Photo Credit: Diocese of West Malaysia
[ACNS, by Anthony Jude Arullappan and Soon Jun Jer*] The Council of Churches of East Asia (CCEA) Youth Forum was held in Hotel Transit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 27 July until 1 August 2016 with the theme “Rise for God and Service to Neighbours through Christ”. A total of 93 young people from nine different countries participated in this event. They were from Malaysia, Myanmar, Japan, Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines.
The Youth Forum 2016 revolved around the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion. They are:
- To proclaim the good news of the Kingdom.
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers.
- To respond to human need by loving service.
- To seek to transform unjust structure of society.
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and serve the life of the earth.
With this being the central focus of the Forum, the youth were challenged to a better understanding about being an Anglican, being a church beyond borders and to learn to be with Jesus in different context of societies. At the end of the forum, the young people knew how much these Five Marks of Mission have been carried out as essential and necessary foundation for the life of our churches; they were challenged to greater and more relevant participation in order to make a change or impact the world from further deterioration.
The Forum began with an opening service by the Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia, the Most Revd Datuk Ng Moon Hing, with a call to sincere and simple obedience and trust in the Lord, and to be ready to rise above to face the challenges of the world especially extremisms. This led to a beginning of a new friendship and partnership between youth in the east Asia region.
A visit to the Selangor State Legislative Assembly opened the horizon of the youth especially after having an enlightening session with YB Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan, the current Speaker of the Assembly. She shared on the challenges of being a woman in politics and how we can contribute in the political arena as Christians. Many of the participants asked questions and were challenged to be more involved in politics in their own nation. The following visit to the Seminari Theoloji Malaysia (STM) brought about much closeness, rapport and fun with the theological students and lecturers, especially when they are of similar age group with the students.
The updates and sharing of the youth ministries in their respective dioceses opened up the sphere of identity and connection especially with their challenges, struggles, needs and potentials. The cultural evening inaugurated the creativity and artistic expression of young people and their ingenuity of the translation of biblical messages and faith in God translated through dances, songs, skits, dramas, and presentations. Many came with their own traditional attires and performed cultural presentations which further fostered them into an arena of praise, thanksgiving, collaboration and connect.
The youth were literally ushered into small group discussions among themselves on the Five Marks of Mission and they have marvellously come up with many excellent pointers and ideas that could eventually spur churches and dioceses to greater heights when given the opportunity to do so.
Archbishop Moon Hing, in the closing service, powerfully encouraged and challenged all the youth to return and set their churches and dioceses on fire by offering themselves for God’s service and intentionally become disciples of Jesus Christ in season and out of season.
Overall, the Youth Forum was a great blessing for all those who came, participated and experienced. We, having talked to many, firmly believed God has spoken to a large number of young people in the Forum and challenged some into full-time ministry in God’s church. The delegates were seriously encouraged to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ and to bring the good news to all people. It was also an avenue to know new friends and to be connected with each other through this CCEA Youth Forum. We would like to thank God for this special privilege given and also would like to thank CCEA Exco and the working committee.
*The Revd Anthony Jude Arullappan and the Revd Soon Jun Jer were Youth delegates to CCEA from Diocese of West Malaysia