Asian Church Leaders: Ministry After the Storm
Lutheran leaders from across Asia meet in Bangkok to explore post-pandemic theological and pastoral challenges
(LWI) – Church leaders from across the Asian region are meeting in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, May 18-23 to discuss ways forward for their ministries and mission in the wake of the COVID pandemic -19. Delegates will explore the theological and pastoral challenges of “ministry after the storm,” sharing stories of resilience and remembering all who lost their lives during the multiple waves of the pandemic.
Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt will address the meeting, which brings together lay and ordained leaders, including youth delegates, from 27 of the 55 LWF member churches in the region. . Ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements mean representatives from other churches cannot attend this first in-person conference of Asian church leaders since 2019.
Participants will also look to the Thirteenth LWF Assembly, to be held in Poland in 2023, focusing on how to prepare their congregations for this key event in the life of the global communion of churches. Lutheran identity, youth leadership, gender justice and theological education will be among the topics church leaders will explore in their local and regional contexts.
New bishop in Thailand to preach at opening service
The meeting is organized by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Thailand, which has around five thousand members in the predominantly Buddhist nation. The church has just elected a new bishop, Reverend Chanda Saiyota, who will preach and preside over the opening worship of the conference.
LWF Regional Secretary for Asia, Reverend Philip Lok, noted that member churches have learned new ways to communicate in the past two years of the pandemic. “But online meetings can never replace the space where we sit side by side and worship together,” he said.
“To hear real voices raise their praises and prayers to God, to offer and receive a warm embrace in our fellowship relationship, or to learn from one another in the most tangible way: this is what CCLA seeks to offer. to those 60 leaders who traveled to Thailand, despite Covid-related travel requirements in many Asian countries,” he added.
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