Christian Conference of Asia

The Christian Conference of Asia began as the East Asia Christian Conference, which was constituted by a decision of churches, national councils of churches and Christian councils, whose representatives met at Prapat, Indonesia, in 1957. It was inaugurated at an assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1959, under the theme Witnessing Together. In the light of changing circumstances, the 1973 assembly, meeting in Singapore, agreed to change the name to Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). The purpose statement of the CCA says that CCA exists as an organ and a forum of continuing cooperation among the churches and national Christian bodies in Asia, within the framework of the wider ecumenical movement, believing that the purpose of God for the church in Asia is life together in a common obedience of witness to the mission of God in the world. In order to be a member of the CCA, churches must "confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill their common calling to the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit". National councils or similar bodies joining the CCA must also approve this basis. The CCA strives for the unity of the church in Asia, joint action in mission, Asian contribution to Christian thought and worship, sharing and fellowship among the churches in Asia and beyond, effective Christian response to the challenges of the changing societies of Asia, relationships with people of other faiths in Asia, human dignity and care for the creation.

Since the founding event, the churches and councils that form the CCA have journeyed through ten more assemblies:

Bangkok         1964       The Christian Community within the Human Community
Bangkok         1968       In Christ All Things Hold Together
Singapore       1973       Christian in the Asian Struggle
Penang           1977       Jesus Christ in Asian Suffering and Hope
Bangalore       1981       Living in Christ with People
Seoul               1985       Jesus Christ Sets Free to Serve
Manila              1990       Christ our Peace: Building a Just Society
Colombo          1995       Hope in God in a Changing Asia
Tomohon         2000      Time for Fullness of Life for All
Chiang Mai      2005       Building Communities of Peace for All

The themes reflect the continuing desire of the CCA to relate the common Christian witness of the churches, which constitute a small minority in most Asian countries, to the wider context of the people, the nations and the religions in Asia. The biblical promise of "fullness of life", not only for Christians but for all of Asia's people, especially the poor and marginalized, has been a guiding concept in recent years. In pursuing this reflection, the CCA takes into account the rapid industrialization of Asia, in the framework of globalization, and its implications of increasing social and economic injustice.

Among the current priorities of the CCA are the strengthening of the koinonia of Asian churches and Christian communities, the healing of divisions in the churches and society, ecumenical formation, the expansion of the ecumenical fellowship in Asia to involve Roman Catholics and Evangelicals, and revitalizing the ecumenical vision, thought and action in regard to the emerging challenges in Asia and Asia's place in the world. The core programmes of the CCA are Faith, Mission and Unity, Ecumenical Formation, Gender Justice and Youth Empowerment, Justice, International Affairs, Development and Service. Special concerns include the Congress of Asian Theologians, Ecumenical Theological Formation and the Decade to Overcome Violence (the DOV focus was on Asia in 2005). The CCA and the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC, Roman Catholic Church) have formed an Asian Ecumenical Committee to monitor joint activities and programmes, e.g. in the field of ecumenical formation. Together they founded   the Asian Movement for Christian Unity, which was joined by the Evangelical Fellowship of Asia in 2007. The CCA has 95 member churches and 16 member councils in 17 countries, representing 55 million Christians in Asia. Councils (national councils of churches and national Christian councils) are full members of the Conference along with the churches. The 2005 assembly decided that the offices of the CCA should be moved from Hong Kong to Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2006.