[ACNS] Representatives from more than six Asian countries have gathered in Myanmar to try to develop stronger ties between Anglicans, Lutherans and Buddhists. The consultation has brought people together from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, India and Sri Lanka. One of the key short term aims is to work towards a publication which could serve as a guide book for developing Buddhist-Christian relations. Longer term, it’s hoped the gathering will encourage the Anglican Consultative Council, the Lutheran World Federation and other institutions to support growing positive relations with Buddhists across the world.
Speaking at the consultation in Yangon, USPG’s director for global relations, Rachel Parry, highlighted the significance of the meeting: “Amid many changes taking place in the country, this open consultation is a key indicator of these changing times. This consultation brings together people from many other parts of Asia, both Christian and Buddhist, to share and learn. There is much we can all learn from each other if we are truly open and if we are genuinely committed to the intensely practical work of peace.”
Myanmar is a majority-Buddhist country but has a strong Christian tradition, with approximately 60,000 Anglicans and 26,000 Lutherans. The consultation is happening at a time of ongoing political transition in Myanmar following 60 years of turbulence. A similar consultation involving diaspora communities was organised successfully in England in 2014 to bring together Anglicans, Lutherans and Hindus, which led to deeper understanding and further co-operation. The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, is taking part in this week’s meeting.