21-27 June 2023, for its first full meeting following the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe in 2022.


Common challenges, where coordinated efforts are needed, were discussed at an Asian regional meeting in connection with the World Council of Churches central committee meeting in Geneva, last week.

As the ecumenical movement, locally, regionally, and internationally, we are obliged to respond to Gods call today, to the needs in our different contexts, to fulfil our mission calling with unity, integrity, and solidarity,” the general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, Dr Mathews George Chunakara, said in his initial overview of Asian regional concerns.

The following summary of the discussions in the Asia regional meeting and the challenges posed were presented last Friday by the WCC president for Asia, Rev. Dr Henriette Hutabarat-Lebang:

The radicalization of faith communities, where Christian and other religious and ethnic minorities face oppression and persecution, continues. Many governments are silently or tacitly - and in some cases overtly - encouraging violence against minorities.

Human rights continue to be flagrantly violated in several countries, for instance in Manipur in India, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Rohingya crises in Bangladesh, the Philippines, West Papua, and other regions in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

In Korea, there are worries that the young generation is becoming increasingly pre-occupied with its daily existential concerns and less and less engaged with concerns related to peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula. Although climate change and systemic economic injustices are areas of deep concern to Asian youth.  

Responses to gender injustice need to be strengthened at church and community levels, throughout the region, especially to overcome domestic violence.

Human trafficking to, from, and within Asia needs to be addressed and combatted at national, subregional, regional, and international levels.  

Indigenous peoples concerns to be addressed more substantially with strengthening the function of the Indigenous Peoples working group.  

Furthermore, it was underlined that the WCC must strengthen the work responding to these concerns in close collaboration with member churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, and national councils of churches in Asia, and as an integral part of the strategic planning.

As one ecumenical family, the member churches were also reminded to be actively engaged in the processes and communications with the WCC.

It was also pointed out that the ecumenical movement should not only provide a platform for lifting up voices and inspired joint action regarding key concerns, it should also catalyse introspection and lasting transformation of policies and praxis to cascade from the church and community level, upwards to the wider society.

Photo gallery of the WCC Central committee meeting

WCC Central committee meeting, June 2023