Thursday, 08 August 2019

Building ecumenical ties in Cambodia

Written by Rev. Terence Corkin, CCA Executive member

The annual executive meeting of the Christian Conference of Asia took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a place where Christianity has a new beginning. 

The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) is an international ecumenical body that comprises 98 churches, including the Uniting Church in Australia and National Councils of Churches.

Last year, the CCA celebrated its 60th anniversary. The CCA meets as an Assembly every five years, with the next Assembly to be held in Kerala, India in September 2020.

In between Assembly meetings, there is an annual meeting of the Executive Committee of which I am a member.

From 15-19 July we met in Cambodia, where a focus was on accompanying the Cambodian Church in a new context.

The Church and Ecumenical movement was obliterated in Cambodia during the brutal rule of the communist dictator Pol Pot (1975-1979).

The new founding of Christianity in Cambodia only started after the Paris Peace Agreement of 1992. Today, the Church in Cambodia is growing and is a centre of missionary activity.

The CCA provides programs in leadership development, capacity building, enhancing the place and leadership of women in the church, HIV/AIDS, theological conferences and action in support of social and political issues in Asia such as human trafficking.

There are many small and struggling churches in Asia. The CCA is a way that the Uniting Church and others can stand beside smaller churches in times of persecution and challenge.

In 2019 the CCA will deliver 19 programs, including half in collaboration with the World Council of Churches. CCA is funded from member church contributions and grants from (mainly European) donors. 

At the meeting in Phnom Penh, the Executive Committee resolved to move to consensus-based decision-making processes for the next Assembly and subsequent Executive Committee. I have been engaged to resource them for this project.

The CCA is an important relationship for the Uniting Church as it seeks to better understand its place in Asia and to build long term sustainable relationships with church leaders in the region.

Rev. Terence Corkin is a former General Secretary of the Uniting Church Assembly and is engaged in a teaching and resourcing ministry across Australia and the world in consensus-based discernment processes. He provides Professional Supervision for Ministers and works with conflicted congregations and church leaders. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.