Asian churches challenged to inspire and achieve shared vision of “zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths”

Programme Review and Programme Direction

Two key deliberative sessions during the 15th CCA General Assembly are the Programme Review and Programme Direction sessions.

The Programme Review and Programme Direction sessions will both be conducted in three groups relating to the CCA’s programme areas, namely, (i) General Secretariat (GS), (ii) Mission in Unity and Contextual Theology (MU) and Ecumenical Leadership Formation and Spirituality (EF); and (iii) Building Peace and Moving Beyond Conflicts (BP) and Prophetic Diakonia (PD).

Assembly participants will have the option to join one of three groups for both the Programme Review and Programme Direction sessions. For the sake of coherence, the assigned group will remain the same for both sessions.

General Secretariat

The General Secretariat oversees the coordination of programmatic, administrative, and financial activities of the organization. The GS comprises various departments such as church and ecumenical relations, relations with ecumenical partners, finance, administration, and communications, which provide crucial support and services for the implementation of programs and contribute to the overall functioning of the CCA.

Programmes: Relations with member churches and councils, ecumenical partners; advocacy at the United Nations; ecumenical responses to emerging issues in solidarity; income development and finance; and communications.

Mission in Unity and Contextual Theology (MU) and Ecumenical Leadership Formation and Spirituality (EF)

Under the MU programme area, the CCA accompanies Asian churches to strengthen their mission and witness in multi-religious contexts, revitalise and nurture church unity and the Asian ecumenical movement, and develop contextual theological foundations.

Programmes: Asian Movement for Christian Unity (AMCU); Congress of Asian Theologians (CATS); Asian women doing theology in the context of wider ecumenism; contextualisation of theology in Asia and ecumenical theological education.

The EF programme area focuses on nurturing and developing ecumenical leaders in Asia. The programme aims to enhance spiritual formation and theological understanding, enabling people to actively engage in ecumenical dialogue and collaboration.

Programmes: Ecumenical Enablers’ Training in Asia (EETA); Asian Ecumenical Institute (AEI); Youth and Women Leadership Development; Ecumenical Spirituality and Nurturing of Contextual Liturgical Traditions; Asia Sunday

Building Peace and Moving Beyond Conflicts (BP) and Prophetic Diakonia and Advocacy (PD)

The BP programme area is dedicated to promoting peace, justice, and reconciliation in Asia’s diverse contexts. Through training, advocacy, and dialogue, the programme addresses the root causes of conflicts, empowers communities, and fosters sustainable peacebuilding initiatives.

Programmes: Pastoral Solidarity Visits; Churches in Action for Moving Beyond Conflict and Resolution; Young Ambassadors of Peace in Asia (YAPA); Ecumenical Women’s Action Against Violence (EWAAV); Eco-Justice for Sustainable Peace in the Oikos.

The PD programme area focuses on promoting justice, human rights, and social transformation in Asia. Through advocacy, capacity-building, and raising awareness, the programme addresses systemic injustice, empowers marginalised communities, and advocates for prophetic actions and meaningful change.

Programmes: Human Rights advocacy; Migration, Statelessness, and Trafficking in Persons; Asian Ecumenical Disability Advocacy Network; Asian Advocacy Network on the Dignity and Rights of Children (AANDRoC); Ecumenical Solidarity Accompaniment and Diakonia in Asia (ESADA); Health and Healing; Good Governance; Action Together to Combat HIV and AIDS in Asia (ATCHAA).

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    Bangkok, Thailand: ATCHAA Regional Consultation on
    ‘Let Communities Lead: Faith Perspectives to HIV Response’ participants 2024

    Bangkok, Thailand: The Christian Conference of Asia’s (CCA) Asia Regional Consultation on ‘Let Communities Lead: Faith Perspectives on HIV Response’ began on 5 April 2024 in Bangkok, Thailand brought together leaders and representatives of churches, ecumenical councils, and healthcare advocacy organisations across Asia for a three-day summit.

    The CCA General Secretary Dr Mathews George Chunakara in an opening address (delivered online) said, “People living with and affected by HIV continue to experience stigma and discrimination. Asia faces multiple and complex hitches in developing and following effective measures to combat the growing HIV and AIDS problem. Poverty, low literacy rates, outbound migration, tourism, poor infrastructure and healthcare systems, population sizes in different countries, and social and cultural values are hindering efforts to develop effective responses to HIV and AIDS.”

    Highlighting the importance of faith communities in responding to HIV in Asia, Dr Mathews George Chunakara, stated, “The role of all sections in our societies, especially faith-based organisations, is to strengthen efforts to prevent the growing HIV and AIDS problem. Religion is a key element of community organising and social structure. In the Asian context too, a vast number of people identify themselves as members of faith communities. Their faith shapes their attitudes and perceptions about themselves and others. People’s faith conditions how they respond to their neighbours and affects how they interact with people living with HIV in their community and country, the majority of whom are, themselves, members of faith communities.”

    “CCA, through its close links and associations with faith-based organisations in Asia, has realised the fact that faith-based organisations have the potential to develop comprehensive responses and address this problem of HIV and AIDS. Cooperation and networking among various actors, such as religious organisations, faith-based organisations, civil society movements, women’s organisations, and other networks are useful for building capacities of people and communities who are engaged, and can be engaged, in combating or arresting HIV and AIDS in our societies. CCA’s experiences have proved that effective networks and partnerships are potent forces in HIV and AIDS advocacy and awareness-building efforts,” added the CCA General Secretary.

    “Let us work together, reflect together, and find ways and means to strengthen our common goal and commitment as part of our Christian faith and witness. Let us be instruments in God’s hands, in inspiring and motivating the people and communities to achieve a shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths in this world,” concluded Dr Mathews George Chunakara.

    Rev. Grace Moon, Programme Coordinator welcomed and greeted the participants on behalf of the Secretariat.

    Dr Ronald Lalthanmawia, CCA Programme Coordinator for Action Together in Combating HIV and AIDS in Asia (ATCHAA), in an orientation session outlined the need for churches, ecumenical councils, and like-minded organisations to work together to decrease the spread of HIV, guided by love and the teachings of compassion that our faith instils in us.

    Referring to the surge of HIV cases throughout Asia, he highlighted the urgent need for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to healthcare and prevention, along with the churches’ significant role in bringing health and healing.

    Dr Lalthanmawia underscored in the opening session that it is high time for faith communities to rethink theology, practices, perceptions, and attitudes that equate sin with disease and adopt a morality approach that advances compassion and avoids stigma, discrimination, blaming, condemnation, silencing, and the spread of judgmental theological messages.

    “Our theology and attitudes should be in harmony with the core message of our faith: love one another as we have been loved. This means welcoming everyone, caring for the sick, and showing kindness to all, reflecting the love and acceptance that is foundational to our beliefs,” added Dr Lalthanmawia.

    Rev. Fr. Rodolfo Vicente Cancino Jr., of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, shared that ministry with people living with HIV and AIDS was “a powerful witness to the fact that human dignity is intrinsic and does not increase or decrease based on a person’s physical state or abilities”.

    “Caring for those who suffer and are sick is not a burden but a gift, a great present. We who care for the sick do sacred and significant work,” added Rev. Fr. Cancino, who is also a medical doctor by profession.

    The ecumenical consultation is being attended by about 60 participants including church workers, health workers, representatives of PLHIV networks, social activists, and members of NGOs working in the field of HIV and AIDS.

    The three-day international consultation will explore how churches can effectively contribute to health and healing in the context of HIV, ensure that communities lead action with the churches and church-based organisations, and define common strategies for awareness-building and advocacy on responding to HIV and AIDS, including prevention, promotion of health, reducing stigma and discrimination, and enhancing care and support.

    For more photos (Photo Gallery), please click here: Day 1 of the ATCHAA Regional Consultation on ‘Let Communities Lead: Faith Perspectives to HIV Response’ from 5–7 April 2024 in Bangkok, Thailand.