Church of South India (CSI) has participated in South Asia Region Members’ Mission Forum (MMF-2019) organized by Council for World Mission (CWM) on 27th to 31st May 2019 at Hotel Poinisuk, Shillong, India. The Forum was based on the theme “Healing the Future: Hope for Tomorrow”.
“Healing is an experiencing the creational relationship and the restoration of damaged relationship,” said Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda in MMF-2019 during the keynote address. Further, he added that the church must be the sign and sacrament of healing. The dignity of all should be ensured. The wholeness of life is the right relationship towards Godhead and the manhood and rest of the creation as well. Future is not unknown. It is already in our midst. In Children and Youth, we have a bundle of hope. They have inner potentials. Children and Youth help us to touch and experience the future. They are the mission partners and contributors.
“Are we attending today to form tomorrow or allowing the children and the youth to form a better tomorrow?”, Rev. Dr. D. R. Sadananda raised a thought-provoking question. Children and youth have untapped energy and they are the inheritance of God. Moreover, they are our teachers, and an instrument of transformation like the young girl in Naaman’s house (2 Kings 5) and the Child in a manger (Luke 2). They are teaching to make love to everybody. In them, we have imagination, dreams, and future. They are the leaders of a new world order (Isaiah 11:6).
Furthermore, he added that hope is not merely a positive mental attitude or just an optimism, rather, hope is the resources and working dreams. Practising love will help us to understand hope. Hope is tomorrow and future, but it is transforming yesterday and today. It is the driving force towards Shalom- an eternal promise about healing the future as new heaven and earth.
More enthusiastically, Rev. Dr. D.R. Sadananda emphasized that to create future, we have to re-evaluate our engagement models. “We are in a search of models”, he reminded the delegates. We should learn ‘from and with’ the children and the Youth as well. Children are the owners of the kingdom of God. Therefore, we should think differently for the future and transform our churches as ‘child- friendly church’. Moreover, the church should transform the youth as the agents of transformation as well as prophetic engagements.
In conclusion, emphatically, he pointed out that ‘mutual indwelling’ should practice for the healing of the future. We should retreat ourselves for the alternative models and for the transformative engagements. So, release the burden of yesterdays and liberate the bondage of today so that we could able to experience the healing of the future. Ultimately, the church should be the venue for new harmony and a new language of inclusivity.
The Member’s Mission Forum-2019 (MMF) of South Asia Region started with an opening worship on the first day which was led by Presbyterian Church in India (PCI) and the reflection was made by Rev. Lalramliana Pachuau, PCI Moderator followed by the keynote address by Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathanakara Sadananda on “Healing the future Hope for Tomorrow”. Following it, there was another session regarding “CWM 2020-2029 Strategic Planning Survey” led by Rev. Asir Ebenezer, (NCCI General Secretary). After which, the evening prayer was conducted by the Church of North India (CNI).
On the second day, the forum was beginning with Morning worship led by Church of Bangladesh (COB) and the reflection was given by Rev. Martin H. Mondal followed by a bible study lead by Rev. Dr. k. Lalrinkima (PCI) based on “Healing the Future Hope for Tomorrow”. After the Bible study, Miss. Debonmita Biswas (CNI) conducted a session based on “The Global Epidemic of Human Trafficking and the Role of the Church in Addressing this Life- Denying Justices Issue”, after which there was a plenary session on the same. Thereafter, a session on “Human Rights of the Children and the Youth in Kyriarchal context: Churches Role in Awareness and Advocacy” was led by Ms. Jessica Prakash-Richard (CSI), subsequently, a plenary session was conducted on the same. The second day of MMF was concluded with an Evening prayer conducted by PCI.
The third day of MMF was started with opening worship led by CSI and the reflection was made by Miss. Thuvya Sherin Sams (CSI). Rev. Dr. K, Lalrinkima (PCI) conducted a Bible Study followed by group discussion and adoption of communique. The MMF-2019 was concluded with closing worship led by COB.
The main Focus of MMF was on Human Trafficking and the Children and Young People in the light of Healing the Future: Hope for Tomorrow. CSI, PCI, COB and CNI have attended in the MMF. The following contextual realities were identified, and the forum made certain specific affirmations to overcome such kind of pity situations.
A. Contextual Realities
C. Suggestions and Recommendations
Thus, MMF was a venue for learning and listening together as well as an opportunity to solidly reaffirm the ethical duties of the Church. It is highlighted that the Church is called to be an exponent of God’s love which is inclusive and to embrace all. Unceasingly, Church stands against the life-negating situations and work together for the life-affirming activities. Thus, the Church could able to be participating in the mission of God for healing the future by upholding hope for the better tomorrow.
The MMF was well organized by Rev. Julie Sim, Dr. Sudipta Sing, Stephen Chia and Faris Ariffin (CWM Staffs). The hospitality rendered by the PCI was well appreciated.
Mission and Evangelism Department,