【February 2020 No.406】CCA Mission Conference Convened in Thailand

by Kato Makoto, Kyodan executive secretary

From Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, an international conference was held at the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) headquarters located in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on the campus of Payap University (a Christian university). The theme of the conference was “Evangelism and Missional Witness in a Multi-Religious Asia.” The conference was co-hosted with The World Council of Churches (WCC), so participants from Geneva helped out during the entire conference. Each of about half of the 40 participants was allotted 15 minutes  to introduce his/her country, church, and the challenges for mission. Morning and afternoon sessions were held from Saturday until Tuesday. At each session, three people introduced topics for discussion and answered questions. In the evening, participants were divided into three groups and had discussions based on the conference theme. Many of the participants were from the Southeast Asian countries of Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines and from the South Asian countries of India and Sri Lanka.


There was enthusiastic conversation about how Christians can witness in areas where Islam and Buddhism are strong, and how the church can engage in mission in such societies. Numerous people in Asia follow many different religions zealously. However, one characteristic of Japan is that, (probably) like Europe, the majority of the people are not interested in religion. On Sunday, participants were divided into eight groups and participated in worship. I traveled by car for about one hour to a suburb of Chiang Mai, to a church where the members are people from Myanmar. The worship service continuously involved singing hymns, listening to testimonies, and taking communion, and it was three hours long! The last topic of discussion was presented by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. In response to the words “the country of Taiwan,” a voice of protest was heard from the representative of the China Christian Council (CCC). “Why do you make a political statement? Taiwan is not a country!” Of course, the representative from Taiwan was not silent about it either! Hurriedly, the organizers made efforts to keep the peace! Perhaps the feeling of tension in that place at that moment could be experienced only by those who attended the conference. However, I witnessed the unfortunate reality that the political tension that exists between countries is also reflected by relationships between the churches. (Tr. KT)



                                  加藤 誠

 11月29日から12月5日まで、タイのチャンマイにあるChristian Conference of Asia(CCA)(アジアキリスト教協議会)の本部パヤップ大学というキリスト教主義の大学構内にあります)で“Evangelism and Missional Witness in a Multi-Religious Asia”という主題で国際会議が開催されました。The World Council of Churches(WCC)との共催でもありましたので、ジュネーブからの参加者が会議全体を仕切っていました。40名の参加者の約半数に15分の時間が与えられ、国と教会の紹介そして宣教の課題についての発題が行われました。土曜日から火曜日までは午前と午後のセッションで各3名が発題し質疑応答、夕方には3グループに分かれてテーマに沿ってディスカッションが行われました。参加者の多くは東南アジアに分類されるインドネシア、タイ、フィリピン、南アジアに分類されるインドやスリランカなどから招待されていました。

 イスラム教や仏教の強い地域で、どのようにキリスト者として証をし、教会として宣教するかについて熱心な発題が続きました。アジアの多くの国民は様々な宗教に熱心です。しかし日本の特徴はヨーロッパのように(多分)宗教に興味のない人が大半だということです。日曜日は8グループに分かれて礼拝に参加。私は車で1時間ほど離れたチェンマイ郊外にあるミャンマー人教会へ。讃美、証の連続に聖餐式にもあずかった3時間!の礼拝でした。最後の発題が台湾(Presbyterian Church in Taiwan)でした。「台湾という国」という表現に対してChina Christian Council(CCC)の代表から「なぜ政治的な発言をするのか?台湾は国ではない!」という抗議の声が上がりました。台湾の代表も勿論黙っていません。慌てて主催者が仲裁に入りました。会議に出席したものでしかその場の緊張感は伝わらないかも知れませんが、国と国との政治的な緊張は、残念ながら教会と教会との間にも反映される現実を目の当たりにしました。

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