The Council for World Mission (CWM) East Asia Region – Members Mission Forum (MMF) was successfully concluded on 22-27 April 2023 at the Village Hotel Katong in Singapore. This was the first physical regional meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was hosted by the Presbyterian Church in Singapore.
The theme of MMF was “Life-Flourishing Communities: Sharing and Partnership,” and it brought together a delegation of 37 participants, resource persons and guests from member churches and partners in the East Asia region to reflect on the emerging missional issues in the region and seek ways to mutually challenge one another in sharing God’s mission in the changing landscape of East Asian context.
On the first day of the MMF, delegates attended Sunday service at three local congregations: Glory Presbyterian Church, Amazing Grace Presbyterian Church, and Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church. The Inaugural Worship was led by the host church, the Presbyterian Church in Singapore (PCS). In his exhortation, Rev. Dr Christopher Chia, the moderator of PCS expounded on Christian’s love as the core value in promoting life-affirming mission and ministry.
The second day featured a keynote address by Prof. Kung Lap Yan, Dean of the Institute for Advanced Study in Asian Cultures and Theologies. Using “wetlands” as a metaphor, Prof. Kung spoke passionately about the importance of co-existence and the concept of self-limiting in the geopolitical context. During the youth and women panel discussion, CWM Moderator Rev. Lydia Neshangwe spoke about how everyone has a role to play in enabling life-flourishing communities within the church. The evening prayer was led by the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM), and the Mission Secretary for Mission Programme & Partnership, Rev. Julie Sim, called on the MMF delegation to pray and stand in solidarity for our siblings in Myanmar and PCM during this trying period.
In the first thematic reflection, Rev. Dr Oh Min-Woo from Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) delivered a presentation on life-flourishing creation, particularly how the phenomenon of militarisation affects natural resources. Rev. Dr Li Hau-Tiong from Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) expounded on life-flourishing church in action during the second thematic reflection.
The MMF also created a safe space for the young people and women delegates to share their experience and gifts as full participants and contributors to God’s mission. Both sessions of youth and women panel discussions served as a conversation starter that further facilitates and strengthens regional networking among the young people and women as they shared common missional initiatives in the region.
The MMF concluded with a closing worship led by a group of gifted young people guided by a liturgy of silent worship. During the cultural sharing night, each member church took the opportunity to show case the richness of their traditions and culture which included a short presentation on Peranakan history, tribal group dance, songs, folktales and other group activities. The highlight of the cultural night was a resistance dance led by the PCM which saw delegates “dancing in solidarity” with all the people in Myanmar.
This year’s MMF has again rejuvenated the collaboration, partnership and networking among the member churches and partners in the East Asia Region. The 4-day meeting saw a life-flourishing sharing and partnership emerging out as delegates generously shared their ideas, insights and mutually challenged one another for the betterment of the life and work of EAR family.