New Officers Unanimously Elected
following Officers were unanimously elected at the Quadrennial Council
Meeting of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs held on 12 March
2004 during the 16th General Assembly in Singapore:
Samuel D. Stephens
Park Jai Chang
Dr. Robert Solomon, President of the Council of Churches of Singapore,
installed the newly elected Officers of the Alliance at the Closing
Worship of the 16th General Assembly on 13 March 2004.
join us in congratulating them once again on their election and
in praying for God's continued guidance and wisdom to be with them
as they lead the movement for the Quadrennium 2004-2007.
to Officers 1999-2004
express our sincere appreciation to the Officers who had served
with full dedication and commitment from September 1999 to
March 2004: President - Mr. Kan Tanikawa; Vice Presidents
- Dr. Cecil S.O. Chan, Rev. Dr. Otele Perelini, Mr. Patrick
Loo Nee and Rev. Samuel D. Stephens; and Treasurer - Mr. David
Visioning for Transformation
order to promote wider participation and commitment in the work
of the Alliance (as discussed during the Executive Committee Meeting),
a Conference of National Presidents and National General Secretaries
of Movements in the region has been set for 1- 4 July 2004
(venue will be informed soon).
Conference is expected to review the 16th General Assembly Mandate
and consider crucial issues related to its implementation. Programme
priorities will be established. Broad action steps and implementation
strategies will be proposed. Movement strengthening, resource sharing
and mobilisation will also be discussed. Rev. Samuel D. Stephens,
our President will deliver the Keynote to address key issues crucial
to our missional thrust for the Quadrennium.
biennial National General Secretaries' (NGSs) Conference will take
place immediately following the Conference, on 4-6 July 2004
at the same venue. The NGSs Conference will work on implementation
details of the broad action steps and programme priorities from
the Presidents' and NGSs Conference.
look forward to National Movements' participation in this important
programme as we work together to plan for the future.
Highlights and Reflections from the 16th General Assembly
and Appreciation: We extend our heartfelt appreciation and sincere
gratitude to you for your participation in the different programme
components of the recently held 16th General Assembly in Singapore.
We express our thanks to volunteer leaders and professional colleagues
for their inspiring and motivating leadership and support to ensure
the successful conduct of the Assembly.
an Area Alliance, we are truly blessed with tremendous diverse talents
and abilities that have been graciously shared with all of us during
the Assembly. With fresh and renewed energy and inspiration drawn
from the collective wisdom of the Assembly, we can move into the
next four years, refreshed and renewed, to respond contextually
for the transformation of society where there will be justice and
peace for all eventually.
of the Assembly: The 16th General Assembly focussed on the spirituality
of transformation, the aim of which was Justpeace. At the Official
Opening of the Assembly, the Chief Guest, Bishop Dr. Robert Solomon,
President of the Council of Churches of Singapore, reminded us of
what John Mott, an influential figure in the development of YMCAs
in the first half of the 20th century said, "Without a doubt, there
comes to many of us the choice between a life of contraction or
one of expansion; a life of small dimensions or one of widening
horizons, and larger visions and plans: a life of self-satisfaction
and self-seeking, or one of unselfish and truly Christ-like sharing".
were truly inspired and challenged by Rev. Caesar Molebatsi, President
of the World Alliance of YMCAs, the Keynote Speaker, who emphasised
that Justpeace must be rooted in the spirit of unconditional non-violence,
be dedicated to radically progressive personal and social change.
He called for YMCAs to work toward restoring and protecting the
earth and human rights. He challenged us to educate, organise, act
and build community in order to create a culture of peace and justice.
panellists, Dr. Park Jai Chang, YMCA of Korea, Dr. Jose P.M. Cunanan,
Foundation for Philippine Environment, and Br. Anthony Rogers, Federation
of Asian Bishops' Conferences, focussed us towards active participation
in building civil society, emphasising the importance of youth and
women involvement; towards work according to paradigms of spirituality
and development, and commitment to partnering with the poor, suffering
and oppressed. In other words, daring to build a community of Justpeace,
to be Christ-like in our work, actions and life.
Rooms: The transformative actions presented in the Witness Rooms
provided concrete examples of how YMCAs are creating an impact in
their communities. The Witness Rooms highlighted that positive change
and transformation in communities can be achieved. Many have been
motivated to become engaged and/or to increase their efforts in
working towards just and participatory civil society after witnessing
the work of the YMCAs in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea,
Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand; others in eradicating poverty
and working towards sustainable communities as demonstrated by the
YMCAs in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand;
and, to act in solidarity with the suffering learning from the interventions
by the YMCAs in Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines,
Sri Lanka and Taiwan.
case stories will be available on our Website in a new Section:
Mission in Action from 1 May.)
Groups: In the Focus Groups, issues and concerns were prioritised.
Specific recommendations and suggestions were made to address them.
On the issue of poverty, discussions focused on urban and rural
poor, drugs and substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, unskilled workers and
lack of education, the environment, migration of labour, lack of
access to information, gender inequality/inequity, and networking.
The Focus Room on Civil society recommended roles that the YMCA
could play in building a just and participatory civil society: advocacy,
service delivery and empowerment through education, awareness building
and support. The Focus Room on Action in Solidarity with the Suffering
highlighted issues of ethnic and religious conflicts, children's
rights, single parents, people with disabilities, the elderly, those
afflicted by HIV/AIDS, forced prostitution, girls' trafficking,
migrant workers, and response to natural disasters.
The highly lively and contextual Daily Worship was inspirational,
for many, a new and liberating experience. It truly brought people
together in prayer as a movement, one body, whose heart lies with
the least of our brothers and sisters, and towards building a world
that sees all of creation in the image of God. We thank Song Jin
Ho (Korea), Ruth and Inchai Srisuwan (Thailand) for their leadership
and the members of the Worship Team for their efforts in enriching
our worship experience and the Assembly.
Sharing: A night of cultural sharing also enhanced the fellowship
and cultural experience among participants. It encouraged the participants
to be open and sensitive to the rich, diverse cultures of the peoples
of Asia and Pacific. It was a community celebration of joy, love,
and peace. It was a sharing and communion of life together.
Bazaar: The Golden Anniversary Trust Fund Bazaar gave movements
an opportunity to share their traditional cultural and YMCA handicrafts
and gifts for a cause. Many items depicted life in our lands. The
Bazaar fostered a sense of unity in efforts to fulfil the hopes
of the less fortunate in our region for an improved life. This collective
fund-raising effort raised an amount of US$2,017 for the Trust Fund
for support of action programmes at National or Local level.
thank the YMCAs of Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan,
Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan
and Vietnam; and Mr. Ernest Chen of the YMCA of Singapore for their
contribution of sale items, and those who made purchases at the
Youth Forum, 7-9 March 2004
young people from across the region gathered in a Youth Forum held
on 7-9 March 2004 prior to the 16th General Assembly. The Forum
theme was "Young People, Together towards a Transformed World".
The participants, with fresh and a variety of ideas, had intensive
and enlightening discussions and built their own community of inspiration,
finding their way together for a better future for all. Mahatma
Gandhi's words: "Be the change you want to see in the world"
motivated many of them. As leaders today, they affirmed that young
people should be actively engaged in the YMCA's work on Peace Building
and Reconciliation, Economic Injustice, Youth Unemployment and Education,
young leaders were desirous for integration at all levels of the
movement through continuous communications and dissemination of
information. They were also concerned about the retention and development
of young leaders within the movement, and saw networking and partnership
building within and between YMCAs of our region as an important
vehicle to achieve this.
Executive Committee Meetings
Session of the Executive Committee held on 8-9 March at the YMCA
of Singapore adopted an amendment to the Constitution that paved
the way for the seating of a youth and a woman as a member of the
Executive Committee with voting rights. The youth and women representatives
present at the Meeting welcomed the decision and expressed their
appreciation. This was the culmination of many hours of Executive
Committee debate during the Quadrennium on a resolution by the Youth
Forum of 1999 calling for inclusion of youth and women in the Executive
Samuel D. Stephens, India, welcomed the new Officers and representatives
of National Movements to the Executive Committee Meeting on 13 March
2004, as the new President of the Alliance. He expressed the need
for the Alliance to keep up with the times, to look to the future
and to envision the work of the Movement in light of the Mission,
and to work towards fulfilling the Mission. He encouraged continued
cooperation, support and prayer within the Movement.
General Secretary's report spoke of courage that comes from knowing
Jesus Christ in order to work with hope amidst situations of hopelessness.
He encouraged each one to take on a new holiness and pursue spirituality
for transformation as we pursue the Mission. The Report also highlighted
the work on the priority concerns of the Alliance for the past year
such as Youth in Transforming Communities, Women Empowerment and
Gender Equity, Leadership Development; Ecumenical Relations and
Interfaith Cooperation; and Consolidation and Extension efforts.
representatives met in specific groups to discuss the role of the
Committees, some of which have been recast according to the priorities:
Contemporary Mission and Social Relevance; Building Community and
a Culture of Peace; Youth Development and Participation; Gender
Equity; Movement Strengthening.
International Youth Work Camp in Vietnam
5th International Vietnam Youth Work Camp will be held on 17-28
July 2004 in Ho Chi Minh City and Mo Cay District, Ben Tre Province,
Vietnam. It will provide an opportunity for Vietnamese youth and
youth from other Asian/Pacific countries to meet and build mutual
understanding as they work together, serving the community. It has
helped, and will continue to help strengthen the YMCA movement in
Vietnam. The participants will assist in completing the work required
for the 2 classrooms built for 120 kindergarten and primary pupils
in the Mo Cay District. The participants will also deliberate on
youth issues in a Forum. This Youth Work Camp has been organised
biennially with the coordination rotating among the participating
YMCAs on a voluntary basis. This year, the National Council of YMCAs
of Korea is the Coordinator for the Work Camp.
are happy to invite National Movements to send participants to this
enriching experience. The application form and other details are
available at your National YMCA Office or from our Website, www.asiapacificymca.org.
Advanced Studies Programme: Movement Building for Transformation
22nd Advanced Studies will be held from 24 October 2004 (Arrival)
- 27 November 2004 (Departure) at the YMCA Wu Kwai Sha Youth
Village in Hong Kong. The focus of the Studies is on Movement Building
for Transformation and aims to equip participants with a deeper
understanding of current global trends and with relevant methodologies
to strengthen the movement dimension of the YMCA for transformative
social actions. It is also to motivate them to grow in spirituality
and be proactive in responding to emerging challenges.
YMCA Professionals from within and outside the region are invited
to take part in the learning and reflective process of the Studies
Programme. Information on the Studies has been sent to the respective
National Movements. Application forms should reach the APAY Secretariat
by 15 June 2004.
further details, please visit our website and/or contact your National
Mission in Action Programmes (MAPs)
YMCAs are engaged in transformative action programmes throughout
our region, among the poor, marginalised or disadvantaged. These
movements are themselves very often strengthened in the process.
In the spirit of "oneness of the body", we encourage your movement,
small or large, to participate in a region-wide multilateral collaboration
process to support such MAPs. For example, we have been informed
that local YMCAs in Korea have pledged to provide financial support
also hope that YMCAs participating in a MAP will engage in active
information sharing through electronic and other means, including
visits to the proponent YMCA of that MAP. The Secretariat would
like to be informed of existing bilateral relationships that are
encouraged to continue, to avoid duplication of support.
MAPs will be sent by separate mail on 19 April to all member movements
in the region for consideration of financial support. Further MAPs
will be sent in the month of October 2004 for support.
27 March, the YMCAs of Japan bid farewell to retiring National General
Secretary Mr. Susumu Iguchi who had held that position for the past
7 years, at a simple, but impressive Ceremony in Tokyo. He had served
the YMCA for Volunteer and professional leaders from all over Japan
were in attendance. Overseas guests included Mr. Bart Shaha, Secretary
General of the World Alliance and representatives from partner YMCAs
- China, Taiwan, Korea and the USA. Mr. Kan Tanikawa our immediate
Past President and I represented the Asia and Pacific Alliance.
the same Ceremony, Mr. Kohei Yamada was inaugurated as the new National
General Secretary. He has 24 years service to his credit, having
served as General Secretary of in Tochigi, and as an Executive Director
in the Tokyo YMCA, before joining the National Council as International
Director two years ago.
bid Mr. Iguchi a fond farewell, and thank him for his wise counsel
and leadership over the years. We welcome Mr. Yamada as he takes
over the baton of leadership from Mr. Iguchi. We wish both of them
World Alliance Executive Meets in Hong Kong
52nd Meeting of the World Alliance Executive Committee, attended
by over 50 representatives and observers, was recently held in Hong
Kong at the YMCA of Hong Kong from 31 March - 4 April. Key issues
raised included Movement Strengthening and the Implementation of
the Global Operating Plan; the implementation of World Council Resolutions,
and the Vision, Structure and Role of the Executive Committee as
it seeks to become more proactive.
on the Global Operating Plan was held on 5 - 6 April at the Chinese
YMCA of Hong Kong. The Consultation was aimed at up-dating participants
engaged in the GOP process on initial achievements so far, sharing
of future Plans, harmonising the way forward, and fostering commitments
for contributions and participation of major YMCAs and YMCA Partners
between Men and Women from Religious Perspectives
a continuing inter-religious cooperation effort, about 30 men and
women from four major religions - Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism
and Islam - will gather as a community under the theme "Living our
Faiths in Community: Towards Gender Justice and Genuine Partnership
of Women and Men".
Consultation jointly organised by the Asia and Pacific Alliance
of YMCAs, Christian Conference of Asia and German Church Development
Office (EED) is a follow-up programme of the Consultation on Inter-religious
Cooperation held in April 2003 in which issues of gender justice
figured prominently. It was recommended in the 2003 Consultation
to "examine the patriarchal theologies, structures and practices
of our religions and cultures in order to empower women by developing
alternative educational resources for the promotion of equal partnership
between women and men".
YMCA's experience and involvement in interfaith cooperation and
insights on gender justice will be shared through the participation
of the Thai Alliance of YMCAs. Shella Quezada, Executive Secretary
responsible for Gender Concerns will also participate as a member
of the Joint Organising Committee.
Asia Pacific Students and Youth Week
Ecumenical Asia Pacific Students and Youth Week (APSYW) is celebrated
annually in the 3rd week of October. A theme "Together in Action
for Peace and Reconciliation" has been set to give depth and meaning
to the celebration activities. The theme reflects the deep aspiration
of Christian youth and student for peace amidst the unjust and miserable
situation of the majority of Asian and Pacific people. A Creative
Writing Workshop has been scheduled on 22-27 April 2004 in Taiwan
to prepare a resource book containing liturgies, poems, literary
pieces, art and other creative expressions to inspire discussions
and actions on the theme during the APSYW.
Frequency of Headlines / News Around the Movements
build closer rapport between member movements, leaders and the Alliance,
National Movements the Headlines will be circulated once in two
months instead of three. The aim is to enhance dissemination of
news and sharing of information. National Movements are also invited
to submit brief news items of significant programmes or upcoming
events for information.
proposed schedule for the Headlines until the end of 2004 is as
follows: May, July, September, November and December.
first three months of the year must have been some of the busiest
months that we have experienced at the Secretariat for some time,
with the preparations for the Youth Forum and 16th General Assembly,
the events themselves, followed by the World Alliance meetings here
in Hong Kong. Now those months are behind us. We have been blessed
at the Assembly attended by 265 registered participants including
53 youth who took an active role in the Assembly. There were inspiring
presentations. There were motivating Witness Room case stories of
transformative social actions. Focus Groups were challenged to action.
Fellowship was warm.
we move into translating the Assembly Theme "Spirituality of Transformation
for Justpeace" into action, we need to change our way of seeing.
We have been confronted with the images and lives of the hurt, the
suffering. We have heard the cries of the Earth and God's Creation,
the people who dwell on it. We have witnessed injustices, the inaction
of the majority. We have been disturbed to move from being the comforted
to be the discomforted.
Kingdom of God is with us, spread all over the earth, but people
do not see it. Our minds, eyes, ears - our senses and perceptions
have to be opened up, turned around and revitalised. We need to
have the transformative power of Christian Vision. As we seek the
spirituality of transformation, we need to reflect on the experience
of God in our lives - to have in us a new intensity of vision and
insight - a sort of metanoia, soul transformation, changing of attitude,
orientation and the way of seeing.
Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to risk.
We see anew our tasks before us.
We need to act.
the Lord bless and keep us all.
Quezada-Zagada & Lakshan Dias