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CWM South Asia Region 2019 Members Mission Forum at Shillong: A Younster's Memoir
Friday, Jun 28, 2019

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As a church, As a Christian community what are we contributing towards the world? Are we Christ-like? This remained as an unanswered question in many of our minds, The Council for world mission (CWM) organised a Members' Mission Forum (MMF) from the 27th May to 31st May, at Hotel Poinisuk Shillong India, the forum was based on the theme “ Healing the future: Hope for tomorrow “. CWM’s partnership churches of the South Asian region such as the Church of South India (CSI), Church of North India (CNI), Church of Bangladesh (COB)and the PCI  were present with four representatives in each sector. I represented the CSI at the CWM’S MMF as a youth delegate , I finally got an opportunity to be the voice of the unheard women and youth of South Asia, with the increase in the rate of rapes, sexual abuse, human trafficking, abuse of drugs and alcohol, unemployment and  hierarchical structures dominate social life at South Asia . The CWM was an eye opener for me on how to spread awareness about the above-mentioned issues at our churches.

Members' Mission Forum got underway on the 27th with a word of prayer and worship led by the PCI, The keynote speaker was Rev. Dr Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary of the Church of South India Synod. He spoke on the theme “Healing the future: Hope for tomorrow“ He stressed on the fact that we as a church must stop looking at children and the youth as the future but as the present to transform the future or both the present and future, after which the discussion on the above followed and the table that I was a part  selected me to represent our take away from the plenary session. The strategic planning survey followed the discussion which was led by Rev. Asir Ebenezer (General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India), who briefed the delegates about the survey process, in which the delegates had to formulate a recommendation to the CWM for the next 10 years , we discussed about the issues and problems at the global level ( Global Warming, terrorism, poverty , mal nutarian ). At the South Asian level human rights violation, human trafficking, HIV AIDS, abuse of drugs and alcohol, unemployment, poverty, marginalization and negation of children and youth, were the issues the delegates askt the CWM to take care in the next 10-year plan. We had a discussion on the programs the CWM already has in practice and if we should retain it or add a few other programs.

I was the spokesperson for the day from my table of delegates and after the Strategic Planning Survey, I had to represent my table.

Things discussed during the planning and the recommendation made by my fellow delegates and I are as follows :

  • There is a need for regional officers for CWM to take more initiatives at the regional level.
  • Churches must try to transform structures and policies in order to give more space and participation to the children and the youth.
  • Generate alternatives for sustainable rehabilitation and livelihood for the victims of human trafficking.
  • As I was going through the programs of CWM, I found no special programmes for the differently abled and the LGBTQ’S. Hence from my table of delegates, we requested to add a few programmes for them too so that they could be empowered to do better in life.

After my presentation, the General Secretary of CNI Mr Alwan asked me to accompany his team and lead the closing prayer and I contributed with the few Hindi songs I knew, and we closed for the day.

On the 28th we had two sessions the first one being The Global Epidemic of Human Trafficking and the role of the churches in addressing this life Denying justice issue. The second session was on Human Rights issues faced by children and youth people in the context of Kyriarchal, this was a quite interesting topic for me because I believe children and youth are denied their rights because of the fact that in the south Asian region children and youth are seen more like property and possession of the parents and family, they are denied the right to choose the subject they want to study and their careers are  decided by the parents and the children are burdened to follow the dreams of their parents. On the 30th I was made the moderator, it sure was a tough task. We started the day with worship from the CSI, Rev. Maxcin John took us through the word of God, and the singing session followed. I led the singing session and got in a lot of action songs to change the atmosphere and the fellow delegates sure did shake a leg. Adoption of Communique followed and we discussed the final drafting of recommendations and suggestions to the CWM for the next 10 years. As the moderator for the day I closed with a special vernacular song called "Sami thanda saval" (challenges that God gives us), after which I invited Mrs Julie Sim to come forward and give her remarks on this 3 day Member’s Mission Forum organised by the Council of World Mission and close with a word of prayer.  “She was clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future" (Proverbs 31: 25). I walked into the CWM with a lot of insecurities, but at the end of the MMF, I walked out as a strong woman in Christ who was ready to face the world one day at a time and also to work towards empowering, women, children and the differently abled. 

Ms. Thuvya Shireen Sam,
Karnataka Central Diocese